Peter Za, a senior at Cleveland 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.

Za, 17, maintains a 4.0 GPA, and is an international baccalaureate certificate candidate, while taking the most rigorous academic path available at Cleveland High School. He is a member of the varsity soccer team, volunteers his time as a math tutor, and is a drummer at his church's worship services. He is also a leader within the English Language Learner community and is active in the Catholic Charities of Oregon Homework Club.

"Peter is one of the most impressive students I have worked with in my eight years at the Cleveland High School College and Career Center," said Jennifer Rockwood, a longtime volunteer at the College and Career Center, who nominated Za. "He is not only a stellar student, but also a truly caring young man, who works every day to succeed for himself and his family."

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 Za 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 Peter and the rest of our inspiring finalists from across the country."

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

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

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 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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