Neptune Beach, Fla. -- Hayley Snyder, an 11th grader at Fletcher High School, is the first recipient of First Coast News's Hero Next Door Student scholarships.
Snyder was the first of 10 students to win a $1,000 college scholarship weekdays May 8th-22st on Good Morning Jacksonville between 6:00-7:00am.
On May 22nd, one student will win a $5,000 scholarship.
"In a tough economy, First Coast News is happy to help 11 local families send their kids to college" said FCN president and General Manager Eric Land.
The scholarships are part of FCN's Hero Next Door Students program. Judges selected students based on academic achievement and community service.
Snyder said she hopes to use the money to go to college in Miami to get a degree that will let her work with people with special needs.
She said, "Like right now I am taking sign language, so maybe I can help deaf kids or like work with special needs kids or just anyone."
Snyder draws her inspiration from her own family.
In 2001, her brother, who had special needs, passed away. Snyder now volunteers in the community and at school to help people just like him.
It is one reason her mom nominated her for the scholarship.
"There's always something going on, and she's juggling it and she's keeping her grades up," said Ellen Snyder.
The money will also ease a financial burden for the family.
Hayley's dad, John, said, "It's definitely going to help. It definitely is going to be a step in the right direction."
First Coast News surprised Hayley Wednesday at her school. She thought she needed to arrive early for a guidance counselor appointment with her parents.
First Coast News