To say Jacob Dillman admires his mom is an understatement.

“My mom never went to college, but my mom has amazing internal strength; she raised my sister and me beautifully,” he explains.

The leader of their party of three, she made sure her children had every opportunity to succeed, especially when it came to education.

Jacob’s mom, Jaclyn Walz encouraged her children to work hard in the classroom and volunteer outside of school. Both volunteered more than 450 hours earning Guilford County Schools Service Learning Diplomas. Jacob helped start a Mock Trial Team at Southwest High School. He also volunteered with Greensboro Parks and Recreation’s Inclusion team eventually landing a job as a counselor working with children with disabilities.

“Seeing their smiles pushes me to give back to my community even more.”

He dreams of doing that through a career in law, which means college.

Jacob’s sister was the first to discover the higher education gem in their backyard. She’s a junior at High Point University.

“When I went to the open house and heard Nido Qubein, everything he said I saw in my sister: growing, new friendships, new opportunities. I knew he was true to his word.”

And Jacob knew he wanted those things too.

“When I got that acceptance letter it was a dream come true,” Jacob remembers.

But he worried about the cost, so he applied for the Say Yes Scholarship. He felt good about his application and interview, and when his admissions’ counselor called with the good news “I sat in the car crying, because my dream had come true.”

Then he shared the news with his hero.

“The smile on her face when I told her that I got the scholarship. We hugged for like 30 minutes, and we both cried. Her dream was to send me to college and mine was to go with a full ride scholarship. I accomplished that.”