“It was difficult,” Allie Stough recalls. At just six years old, she was diagnosed with cancer. A malignant tumor was found in her brain, and surgery was necessary. Though the cancer was successfully removed, brain surgery left her with neurological damage and short-term memory issues.
These lifelong challenges did nothing to quell her ambition. The Lloyd C. Bird high school student was in her school’s marching band, joined the Girl Scouts, was a member of the National Art Honor Society and found time to volunteer, among other things. In 2007, she was determined to go to college and applied for Allen & Allen’s George E. Allen Academic Scholarship. She had serious cheerleaders in her corner, including her math teacher at the time, who wrote, “Without a doubt, Allie is the hardest working student I have ever taught.” Her Latin teacher wrote, “Allie’s determination is remarkable and deserves the respect of all.” Stough received a George E. Allen Academic scholarship.
With the help of this scholarship, she attended Richard Bland College to earn an Associate of Science degree, on to Christopher Newport to get a Bachelor of Arts degree, and VCU to earn a Master of Arts degree! “I couldn’t have done it without my mother. She tutored me throughout college and helped me with scholarships. She always believed in me.” She also credits her teachers and the special services she received throughout her education. “I found ways to compensate for my memory loss, and my difficulty in fact recall. I took a lot of notes, and some school services included note takers. I was also given extra time to complete my tests.”
After graduating from VCU, Stough wanted to be an art teacher. At the time, there wasn’t an opportunity in Richmond, so she got her teaching license and worked with autistic children. She now teaches children with severe disabilities, whether they are wheelchair-bound or require a feeding tube. She feels that her early struggles in school are partially the reason she wanted to teach these students. “I just feel like I’m in the right place,” she said.
Stough’s mother Nancy couldn’t be more proud, and had in fact reached out to Allen & Allen with an update on her daughter. “As a proud mom, I thought you might like to hear about the success of one of your past recipients. Your scholarship help was well spent and moved my daughter to where she is now. Thank you for what you do to help students who have overcome adversity become successful citizens,” she wrote.
“In a way, having cancer was a good thing. It opened me up to more scholarships, and it helped us out a lot financially,” Stough recalled. “One thing my mom and I always appreciated was the scholarship dinner. You don’t get that with other scholarships. I got to connect with people and hear their stories. I got to meet the attorneys at Allen & Allen too, and even hear about them overcoming adversities. It was just different, and my mom and I are appreciative.”
The George E. Allen Academic Scholarship was created to honor the firm’s founder, George E. Allen, Sr., who overcame significant hardship to put himself through college and law school. Any recipients of the scholarship become part of the Allen family, and we are incredibly proud of their achievements.
Congratulations to Allie Stough on her success, and may the future continue to open doors!
The George E. Allen Academic Scholarship is still open to applicants until March 1st. Apply today!
If you are a past recipient of the George E. Allen Academic Scholarship, we would love to know what you are up to now. Click here to share your update!