There are five students in the Quad City area who are “soaring” tonight thanks to a scholarship from The Sedona Group and the help of WQAD.
On Friday, May 30th, 2014, News 8′s Angie Sharp surprises the last of five winners – a student who has a taste for success.
Ali Ervin is a senior at Mediapolis High School in Mediapolis, Iowa. In the middle of choir rehearsal, WQAD and The Sedona Group surprised her with a $1,000 scholarship.
"Partway through class, here comes three strangers that I don't know and then there's a guy with a camera," laughs Ali. "I just got so overwhelmed, but it's such an honor to be selected."
Ali loves to sing, but she says she feels most comfortable in the kitchen, where she is learning how to cook, bake, and create.
"I guess it started when I was like five when I started cooking in the kitchen with my parents and then in 8th Grade with my teacher Mrs. Harvey," explains Ali. "She helped just really drive in my passion and then I started doing culinary competitions my freshman year and I have continued all the way through my senior year."
Ali has received both gold and silver medals through the organization, FCCLA (Family, Career, and Community Leaders of America), where she is also President this year. One day, she says she hopes to turn that competitive spirit into a career, as well as a chance to give back to her community.
"I plan on opening my own restaurant and then possibly once I get that up and started and running I hope to possibly even help donate some of the food that's leftover, the excess, to those who really need it like the shelters and the homeless," she says.
In the meantime, Ali is perfecting her skills. She used to work at the 61 Chop House in Mediapolis and now works in the Kitchen at the Hy-Vee in Burlington. In the fall, she plans to go to Indian Hills Community College to get her Associates of Applied Science (AAS) in Culinary Arts. After that, she says she'd like to go to the University of Northern Iowa for Business.
"For me, to get involved now will make it easier when I go to Culinary School because I'll already have those skills developed and plus it will also save me a lot of money in the long run," Ali says. "Money to me isn't everything. It's my education. Anything I can further myself educationally is what I try to do."
The Sedona Group’s S.O.A.R. Scholarship stands for Strength, Opportunity, Achievement, and Resolve. The $1,000 scholarship is given away every year to five area high school seniors.