Keonna Elliott was born for life on the stage. “My mom and dad have always been very supportive and my brother as well,” she says. “They always knew that I wanted to be some kind of performer.”

Elliott didn’t embrace that talent as a child. She says she was reserved and shy until she stepped out as a lead in Swann Middle School’s production of The Lion King. After that show, her music teacher, Mr. Maltby, took the class on a field trip to High Point University.

She fell in love with everything about the school. “I was especially taken aback when I saw the Pauline Theatre, and I was able to step on the stage,” she remembers. “There was a bit of light coming down from the rafters, and I could see the seats. I could just imagine myself on that stage performing for everyone.”

An A student, she felt good about her chances of getting accepted, but worried about paying for the private school tuition. “The tuition alone was way out of the range of I what could pay,” she says.

In the spring of 2022, she learned she was chosen as the recipient of a shift_ed full-tuition scholarship to HPU. “The scholarship really made it easier to see that I could still be a student here despite my financial challenges.”

Today she is living her dream as a college freshman and looking forward to a future under very bright lights. “I love the opportunity that I found here, and I know I will do well.”

shift_ed boldly accelerates student potential