The Rae Byron-Perotte Scholarship was started this year in honor of my late grandmother Raymonde Byron who passed away December 2nd, 2016. Growing up, Grandma Rae instilled in me the passion, drive and belief that I could do anything I put my mind to and to not let anyone or anything stand in the way of my heart’s desires. And so, I did just that. I searched my heart to find what I was passionate about and each time, I got the same answer: Youth and Young Adults. So, with this new path, I began volunteering, mentoring, and fighting for those who can’t for themselves. Then, when I got in a position to help them in a monetary fashion, I jumped right into action with both feet.

The purpose of the scholarship is to show support for those who otherwise may not have the access to the “right people” or “right places.” That’s why there is no GPA or letter of reference requirement. I only request the student be either an incoming freshman or upcoming sophomore. Why? Because I know people and have friends who have told me situations where they’re accepted into their dream school but end up having to go somewhere else or hold off a semester or year because of funds. A person is more than what or who they know. You still need passion! I wanted this scholarship to reflect the ideals I grew up with: The passion to want to change the world around you, the drive to do that no matter how hard it may seem and the ability to encourage others to do the same. The funds from the scholarship are coming from my personal funds as well as donations from people who share those same sentiments. This is more than a scholarship contest, it’s the chance to invest in someone’s future.

I want this scholarship to be the start of something great. I have big plans for it in the future. Right now, we’re only able to award it to one student. But being the dreamer I am, I one day hope to award two, three or even five students. The more opportunities I can give, will literally make my heart so full. Not only will more kids be able to follow their hearts entering college with one less thing to worry about, but my grandmother’s example of never letting anyone stand in the way of that will live on in the lives of these future game changers.

Carmen Byron
Georgia State University, Class of 2017
Administrative Assistant
U.S. Attorney’s Office

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