Scholarships drive Metropolis’ Sparks forward

Dorian Sparks, Massac County
Dorian Sparks, Massac County

By Jeff Wilson

Saluki spirit runs deeply in Dorian Sparks’ family. Her grandmother attended SIU, and her parents met while SIU students.

“A lot of people from Metropolis go to Murray State,” said Sparks, a Massac County High School graduate. “I figured out my junior year of high school that SIU made the most sense for me.”

During her journey, she received two scholarships, one from the Friends of the Paul Simon Public Policy Institute and the other from the Society for Civil Discourse.

“The Paul Simon Institute scholarships provided me with a cushion going into college,” Sparks said. “The Society for Civil Discourse scholarship came as I was going into the end of the semester and had $1,500 on my bursar bill to pay off. It helped me avoid taking out student loans.”

Sparks originally came to SIU for the health care management program, but she recently changed majors and is now pursuing her degree in nursing.

“I still love health care management, but I’m really excited,” she said. “I’m a certified nursing assistant now, but I want to become a registered nurse.”

The scholarships have created a connection with her school and its alumni. Being from Southern Illinois has just made it all that much more special.

“So often it seems like people want you to go to college, but that’s all they want to do,” she said. “Our alumni pride themselves on the fact they went to SIU. It makes me feel really supported here. Thank you to everyone who helps. It’s going to push me to keep going.”

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