'Chewbacca mom' awarded scholarships for family

Posted at 10:02 AM, Jun 01, 2016
and last updated 2016-06-01 19:42:52-04
A simple cellphone video in the front seat of her car has brought Candace Payne, a.k.a. Chewbacca Mom, unexpected levels of fame and adoration.
Now a Polk County university is giving her family full tuition.
Southeastern University, a private Christian school in Lakeland, announced it’s paying for school for not only her two children but also her husband. The school filmed her reaction in a video of Payne touring the campus.
“How about I make this the best tour ever?” the school’s Dr. Kent Ingle tells Payne in the video. “Since you’ve been bringing joy and laughter and great inspiration to a lot of people around the world, here at Southeastern we want to do that for you. Our gift to you is to provide you and your family full, tuition-free scholarships.”
Payne was vacationing in Florida this week from her family’s home in Grand Praire, Texas. The “Star Wars” fan became an overnight star last month after she posted a video on Facebook of herself in a Chewbacca mask, laughing herself to tears.
In an announcement about the scholarship, says Payne has a connection to the school through her home church of Oaks Fellowship in Red Oaks, Texas. The founder and former leader of The Oaks School of Leadership at the church is now Southeastern’s vice president of strategic partnership.
“This is such an amazing gift to our family, I’m blown away,” Payne said. “I mean, my kids’ college is paid for!”