Syrdera Little has wanted to be a nurse since she was in the sixth grade. Now, thanks to her hard work and talent, the recent Greenville High School graduate will begin studying for a nursing degree this fall with some costs covered by three local scholarships.
The Community Foundation of Greenville announced that Little was awarded the John I. Smith Scholarship of $6,400, the Margaret and Jack Paylor Family Scholarship of $5,000 and the Obermier Scholarship of $2,000.
(The Smith scholarship provides $800 per semester for four years. The Obermier award is in memory of John N. Obermier, Edith M. Obermier and Mary Belle Obermier.)
“Given that I am a first-generation college student, these scholarships will allow me to receive the education I need to become a nurse and serve in my community,” Little said. “In addition, these scholarships will not only affect me but will impact my family and community for generations to come.”
Little, who earned a grade point average of 3.9, will attend the University of South Carolina in Columbia for a Bachelor of Science degree in nursing. She has been accepted to live in the university’s health-focused living and learning community.
“This community includes students who are pursuing careers in allied health professions and are interested in hands-on learning opportunities,” she said. “Being around other students focused on health-related subjects will be beneficial in helping me focus.”
“My mom is a hard worker. She does her best without complaining,” Little said. “I really appreciate everything she does for me and my two siblings.”
Next, she contacted her mentor, Beth Norman, who had encouraged her to apply. Norman volunteers with Bel-Aire Community Partners — belairegvl.org — a West Greenville ministry offering after-school and summer programs for children and youth.
“The mentors help with the college process,” Little said. “My junior year, we went on walks, had coffee and devotions and got to know each other. Senior year, she was there for me when I was writing my essay for USC. She helped me understand what they were asking for and what they wanted from me. She’s a nurse, so that helps me want to pursue my goals even more so I can make her proud, too.”
Little has been involved with Bel-Aire for four years, along with her brother, Antwan, 14, and sister, Samiya, 10. She started by volunteering to help younger children with homework and activities, then joined the RISE leadership program and worked at BL Snow-Cones, a summer business staffed by teens who gain experience and job skills. Little credits the program with teaching her to overcome obstacles and for giving her confidence and motivation to get her college degree.
“Syrdera is one of our best students and a very hard worker,” said Kaitlin Bunge, Bel-Aire’s executive director. “We’re incredibly proud.”
The Obermier, Paylor and Smith scholarships are among several administered by the Community Foundation of Greenville. These scholarships commemorate the values and interests of the people they honor while making higher education more accessible to deserving students in the Greenville community.
To learn more about scholarships administered by the Community Foundation of Greenville, visit https://www.cfgreenville.org/grants-impact/scholarships/