Savannah Scott was valedictorian of her high school class, an even more remarkable accomplishment when one learns her backstory. “Growing up, I was told I would never do anything with my life, and at age 15, I went into foster care.”
Scott’s odds for completing her education weren’t good. According to Casey Family Programs, the nation’s largest operating foundation focused on foster care, only 31 percent of children who grow up in foster care graduate high school and less than three percent graduate from a four-year college. Scott had other ideas. “I thought, ‘I’m better than this, and I can do what I want,’ so I turned my back on what had come before and got to work.”
School had always been a refuge for Scott, so rededicating herself to study felt right. “When I was younger, school was an escape, and I felt pride in doing well,” she explains. “I also had two older sisters who were role models. Both went to college, earned master’s degrees, and found good jobs. I wanted to be like them and decided I wasn’t going to let my problems define me.”
Scott has remained true to that commitment. She earned a 3.87 GPA her first semester at Plymouth State in the Nursing Program and has become an active advocate for the foster care system. After completing her degree, she plans to work as a registered nurse for a few years, and then may go back to school to become a nurse practitioner or a doctor.
“I know it’s said all the time, and yes, it’s a cliché, but anything you put your mind to, you can do,” she says. “I was given so many opportunities to fail, but I said, ‘No, I’m going to do something else with my life.’”
Savannah’s story originally featured in Plymouth Magazine.