Ten-year-old Amariyanna “Mari” Copeny, better known as Little Miss Flint, received quite the surprise this week after she was gifted with a $25,000 scholarship to attend Central Michigan University.
Copeny, whose heartfelt letter helped bring former President Barack Obama to Flint at the height of the ongoing water crisis, was awarded the surprise gift during a visit to the Mt. Pleasant campus on Monday, Nov. 6, MLive reported. CMU president George E. Ross, a Flint native himself, presented the young girl with a four-year, $25,000 scholarship to the university, along with a letter detailing her impact in the city of Flint.
“What? No way!” Copeny exclaimed when Ross handed her the scholarship. The entire surprise was captured on video.
In a letter to the aspiring college student, Ross highlighted Copeny’s efforts to help bring attention to the struggling Flint community, which still doesn’t have clean drinking water. So far, Little Miss Flint has helped raise more than $10,000 in funds for Pack Your Back, a local nonprofit started by CMU grad Galen Miller to provide over 1,000 Flint kids impacted by the water crisis with school supplies.
She also joined other female leaders as she represented her hometown at the Women’s Convention in Detroit last month, according to a university press release.
“I am proud that you are a member of our CMU family and you represent us in such an impressive manner,” Ross wrote. “Mari, your achievements serve as a leadership example to our entire university, this state, the nation and beyond. Thank you for putting your stamp on the world.”
To receive the conditional award, young Copeny must enroll as a degree-seeking student in an eligible program at the university, continuously enroll full time and maintain a minimum GPA of 3.0 during the life of the scholarship, the press release states.
Copeny gained notoriety after penning a letter to then President Obama about her efforts to bring attention to Flint’s crippling water contamination crisis, and extended an invitation for him to visit. Her wish came true after he accepted her invite, and the two finally met in May 2016.