View On Education

Hope through Fire & Ice

The Dixie Foundation Provides Need-based Scholarships for DSU Students

by Hanna Pollock

Doctors told Averie Turpin there was a chance she would be partially deaf for the rest of her life. She had a hearing defect since childhood, and she finally had an ear operation during her freshman year of high school that would either fix her hearing or leave her partially deaf. Fortunately, her hearing made a full recovery after surgery, but the experience fostered her curiosity for the deaf community. In high school, she took classes in American Sign Language (ASL), and  developed a love for the nonverbal language, and decided that was the career path she would choose.

Turpin’s plan to attend college came crashing down when she found out she was pregnant after high school graduation and became a mom at the age of 19. She had no funds to cover tuition and the expense of raising a child. She was able to attend Dixie State University for a short time while her mother worked there, but once her mother left, she was faced with costs she couldn’t cover.

“I had no choice but to drop out, really,” Turpin said. “I couldn’t afford to pay for school and support my kids with the number of hours I would have to work.” Turpin heard about the Fire & Ice Scholarship, a need-based award given to DSU students, just before she was going to withdraw from school.

Averie Turpin

Once a year, The Dixie Foundation, a 501(c)(3) nonprofit foundation that exists to support DSU and education, holds a themed formal gala to fundraise for students who would not otherwise be able to complete their schooling because of financial constraints. She did some research, found she met all the qualifications, and then, with nothing to lose, applied.

The Fire & Ice Scholarship made it possible to keep going,” she said.

Turpin is currently pursuing a degree in communication with an American Sign Language minor because of the scholarship she received, and she plans on working in a school district to help children who are in need of an interpreter after graduation in May. She and her three daughters do homework together every night, and she said the Fire & Ice Scholarship made her academic dreams possible. At this year’s scholarship luncheon, she was able to meet with some of the Fire & Ice donors and event organizers who pushed her closer to her life goals.

“It’s great to be a part of this community and foundation that gives back,” Fire & Ice Chair Ronda Neilson said. “It helps so many people every year.”

Fire & Ice gala attendees come in black-tie apparel and are served fine dining during the themed event, all while a silent and live auction take place. Smaller items, like gift certificates or household items, are placed in the silent auction, while larger items, like golf packages and getaways, go in the live auction.

The 14th Annual Fire & Ice Gala will be held on March 2, 2018, in the M. Anthony Burns Arena on the DSU campus. Supporters can either attend the gala for $150 a person or sponsor an entire table. The Dixie Foundation and Fire & Ice participants have helped thousands of students by giving auction proceeds to need-based scholarships at DSU.

“This gala helps hundreds of students every year,” Neilson said. “It’s a great event that helps students in need.”

To purchase tickets to the Fire & Ice Gala, visit


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