Grand Rapids Graduate Wins Scholarship from Everest Institute

For Grand Rapids resident Dione Ford, family has always come first.  Ford dropped out of high school when she became pregnant at 17, and like many teen mothers, a further education and the career opportunities that it opens just didn’t seem to be in the cards.  Almost 20 years later, , a spur-of-the-moment decision to visit Everest Institute with a friend changed her outlook completely.

After raising her children, Ford decided it was time to take care of herself. Ford enrolled at the Everest Institute-Grand Rapids campus the very same day as her visit to pursue both her GED and a diploma from the medical assistant program simultaneously.  

Ford remained diligent in her studies – even when a major family tragedy struck – and for her perseverance and dedication, Everest Institute-Grand Rapids is honoring her with the 2011 Dream Award. The award recognizes one graduate who has completed a post-secondary education while overcoming extraordinary challenges. 

Shortly after beginning her studies, Ford’s nephew was struck and killed by a motor vehicle.  Despite the immense toll his death took on her family, Ford stuck to her goal and persevered through her studies.  Within 90 days of beginning her program, she finally earned her GED – something that eluded her for nearly 20 years.  

Ford approached the remainder of her program with the same hard work and persistence, earning a 3.43 GPA and securing four potential sites to complete the externship portion of her program.  Ford was hired from her externship with Dr. Robert Roberts in Grand Rapids Charter Township – his office’s first new hire in approximately six years. 

She is currently employed by both Dr. Robert Roberts and Grand Rapids Women’s Health.  In her spare time, Ford volunteers at her children’s school, and actively works with the Grand Rapids Public School board on various campaigns in her community. 

“Dione never gave up in the face of her challenges,” said Ruth Stewart, president at Everest Institute-Grand Rapids. “She’s a shining example that it’s never too late to make a positive change for your  life, and we wish her continued success in fulfilling her education and career goals.” 

As a Dream Award winner, Robinson will receive a $2,500 Everest scholarship to pursue further education.

About Everest Institute

Everest Institute has five Michigan campuses located in Kalamazoo, Detroit, Dearborn, Southfield and Grand Rapids.

Everest Institute in Michigan provides career-oriented diploma programs in the health care, technology and business fields. Programs vary by campus. Everest has more than 100 schools in the U.S. and Canada, and is owned by Corinthian Colleges, Inc., one of the largest post-secondary education companies in North America.  For more information, visit For more information about our graduation rates, the median debt of students who completed the program and other important information, please visit our website at