Samantha Hooper now has a financial leg up for her future education, thanks to the Make Kids Count scholarship contest drawing for 9- to-10-year-olds.
"This is the furthest I've been," said Samantha, winner of the $10,000 scholarship bond.
With their families at their side, Samantha and one other finalist stood in the middle of a sold-out arena Saturday night during halftime at the Augusta Spartans football game for the final drawing.
They were the only two left in a contest that began in January with more than 200 entries.
The Make Kids Count program, sponsored by The Augusta Chronicle, was launched in June 2003, and has awarded $280,000 in scholarship funds, benefiting more than 240 children.
Though only 10 years old, Samantha - whose family lives in Thomson - knows what she wants to be when she grows up, and she knows her desired career requires an education.
Samantha - smiling broadly and holding her check - announced she wanted to be a preschool teacher.
Other contest sponsors are Ashley Furniture Home Store, Champion Window Co., SCANA Energy, Platt's Funeral Home, Partners in Achievement, the Augusta Spartans and Knology.