Kate Griffith, a senior at Central Cambria High School in Ebensburg, Pennsylvania, was surprised with $25,000 for college as part of Sallie Mae's Bridging the Dream Scholarship Program. Representatives from Sallie Mae, the nation's saving, planning, and paying for college company, along with Susan Dixon, the Central Cambria High School counselor who nominated Griffith for the scholarship, and Griffith's father were on hand for the reveal today during a Cambria County All County Band Festival rehearsal at Bishop McCort Catholic High School.

Sallie Mae's Bridging the Dream Scholarship recognizes inspiring high school juniors and seniors nationwide who excel in academics, athletics, community service, or school activities, but whose financial circumstances may not permit them to fulfill their college dreams. Griffith is one of five Bridging the Dream Scholarship recipients nationwide.

"Kate is an extremely successful student, despite overcoming so much in her young life," said Dixon. "She's one of the most inspiring young adults I've encountered as a school counselor and is so deserving of this scholarship."

Griffith, 17, has an exemplary academic record, while being involved in multiple extracurricular activities, including tennis, filmmaking, piano, dance, and community service projects. She is a percussionist in the marching band, and is extremely involved in musical theater, both at school and working at the Cresson Lake Playhouse. She is an active volunteer at her church and works part time, in addition to her full school schedule. She has a strong interest in film and is a member of the Newsworthy News Club. She was one of 15 students from Central Cambria High School's 60-member band selected for the Cambria County All County Band.

"Today, more doors have opened for me to pursue my dream of a college education," said Griffith. "This scholarship will make so many more things possible for me, and I'm grateful to Mrs. Dixon for nominating me, my family and friends for supporting me through the years, and Sallie Mae for this generous gift."

This is the second year of Sallie Mae's Bridging the Dream Scholarship Program. In addition to company contributions, Sallie Mae employees organized a host of fundraising events, raising more than $57,000 to support the scholarship recipients.

"The Bridging the Dream Scholarship exemplifies, in name and intent, what Sallie Mae is all about, and we are proud to be a part of a community of school counselors, administrators, community organizations, and companies that want to help young people achieve their goals," said Martha Holler, senior vice president, Sallie Mae. "Kate's involvement within her school and community show what a committed and diligent young person she is, and we're excited to see all that she will accomplish."

For more information about Sallie Mae's Bridging the Dream Scholarships, 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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