Lander University junior and Greenwood resident Maria Morales-Moreno has been selected as the 2017 recipient of the Florence Nelson Undergraduate Scholarship.
The scholarship is awarded annually by the South Carolina International Reading Association (SCIRA) to an in-state student majoring in education, and is named for the organization's first president. Maria was selected for her commitment to encourage reading as a lifetime tool for learning and for inspiring others to make reading a habit.
Having moved with her family from Mexico to Greenwood when she was 12 years old, Maria knows the importance of literacy. "When we arrived in Greenwood, it was difficult for me to communicate with others because I did not speak English," she recalled. "Reading has always been a big part of my life, and it was through reading that I was able to improve my understanding and use of English more quickly."
Maria is an active member of the Piedmont Reading Council and plans to become a third grade teacher after graduating from Lander.
"Because literacy is the foundation of learning, it's imperative that children learn to read as soon as possible. Children who have developed strong reading skills are more likely to perform better in school and have an overall healthier self-image," she said.