Daffodyle Saget used to think college wasn’t for her. The Haitian-born 20-year-old struggled with depression, fought to be accepted in at South Plantation High School and felt humiliated because her family has no money. Her dad is in a mental hospital and her mom has trouble accepting that she’s bisexual.
Now, she’s getting the financial and emotional support she needs to go to college thanks to the Point Foundation, a national organization that empowers promising LGBTQ students to achieve their full academic potential, spokesman Eugene Patron said.
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“I tend to talk myself down, so I was shocked when I heard that I had won,” Saget said. “The money will help so much. It would just take a whole weight of my back because I’m not getting support anywhere else.”
Saget is one of 52 Point scholarship recipients for 2017, including two others from Miami-Dade County: Felipe Gomez, 18, of Hialeah and Tremaine “Trey” Jones, 29, a Miami Dade College social-work student who works as health services outreach manager at Pridelines LGBTQ center in Northeast Miami.
Since 2002, Point Foundation has awarded almost 400 scholarships making it the nation's largest scholarship-granting organization for LGBTQ students. In June, Point announced the largest and most diverse group in the organization’s history. Two-thirds of the scholarship recipients identify as minorities, and nearly half are gender nonconforming.
“Society is definitely better when a broader group of people are allowed access to higher education, particularly people of color and people who are nonbinary and transgender,” Patron said.
From more than 2,000 applicants, 27 LGBTQ students were chosen to be Point Scholars. Point also awarded 25 LGBTQ students to its expanded Community College Scholarship Program, thanks to a partnership with Wells Fargo.
Among the community college recipients, 60 percent are the first in their families to go to college.
Gomez, a Wells Point scholar, has the life goal of creating a more accepting society for the LGBTQ community and immigrants. He plans on majoring in mathematical economics and gender, sexuality, and women’s studies at the University of Pennsylvania.
“I never expected I would be selected to join such an exclusive and loving community,” said Gomez, a Mater Lakes Academy graduate. “All of my energy will be used to pursue my educational goals.”
Point Scholars will be matched with mentors in their fields. Saget hopes her mentor will push her to not play it safe.
“I’d like someone who is bold for their cause and does it for others,” said Saget, a Miami Dade College sociology student. “Someone selfless in their work who doesn’t limit themselves.”
In fall next year, she will apply to transfer to New College of Florida to further her sociology studies and evaluate how people overcome their surrounding cultures.
“I used to feel like maybe I wasn’t LGBTQ enough, but there’s no one way to be,” she said. “You don’t have to act any sort of way, you can just be. When I realized that, I started performing at my full potential.”