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Carleigh Hewa Wins College Dream Scholarship from King University, WTFM

BRISTOL, Tenn., April 11, 2017 – King University and 98.5 WTFM announced Carleigh Hewa of Kingsport, Tenn., as the winner of the 12th annual College Dream scholarship promotion. The contest was open to anyone who sought the chance to make their dream of a college education a reality through a full-tuition scholarship to King University.

“We are thrilled to make Carleigh’s college dream come true by offering her the opportunity to pursue a bachelor’s degree at no cost,” said Mona Salyer, assistant vice president of Enrollment Management Graduate & Professional Studies Tri-Cities at King University. “She will be able to complete her major coursework in a workable and convenient environment, one night a week. We know Carleigh will serve as an inspiration to other aspiring students that it is never too late to pursue the dream of a college education.”

Hewa will pursue a Bachelor of Science in Psychology degree offered through King’s Graduate & Professional Studies program featuring class schedules and learning environments designed for working adults. 

Hewa’s initial response to the live on-air announcement that she was indeed the winner of a college scholarship to King University was, “Words cannot express how excited I am. This has been a dream of mine to go back to school and finish my degree. I’m just over the moon right now.”

Hewa was one of five finalists including Elizabeth Baumgardner of Bristol, Va.; Tasha Cleveland of Kingsport, Tenn.; Denise Morin of Bristol, Tenn.; and Lisa Ann Whisman of Keokee, Va.

WTFM listeners were asked to vote from March 31 through April 7 for the individual they believed should win the contest. 

Hewa attended King out of high school but was unable to finish due to unfortunate family circumstances. “The last time I left King's campus, I promised I would be back one day to finish what I started,” said Hewa. “In the years since I left King I have been busy pulling myself up by my bootstraps. I waited tables and worked retail to put myself through Virginia Highlands Community College. I continued to spend time with the friends I'd made at King, and I ended up meeting my husband, Lance Blaylock, who is also a King alumnus. I graduated from VHCC and got a job at Lawson and Hatch Financial Services in Abingdon. I took my Life and Health insurance exam in 2015.”

Hewa added, “My life has been unpredictable at times, but I have been determined to make the best out of every situation I found myself in. I have worked hard for everything I have. This path is not the one I chose. I believe this path chose me. I have become stronger and wiser in the years since I left King, but I never forgot my promise. One day I would come back.”

In addition to her full-tuition scholarship to King, Hewa will also receive her textbooks at no cost as well as a $50 gift certificate from the King University Tornado Alley Shoppe. 

Contact the Office of Admissions at 800.362.0014 or visit online for more information about King’s Graduate & Professional Studies programs.


King University is a Presbyterian-affiliated, doctoral-level comprehensive university. Founded in 1867 as King College, the University offers more than 90 majors, minors, pre-professional degrees and concentrations in fields such as business, nursing, law, medical and health sciences, pharmacy, education, and humanities. Graduate programs are offered in business administration, education, and nursing. A number of research, off-campus learning opportunities, and travel destinations are also available. King University is a NCAA Division II and a Conference Carolinas member with 25 varsity sports. For more information about King University, visit King University does not discriminate against academically qualified students of any race, color, national or ethnic origin, sex, age, or disability. King University is certified by SCHEV to operate locations in Virginia. For more information on SCHEV certification, contact the King University office at Southwest Virginia Community College, 309 College Road, Richlands, VA 24641.