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Union County teen wins $5,000, final Hero Next Door student scholarship

1:30 PM, May 22, 2013   |    comments
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LAKE BUTLER, Fla. -- It was a moment Kelsey Harrison said she never saw coming.

"I was wondering why it was so early and what was going on because I'm not used to being at school at this time. I was very confused," she said.

On Wednesday morning just before seven, the 17-year-old Union County High School walked into her mother's classroom.

There, she found a live First Coast News camera crew, family and friends and a $5,000 check with her name on it.

Harrison said, "I had no idea. I didn't know anything."

The circumstances were even more curious to Harrison since school let out for the summer last week.

Harrison thought she had to come to school for a graduation meeting with her principal.

"Graduation is the 31st, so she thought that would be coming up and would be something that would be a possibility," said her mom, Tammy.

Little did Harrison know she was the winner of First Coast News' Hero Next Door student scholarship giveaway grand prize.

With a little orchestration and secrecy from Harrison's mom and principal, the teen was surprised during Good Morning Jacksonville.

"I feel very loved. I'm so glad everyone came out. I had no idea, but I definitely have a lot of support from a lot of people, Harrison said.

Harrison is involved in a lot of school activities, from cheerleading to BETA club.

But her main passion is a unique prom she created for kids with special needs.

"My brother is actually O.H.I., other health impaired, so it starts at home with me," she said, describing her inspiration for the prom.

The annual event in Union County lets the kids feel at home and takes the focus off their disabilities.

Harrison's mom said, "Even though they have to go through so many issues and problems in their lives, she (Kelsey) makes sure they are the ones showing their abilities."

One day, Harrison would like to be a physician's assistant. She is currently a few classes short of getting her associate's degree already.

Harrison said the Hero Next Door scholarship will help her fulfill a lifelong dream of helping others.

"I'm very excited and cannot wait to see what happens," she said.

First Coast News

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