Macy Melton was born without a permanent front tooth. It didn’t bother her much in elementary school, as her friends and classmates were losing baby teeth practically weekly and gladly flashing their gap-tooth smiles for all to see. But as she and her classmates grew and moved on to high school, it became very noticeable that Macy’s smile was lacking. Although she had a retainer with a replacement tooth, she had to take it out at lunchtime, exposing her imperfection to those around her. If kids are cruel, teenagers are ruthless. Macy was often teased and harassed because her smile wasn’t Instagram perfect, so much so that she stopped eating lunch at school, instead opting for a large breakfast and dinner to tide her over. But that didn’t stop the bullies from making fun, going as far as to create a hurtful video about her, complete with a blackened-out front tooth. Through all the teasing, Macy found inner strength and purpose. With her own dental challenges, she has learned a lot about dentistry, compassion, and self-esteem. After eight years of braces and painful oral surgeries, Macy feels like she already has a wealth of knowledge under her belt and deep respect for those working in the field. “I feel like I know all there is to know about teeth,” Macy explained, “but each time I go back for another appointment, I learn something new. Seeing all of the amazing transformations my cosmetic dentist and periodontist have performed makes me very excited to be able to do the same for others one day.” She knows that something as seemingly insignificant as a tooth can dramatically affect self-esteem and well-being. With the help of an exceptional cosmetic dentist, Macy is working toward a brilliant new smile, rebuilding her self-confidence, and setting her sights on a fulfilling career. Macy plans to get her Bachelor’s degree at the University of Missouri, Columbia in Health Sciences, and then specialize in cosmetic dentistry, thanks to a scholarship from the Laura G. Stark Memorial Scholarship Fund. “With the help from my amazing cosmetic dentist, I am regaining my confidence and feeling more comfortable not only in my smile but as a person overall. That is my goal as a dentist, for each and every one of my patients to leave my office feeling more confident and beautiful than they did when they walked in.” Please join us in congratulating Macy and all our scholarship awardees on overcoming challenges to reach for the moon. We are immensity proud of our 2021 scholarship recipients as they move forward with their education and live their dreams. Thank you to all those who have scholarship funds at Truman Heartland Community Foundation, for helping hundreds of students just like Macy achieve their educational goals. If you are interested in helping students obtain higher education and learning more about establishing your own scholarship fund, don’t hesitate to contact Rachael Watkins, Director of Programs and Donor Services, at 816.912.4185 or firstname.lastname@example.org .