Park City High School graduate honored with $10,000 scholarship from Comcast
Mellissa Mellin walked into the Utah State Capitol a couple weeks ago believing that she was one of several students being recognized with a $1,000 scholarship. What she did not know was that she was the star of the event and would be walking away with 10 times that amount.
Mellin, a recent graduate of Park City High School, was awarded the top honor from the Comcast NBCUniversal Leaders and Achievers Scholarship Program. Another 33 students from around the state received scholarships of $1,000 and $5,000.
Mellin first heard about the scholarship from two scholarship advisers at Park City High School. They told her that they wanted to nominate her for the award, since only one student from each school can apply. She was happy to be selected and added it to her large stack of scholarship applications that she worked on throughout the year.
Mellin has spent a long time preparing to attend college. Her parents began urging her to get good grades when she was young, but she said that the message did not sink in until she saw her older sister struggling to pay for college. She knew that if she could do well in school, she might be able to get scholarships and not have the worries her sister did.
In seventh grade, Mellin joined the leadership group Latinos in Action in order to be more involved in school, and she said that the decision changed her future for the better.
“Latinos in Action changed everything for me,” she said. “I was shy and it brought me out of my shell.”
It also taught her to be a leader, mentor, role model and “the best person that I can be,” she said.
When Mellin entered high school, she sought out Advanced Placement (AP) classes and college-level courses. A lot of the time, she said, she was the only Latina girl in the classroom, which was difficult. But her involvement in LIA taught her to push past stereotypes. Last year, she was the co-president of the organization.
As her parents checked her grades and chatter of applying to college began, she said that school became exceptionally difficult.
“There were a lot of sleepless nights, and there were a lot of times throughout my high school career that I just wanted to give up,” she said.
Then, this year she applied to Westminster College and was accepted into the school’s Honors College. She was also offered a Dean’s Scholarship from the school, which will pay for a large part of her education. She received a couple more scholarships from community organizations, but did not stop applying for more aid until she had met every deadline. She did not want to add any financial stress to her family.
“I knew it was up to me to get all the money I needed,” she said.
Then, she heard that she had won the scholarship from Comcast.
At the luncheon on June 20, she stood at the end of the line of scholarship recipients and waited to walk across the stage. As Mellin approached the front of the line, the announcer said that were no more $1,000 recipients. Mellin assumed that she had received less, but then the two people in front of her received $5,000. She was hopeful that she would be awarded with the same amount.
When she was given double, she burst into tears and stepped up to receive her honor.
“I was extremely surprised,” she said.
She thought about all of the times that she felt like she “missed out on being a teenager” because she was stressing over grades or scholarship applications, but she said that now everything has come together, she does not regret it anymore.
“I definitely feel like the hard work paid off and I appreciate my parents,” she said.
She plans on studying political science and journalism at Westminster College.
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The Park City Board of Education is on track to place a bond on the ballot this fall to improve district facilities. The top priorities would be to put ninth grade in the high school, eighth grade in the middle school and to augment preschool offerings by expanding elementary schools.