Cindy Zheng, a 2019 graduate of Sussex Central High School, received this year’s Don and Nancy Edwards Scholarship through the Delaware Community Foundation.

Zheng was the co-president of Students in Action, was involved in Math League and Health Occupations Students of America, and volunteered for Beebe Hospital, but she balanced her school activities with other obligations most of her fellow students don’t share.

Zheng is the only one in her family fluent in English — her parents and grandfather speak Chinese. At a young age, Zheng began translating for her parents in their restaurant and in day-to-day doings such as visiting the bank. When her grandfather in New York was in the hospital for an extended time, Zheng would travel to visit him and translate for him with the doctors and staff.

Between traveling and translating, Zheng often missed school. Though she worked diligently to make up for her absence, balancing familial obligations and school affected her grades and she was almost unable to complete her junior year of high school. She rebounded during her senior year and was able to graduate with her class in the spring of 2019.

The Don and Nancy Edwards Scholarship is awarded each year to a high school student recommended through the Upward Bound program at the University of Delaware or Delaware Technical Community College, and provides up to $5,000 per year the recipient is enrolled in college.

The Edwardses, who do not have children of their own, wanted to provide young people with an opportunity to get an education they would not have had otherwise. They knew they could not do it independently, so they talked with their financial advisor, who connected them with the DCF.

“We provide the funds, and the DCF does all the work,” said Nancy Edwards. “It’s been a very rewarding experience for us.”

With the Edwards Scholarship, Zheng is attending the University of Delaware and plans to major in biology and psychology.

The DCF awards hundreds of thousands of dollars in scholarships each year, thanks to generous donors who care about education. For more, visit

The application for the 2020-21 Edwards Scholarship is open now, with a deadline of Oct. 31. The general application for all other DCF 2020-21 scholarships will open Dec. 1.