“I remember visiting (High Point University); I stepped on campus for the first time, and I immediately thought I need to be here. It’s just perfect. I love it so much.” Trinity De Risio was just a sophomore at Northwest Guilford when she had that ‘ah ha’ moment. “I like the idea of a small campus and having small classes where I can actually interact with my teachers, and they will know my name.”

An only child, De Risio always knew she wanted to go to college. “My parents told me since I was in elementary school, maybe even a little before, that I should go to college, because they always wanted for me what they couldn’t have.” Today she is living that dream while studying neuroscience and biology at HPU.

De Risio exudes confidence, but she says that wasn’t always the case. “I was diagnosed with anxiety and depression in 8th grade.” She says she remembers feeling afraid; her parents suggested therapy. With counseling and the support of her family and close friends she began to notice a difference. “Instead of letting it control me, I control it,” she says.

Also boosting her confidence is a full-tuition scholarship. “I remember when we got the call. My mom was sitting right next to me; she was holding my hand, and she heard the man say that we got the scholarship. Both of us burst into tears; we were so happy.” De Risio is a Say Yes Guilford-HPU scholar. “It means that I get to get my education and graduate and without having to worry about debt and that’s just incredible. I feel really lucky.”

De Risio is already looking ahead, hoping to one day back give back some of what she’s learned. “I want to work in the mental health system and try to improve it. I just want to make sure that others don’t have to go through the same struggles I have.”