BIRMINGHAM, AL (WBRC) - Natasha Fair is on Cloud 9.
"I'm feeling really excited. A little nervous, but excited," she said.
Those feelings are certainly understandable. Fair will graduate from Lawson State Community College and she'll head to UAB in the fall. where her ultimate goal is to become a cardiovascular surgeon.
"I would say I'm very happy that I've come this far even though there's a long road ahead of me," Fair said.
A long road ahead that will be debt-free. Fair is a recipient of the state funded Fostering Hope Scholarship, which was created in 2015.
"It was started as an investment into children who are living in foster care so they'd have an opportunity to achieve their goals of college graduation," said Kim Mashego, director of Shelby County DHR.
She said the scholarships are open to children who've been in foster care since age 14 and are headed to a post-secondary certificate or degree.
Besides paying for tuition, books and fees, the scholarship also offers a mentor for recipients to help them navigate through the college experience.
"Not being able to pay for college gave me more time to study for my academics and get me to where I am today which is graduation tomorrow," Fair said.
She admits spending 11 years in the foster care system was a challenge at times.
But she always kept her eyes on her educational goals and she encourages other foster children to do the same.
"You can achieve anything you put your mind to. You just have to be willing and wanting it just as much as anyone else," Fair said.
You can learn more about the Alabama Fostering Hope Scholarship here.