DANVILLE, Ill. (WCIA) — Ever since she was little, Danville High School senior Kyra Dudley has wanted to be a teacher so she can, one day, make a difference in a child’s life.

Now, thanks to a recently awarded $20,000 scholarship, Dudley is one step closer to achieving her goal.

Next year, Dudley plans to attend her dream school, Illinois State, and major in elementary education. 

As she was applying for college scholarships, she decided to apply to be a National Dell Scholar. She did so following the suggestion of her AVID teacher, Taylor Heston. In addition to being awarded $20,000 for college expenses, the scholarship also includes a new Dell laptop.

This scholarship was only awarded to 500 seniors across the country.

“It kind of feels unreal because I’ve worked so hard for what I’ve accomplished,” Dudley said.

Dudley believes what set her apart from other applicants was her personal essay.

“I’ve been through a lot in my childhood, and I’ve used that as motivation instead of being upset about it,” Dudley said. “I am where I am because I’ve done everything I can to be successful.”

Dudley’s favorite class is history. Aside from her schoolwork, Dudley also runs cross-country, plays soccer, partakes in community service and is a member of “Advocates Club,” a school group dedicated to “advocating friendship for everyone.”