You would think Kiana Hardy would’ve been excited to tell her mother the news: she had been named the recipient of a $25,000 scholarship from the Washington Redskins Charitable Foundation, $5,000 per year for up to five years of school. After all, her mother had taken out an enormous loan to help realize Hardy’s collegiate dreams, and the scholarship would go a long way toward ameliorating that expense.
Instead, Hardy was worried. She was crying tears of joy, sitting in her car on the side of the road just after hanging up with Redskins owner Daniel Snyder, who had called to notify her of the award. And she found herself focusing on one thing:
“I was, like, my mom’s gonna be so upset ’cause I answered the phone while I was driving,” Hardy said today. “I was like, ‘Oh, she’s gonna kill me!’ But I couldn’t wait to get home. I was just so excited.”
Her mom let her off the hook for that — “She said, ‘Okay, one time, all right, but never again,’” Hardy explained — which is how she wound up at Redskins Park today, holding a giant check and sharing with the media her detailed plans for the future.
“This fall,” she said, “I’ll be attending Spellman College in Atlanta, Georgia, to major in biology, pre-med, and Spanish. One day I hope to become a bilingual pediatrician. I hope to attend Howard Medical School and come back and work at Children’s Hospital.”
Considering that I still only have the vaguest inkling of what I want to do when I grow up — I’d like to do something with writing, I think! — I found this immensely impressive.
Hardy says that she’s been “a die-hard Redskins fan since I was born,” largely because of her grandfather, and she didn’t believe that the call on her cell phone that day was actually from Snyder. “For a second I thought it was one of my friends playing a joke,” she said, “but then when I looked at the phone number it said Virginia, and I thought, ‘Okay, maybe this is real.’ And then as he started talking, I was like, ‘This is real!’”
Her grandfather and friends were all incredulous — “They were all, like, Oh my god, you got a call from Daniel Snyder?!?!” — and Hardy herself was too shocked by the call to think of a Redskins-related question to ask. But that specific shock paled next to the realization that the burden of her college tuition had just become much more manageable.
“It makes a difference for me because my mom won’t have to work as hard now,” she said. “The five thousand dollars [a year], that helps her so much, ’cause she had to take out the great big loan for school. The FAFSA didn’t give me a lot of loans; they gave her the big one. So just this little portion helps her, and that’s more than I ever wanted. I said, ‘Just give me all the loans and don’t give her any,’ but they gave me this, so it helps her a little bit.”
This is the second year the Redskins Charitable Foundation has awarded this scholarship, but the first time it’s gone to a future bilingual pediatrician.
“You just don’t understand,” Hardy said. “I’m so appreciative, as is my family. I’ve worried about how I was gonna pay for college; this helps me so much. You just don’t understand. Thank you so much. I mean, I can’t even put it into words.”
Tags: charitable foundation, Daniel Snyder
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