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Eighth student surprised with $1,000 Hero Next Door scholarship

5:40 PM, May 17, 2013   |    comments
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ST. AUGUSTINE, Fla. -- A knock on the door is how Katherine Landis woke up Friday morning.

The 18-year-old thought she might be able to sleep in a little bit, after all it was her first day of summer vacation.

Little did she know her mother, Karen, entered her in the First Coast News' Hero Next Door student scholarship giveaway.

Then Katherine was surprised as a winner bright and early Friday on Good Morning Jacksonville with a $1,000.

"I had no idea. I didn't even know she entered it," she said.

Katherine is a soon-to-be graduate of Pedro Menendez High School, where she maintains a 4.24 grade point average.

Her mom nominated her for more than her academics, though.

Katherine also has volunteered for three years at Relay for Life in St. Augustine, and she has cut her hair five times for Locks of Love.

"My hair grows really fast, so I donated it when I was like 5. Then I kind of made a habit of it," she said.

Katherine's family calls her their own hometown hero.

She requires a wheelchair for spinal muscular atrophy. Yet, it does not stand in her way from helping others in need.

Her mom said, "She's a strong individual, and she's going to accomplish what she sets her mind to do."

Now, her plans are to go to New York University in the fall to study social work.

And with the $1,000 scholarship, Katherine hopes to one day be a leader in foster care.

"I want to open an orphanage because of all the issues that I feel reside in the foster care system," she said.

The family plans on using the money to help pay for food, books, room and board and other college expenses.

This means First Coast News only has three scholarships left to hand out.

The last two will be for $1,000, and students will be surprised with them on Monday and Tuesday during Good Morning Jacksonville.

The final scholarship, for $5,000, will be handed out Wednesday to our grand prize winner.

First Coast News

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