Damian Lee, a senior at Lake City High School, is a finalist for a $25,000 Bridging the Dream Scholarship from Sallie Mae, the nation's saving, planning, and paying for college company.

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Lake City High School Senior Damian Lee is a finalist for a $25,000 scholarship from Sallie Mae. (Ph ...

Lake City High School Senior Damian Lee is a finalist for a $25,000 scholarship from Sallie Mae. (Photo: Business Wire)

Lee, 17, is ranked at the top of his class, and is a member of ROTC. He is a member of Dramatic Coffee Beans, Inc., an interactive drama club formed as a way for teenagers to discuss issues in their community, and he also serves as the president of Lake City High School's Ensemble and Gospel Choir and the Tri-M Music Honor Society. Lee is an active figure in Lake City, with strong relationships extending from student organizations to local government and the faith community.

"Damian has proven through hard work and extreme perseverance that anything is possible," said Mychal Wynn, founder and CEO of the Foundation for Ensuring Access and Equity, who met Lee through the nonprofit's college planning programs in the Lake City area. "He is motivated, smart, creative, and will excel in any field he chooses. This scholarship would most certainly help him on that path."

Sallie Mae's Bridging the Dream Scholarship Program recognizes inspiring high school juniors and seniors who excel in academics, athletics, community service, or school activities, but whose financial circumstances may not permit them to fulfill their college dreams. This year, Sallie Mae will award $25,000 Bridging the Dream scholarships to five recipients selected from nominations submitted by high school counselors and community leaders across the U.S.

Sallie Mae received hundreds of nominations, and members of Sallie Mae's Bridging the Dream Team are traveling around the country to meet with and evaluate the finalists. The team will meet with Damian next week. The winners will be announced before the end of 2017.

"The Bridging the Dream Scholarship Program is central to our mission at Sallie Mae to help students reach their potential and make college happen," said Martha Holler, senior vice president, Sallie Mae. "We look forward to meeting Damian and the rest of our inspiring finalists from across the country."

For more information about the Bridging the Dream Scholarship Program, visit SallieMae.com/BridgingTheDream, or join the conversation by using #BridgingTheDream.

For more information about saving, planning, and paying for college, visit SallieMae.com.

Sallie Mae (Nasdaq:SLM) is the nation's saving, planning, and paying for college company. Whether college is a long way off or just around the corner, Sallie Mae offers products that promote responsible personal finance, including private education loans, Upromise rewards, scholarship search, college financial planning tools, and online retail banking. Learn more at SallieMae.com. Commonly known as Sallie Mae, SLM Corporation and its subsidiaries are not sponsored by or agencies of the United States of America.

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