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Third grader wins full scholarship

Posted Tuesday, Feb. 8, 2022 —


Third grade may be a little soon for a student to start planning for college, but little else has been on Bryn Harris’s mind lately.


Bryn, a North Street School student, was one of just 50 winners of a ‘Vaccinate, Educate, Graduate’ scholarship from New York State. The scholarship was part of a public outreach campaign by the State to increase awareness of the availability and efficacy of Covid-19 vaccines. Winners, who were announced weekly over a five-week series of statewide drawings, will be provided with a full scholarship to any SUNY or CUNY school.


Bryn’s award was announced on Dec. 22, 2021, in the final week of the drawings. Her parents, Michael and Lisa Harris, told the district they are still processing this once-in-a-lifetime opportunity, but wanted to share how proud they were of their daughter’s reaction to the news.


“I know I’m biased,” said Mrs. Harris. “She’s so sweet. She started crying, and she said, ‘That’s more dollars than I understand.’ I was thinking, ‘that’s more dollars than I understand.’” Bryn’s next set of questions was what really made her parents smile: “She asked, ‘Can I share with my sister?’” recalled Mrs. Harris, who had to tell her daughter that was not possible. “Can I share it with my friends?” Bryn then asked. And when told no again, she exclaimed, “Well, that’s no fun!”


Their daughter was immediately aware of how lucky she was, Mr. and Mrs. Harris say, and they feel the same way. “This has been life-changing,” said Mrs. Harris. “Honestly, I wish every parent could feel this, because both my husband and I, we feel overwhelmed by how lucky we are. We have great kids, we have a great community, a great school. It just feels like it’s so much great stuff. We just wish everyone could feel this way.”


In an e-mail to the district, Mr. and Mrs. Harris thanked her teachers, writing, “Bryn’s generous spirit is borne from home and community. You, her educators, and all staff have had a hand in nurturing her kind heart. For this, we are forever grateful.”


According to Mrs. Harris, college and career plans have become a regular subject matter for the 9-year-old since she won. “She’s talked about that a lot lately,” said Mrs. Harris, noting that while her daughter has not yet settled on a career path, veterinarian is one of her top choices. Bryn has also spent quite a lot of time thinking about what SUNY or CUNY school to attend. “She is very inquisitive on what schools she can go to,” said Mrs. Harris. “I went to Buffalo State for my bachelors, so she said, ‘Maybe I’ll go there.’”


The conversations are timely because Bryn’s older sister, Grayson, is a first-year student at Geneva High School and also looking ahead to college. Grayson, too, is undecided, but Mrs. Harris says she has assured her daughter that she is in good company — plenty of adults are still figuring it out, after all. “Just figure out what you really don’t like,” Mrs. Harris advised her. “That’s easier to narrow down.”