Our 13th season was an amazing opportunity to celebrate 13 very special viewers, all with extremely inspirational stories — in a series we're calling our "Lucky 13."
The inspiring young woman we had the chance to honor on our show today is someone who overcame all odds against her and came out on top.
Corinne is a high school senior from Covington, GA, with a bright future ahead of her. But there was a time when her future wasn't so certain, according to Corinne's mom, Kimya.
8 years ago, Kimya and Corinne were ambushed by Kimya's ex-husband, who shot them both.
"The doctors told our family she wouldn't make it through 24 hours, then she wouldn't make it through 72 hours," Kimya says, "and miraculously, she's learned how to walk, talk, feed herself… all over again. She is just a phenomenon."
"I feel like I was determined, because I just didn't want anybody to be sad anymore," Corinne says. "So I wanted to prove everyone wrong."
When Corinne was 5 years old, she and Kimya would watch Rach's show every day after Corinne got home from kindergarten. That's what inspired her to start cooking.
Corinne has been accepted to Johnson & Wales University, and she received a partial scholarship and grants to start in their baking and pastry arts program.
"Because Johnson & Wales is so prestigious, they're pretty expensive," Kimya says. "What we decided to do — because this is her dream — I set up a GoFundMe to try to raise funds to help Corinne go to school."
We invited Corinne and Kimya to come on our show and meet Rachael. Corinne and Rach made Spaghetti Primavera together, and of course Kimya was the first to have a taste.
Before that, though, Rach let the mother-daughter pair know that their tuition worries were over.
"We've arranged to cover the entire $32,000," Rach says through tears.
Rach's Yum-o! ® organization is giving Corinne a scholarship for $32,000 with the help of their partner, the National Restaurant Association Educational Foundation (NRAEF).
Watch the video above to see Corinne and Kimya's reactions to the incredible news.