Scholarship surprise for student heading to Bethel University

June 20, 2019 06:48 PM

The surprises just keep coming for one student who's getting ready to attend class at Bethel University.

In February we showed you this moment of pure joy as Sean Sieleni learned he was accepted.


Sean has Down syndrome and will start in a special two-year college program at Bethel this fall. On Thursday, he received some heartwarming help with his future.

"Oh shoot, mom's here,everybody is here.. oh shoot," is how Sieleni describes his latest surprise.

Just two months before he is set to head off to college at Bethel, this surprise was a big one.

"We just want to let you know you are going to get $10,000 to go to Bethel this fall, said the announcement via Skype.

Sieleni beat out hundreds of others to receive money from Ruby's Rainbow, a national organization that supports adults with Down syndrome. It was started by a mom in honor of her young daughter, Ruby, after she noticed there was a lot of help for young people, but not much for adults with Down syndrome.

"Learning about people with Down syndrome who are doing all these amazing things brings joy and hope into my heart," Liz Plachta told Sieleni, with 8-year-old Ruby sitting on her lap.

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The money comes in collaboration with Warriors for Walt, created by the parents of their little boy, Walt, born with Down syndrome, who didn't survive his first year.

"We just hope you take this money and do what Walt would do and make the most of your freshman year, we are just so proud of you," said Liz Morris, Walt's mom.

"I'm happy, I'm just happy I got this, thank you," replied Sieleni.

With family and friends there to take in the announcement with him, it was an emotional moment.

"We're so proud of you, thanks.. oh, sorry you're making him cry now sorry," said his mom Leslie Sieleni.

Leslie said Sean's schooling will cost just as much as any other students at Bethel, yet scholarships for students with special needs are few and far between.

"We pay just like any other student, which is incredibly expensive, the downfall is there are not a lot of scholarships out there for our kids," she shared.

It's something she would like to see grow, to help students like Sean who have hopes and dreams of attending college, just like their peers.

Sean will head to school in just a couple months, and his mom said they have already been out buying some of those necessary supplies for college living.

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Jessica Miles

Copyright 2019 - KSTP-TV, LLC A Hubbard Broadcasting Company


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