Meet Andrew Woods: The 2024 Dugan & Associates Scholarship Contest Winner

2024 scholarship contest winner

Meet 2024 Dugan & Associates Scholarship Contest Winner Andrew Woods, a senior at Blackhawk High School. Following graduation, Andrew plans to attend college and continue his academic success. From all of us at Dugan & Associates, congratulations, Andrew!

To everyone else who submitted essays, thank you for sharing your stories with us! You can read excerpts of Andrew's winning essay below. This year's prompt: Describe the #1 reason you are pursuing secondary education.

Andrew wrote his essay on the challenges of being autistic and how that affects his academics. Autism causes many challenges, such as lack of eye contact, lack of social skills, and sensory processing challenges. These challenges lead to many autistics being unable to go to college.

He shared some insights as to how many autistic individuals graduate high school & college. Studies have shown that less than 40% of high school graduates with autism receive any kind of college education. In addition, the challenges of autism, combined with the new experience of living independently for the first time, leads many autistics to not graduate from college. Only about 14% of high school graduates with autism successfully graduate from college. 

Despite the many challenges he faces, Andrew excels in his academic endeavors. I was named a National Merit Finalist. This is a major honor as out of over 1.4 million PSAT takers, only 15,000 of them get to this stage. I set a goal to finish in the top three at the Academic Games National Tournament and achieved that the same year. Although COVID did disrupt my plans to win 1st in an event in 2020, when Academic Games came back in 2022, I finished 1st in three events at the National Tournament. This shows that I have the drive and resilience to overcome the challenges college will present to me. 

Once again, congratulations, Andrew! We are glad to have you as our 2024 Dugan & Associates Scholarship Contest Winner.

If you want to learn more about this year's Scholarship Contest, click here.

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