Tanya Allen, a Harding High School senior, has overcome a lifetime of difficulties in her 17 years, and yet she has found ways to succeed in school and life. Throughout her life, Tanya has survived crushing poverty, being molested by a non-family member, and has felt the devastating neglect and violence fueled by her father's alcoholism.
She also has endured the stress of her mother's recurring brain tumor, and the difficult death of her grandmother, who was Tanya's chief caregiver for much of her early life. Her father's drinking and violence forced Tanya's mom to kick him out many times and Tanya got used to the repeated broken promises he made to her and to her younger brother. Because of his alcoholism, she now faces the real possibility that he won't live to see her graduate because of alcohol-related cirrhosis of the liver.
Through it all, Tanya has shown amazing resilience and excelled in school and extra-curricular activities. To help out at home, she has held down several part time jobs. In high school, she's been an Honor Roll student, maintained a 3.77 GPA, and been listed in "Who's Who Among American High School Students." Outside of school she has earned a Black Belt in karate, teaches kids Kung Fu, volunteers with her church and with the Girl Scouts, and is an Ambassador of People to People, for which she will travel to Europe this summer.
As Tanya looks toward to her future, she plans to study to be a dentist at the University of Minnesota.