Tue | May 30, 2017

Fifth-grader shares dream, wins $1,500 for college

Published:Tuesday | May 26, 2015 | 5:00 AM

RINEYVILLE, Kentucky (AP):

When Rineyville Elementary School fifth-grader Rasia Graves learned that her mother had multiple sclerosis (MS), she knew she wanted to do what she could to find a cure. To her, that means eventually becoming a neurologist.

Rasia created a video expressing why she wanted to become a neurologist for the 2015 Kentucky Education Savings Plan Trust (KESPT) 'Dream Out Loud Challenge'. As a result, Rasia's family won a $1,500 KESPT 529 college savings plan for her future, and her school was awarded $500.

The statewide contest had 1,400 participants, but her entry was one of six that stood out.

"My mom was diagnosed with MS in 2010," Rasia says in the video. "When she told us, I knew I wanted to be in the medical field. Becoming a neurologist will enable me to assist the MS patients until someday there is a cure. That's how I will change the world after I finish college."

Contest participants had the option to create a video, write a poem or draw a picture sharing how they would change the world after college.

KESPT representative David Lawhorn presented the family with a symbolic cheque recently at the school.

"This is certainly a great achievement that Rasia has accomplished," Lawhorn said. "I want to really emphasize how competitive this is. Rasia really distinguished herself from a very, very accomplished group of entries that we received."

Lawhorn said one of KESPT's goals is to get families talking about college and get children thinking about college at an early age.

"The $1,500 will get me closer to my goal to go to college," Rasia said.

Big inspiration

Rasia's mother, Robin Graves, said she was inspired by her daughter when she learned that was the career path she wanted to take and the topic of her video. Robin said she doesn't talk to her kids about MS a lot because she wants them to focus on their education.

"It's just a topic we don't really discuss," she said. "I don't want them to be sad and I just want her to be a kid."

Rasia said she wants to attend either Harvard University or Duke University.

"Never stop dreaming," Rineyville principal Billy Coffey told his students. "Also, never stop dreaming out loud. By dreaming out loud, it gives validation to what you want to do."

Coffey said Rasia also participated in a national George Washington letter-writing contest this year and placed second among fifth-graders.