Sydney Elizabeth Robbins

Sydney Elizabeth Robbins

The Sydney Elizabeth Robbins Memorial Endowed Scholarship in Education was established in 2019 by her parents to serve as a lasting and meaningful tribute to their daughter’s legacy. The purpose of this scholarship is to offer assistance to Mississippi State students in the College of Education.

Sydney graduated from MSU in May 2018, earning her degree from the College of Education. Upon graduation, she began working as a special education teacher at Poplar Grove Middle School in her hometown of franklin, TN. Ultimately, her goal was to attend graduate school and become a speech pathologist.

Sydney’s desire to teach was inspired by several very special teachers she had during her lifetime, which included her youth minister and many of her college professors. She greatly benefited from these educators and mentors-not just through what they and taught from the textbook, but from the character of these individuals and the compassion they demonstrated for their students. Individuals with positive, encouraging and loving dispositions had a tremendous influence on Sydney and she demonstrated those traits toward others in response. They inspired her to pursue a career where she could have a meaningful impact of the lives of others.

As a young child, Sydney suffered from episodes of Rhabdomyolysis, a condition that caused the body’s muscle mass to break down at an abnormally rapid rate. People who experience an episode of rhabdomyolysis usually have an event that triggers their episode and also the majority of those with an episode experience mild effects followed by a quick recovery. Sydney’s episodes however were sudden, unexplained, and extremely severe. She experienced four of these episodes between the ages of two and five, and then was episode-free for sixteen years. However, in December of 2016, it happened again. She was 21 years old.
She was studied by numerous specialists and countless tests were conducted during her childhood and again after her episode in 2016. While most agreed this was genetically related, none of the testing could ever conclude this assumption and the cause or trigger of her episodes could ever be determined. Additionally, the severity of her episodes and any type of treatment to prevent them was never determined as well. On October 28, 2018, she suffered her last episode which caused her heart to fail.

Sydney never lived in fear of her condition and never complained. Many who knew her weren’t even aware it existed. She had tremendous strength and faith. She always moved forward in life and never deviated from pursuing her goals. Upon her passing, one of the entries from the journal she kept was put on her marker which Is, “Don’t be afraid, just believe.”

Sydney loved Mississippi State. Her time in Starkville was incredible and her feelings towards MSU grew stronger during each of her four years on campus. She visited several schools, but after two visits to Starkville, she knew that MSU was where she belonged. She often talked about how welcoming and friendly that people were, everyone was gracious and accepting. It was exactly what she hoped college would be. She made many friends during her time at school and her family feels blessed that several of them continue to stay in contact with them.

“When we lost Sydney, we immediately knew that she would want something done moving forward that would help others,” her parents said. “It was an easy choice to set this scholarship up. Sydney was inspired to not only just teach but to have a positive impact on a young person’s life. We are thrilled to be able to help any student who is determined to do the same.”