BILOXI, MS (WLOX) - One Biloxi-born high school student won a $100,000 scholarship at the SEC Championship game last Saturday.
Leona Gaither competed alongside three other finalists in Dr. Pepper's Tuition Giveaway. In an on-field competition, The four contestants had to throw as many footballs as possible in 30 seconds into an oversized Dr Pepper can replica.
Gaither, now a senior at King George High School in Virginia, was selected to appear at the game following an online entry and video submission to Dr. Pepper.
"My guidance counselor regularly sends out emails with scholarships and upcoming deadlines," she explained. "I saw this one and figured it was something I could manage, so I went for it."
She plans on majoring in biochemistry when she gets to college with dreams of becoming a professor. Gaither currently tutors other students in chemistry and studies a rigorous STEM course load.
In the style of The Nutty Professor, Leona appeared as all the characters in her creative video submission. She plays a professor and the students a science classroom, answering questions as to why she should be chosen for the competitive scholarship.
"By becoming a college professor, she can gain knowledge throughout her career while seeking solutions to problems in a field with infinite possibilities" said one of the characters in the video.
Leona Gaither hopes her passion for science will demonstrate the power of having more women in STEM fields.
The runner-up won $20,000 and the remaining two finalists each received $2,500 towards their college education.
Watch the video that qualified her for the competition below: