BRIDGEWATER, NJ - Watchung Hills Regional High School senior Sophia Kider received the Power of a Smile Award from Bridgewater-based Sanford Orthodontics.

In 2005, according to a release, orthodontist Robert L. Sanford created an essay-based college scholarship fund to help students with the costs of higher education. The requirement is for applicants to write an essay or poem about the power of a smile.

Kider was the winner this year. An aspiring actress, the release said, Kider gained confidence after having her braces removed and seeing her new headshot without the braces.

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Kider said it was easier to go on more auditions because she had a smile she felt great about.

The award, Kider said, will go toward her education at Coastal Carolina University, where she will begin classes in the fall.

"In an effort to show appreciation and give back to the community that has supported my practice, I established a scholarship award for a graduating senior who had been a patient in my practice," Sanford said in the release. "It is my way of saying thank you to the community."