Scholarship Essay

July 24, 2013
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Dear Scholarship Committee Members,

Throughout my high school career, I have devoted myself to rigorous coursework, filling my attitude with positivity and using my intellect to excel. Life's endeavors have taught me that nothing can be taken for granted; I value my education at a personal level. As a child I did not have the benefit of a wealthy family. I have watched depression consume my mother as she struggled to make ends meet. Though, my recent hardships may bind me—I must not allow my past to define my future. Instead, I wish to find myself in gaining a respected level of intelligence.

As a teen, I have acquired a level of maturity that has allowed me to understand the financial afflictions my single mother must endure. With little neither financial nor emotional support from my father, supporting my sister and I has been a difficult road for her. Before the age of sixteen I was a caretaker for children. By taking on this role, I was able to afford my own clothes and necessities. This partially relieved my mother’s financial stress. Upon turning sixteen I applied for my first part-time job and have been employed thereafter. My finances have been essential to maintaining my personal needs, which has made it difficult to save money.

During the recent recession, my mother lost her job due to payroll cuts. This dramatic loss made it nearly impossible for her to keep up with the mortgage and maintain other bills necessary for our home. Last year, we received a foreclosure notice due to a bankruptcy that had remained continuous over the two years prior. The emotional trauma of a set date that would soon determine the status of our residence took a toll of despair over my household. As a junior in high school, I was distraught. I was forced to face the academic endeavors of the most important year of my secondary education; as well as the emotional turmoil associated with losing my home. I have come to terms with the reality that my educational success is the only thing that will change my life.

With this understanding, I have found an inspiring light in education— my intellectual success will allow me to reach my dreams. I am motivated by my financial standstill and the dilemmas I have faced throughout my lifetime. I have learned to: face my issues head-on, make the best out of the worst situations, and realize that the most powerful strength is a smile that has the ability to cover up tears.

My intellectual talents will enable me to maintain a singular focus on my goals. On a basis of the knowledge that my education will allow me to prosper, I aspire to quickly advance in my fields of interest. Next year, I intend to pursue a degree in English and a double-major in Pre-Law studies. Our legal system is a flawed one; it sometimes allows criminals to slip through the cracks and leads innocent men to conviction. Personally, I have witnessed this happen to my very own father. He was tried for a crime that he did not commit and sent to jail during my sophomore year in high school. Without receiving a fair trial, my father was released from jail because there was no evidence to detain him. I admit this has been a major emotional trauma for me. At such a young age, I knew that not only had my father rarely been in my life but I was lead to believe he would never be in it again.

With hard work and motivation, I hope become a lawyer that changes the likelihood of such situations in our legal system. My goal in law enforcement is to utilize my persuasive and general writing skills in the court room. However, if throughout my educational path I decide to change my mind— I then intend to receive a doctorate in English and pursue a career as a college professor and author. I understand that I may have insufficient funds to achieve these goals. However, I will do everything in my power to achieve them. I understand that college is expensive, as is law school, but I have learned to believe that success is possible no matter the restraint.

Life’s lessons have made it necessary for me to acquire a creative outlet. Writing is essentially my light at the end of the tunnel. I have fallen in love with the craft of eloquence, and developed a strong passion for words. I have always been an extremely passionate writer and I wish to someday compose a novel.

I have contributed works to my school’s teen issues magazine Unlearn throughout my high school career. During the course of my Junior and Senior year I became editor of the magazine. Unlearn is Bunnell’s student-submission magazine for aspiring authors, writers, and students who have experienced and or know someone who has experienced hardships. The purpose of Unlearn is to educate students about the harmful behaviors our society exhibits in hopes to alter that stereotype. Hate, crime, disrespect, racism and bullying are not to be condoned or tolerated in any form. Unlearn’s message promotes that members of society should “un-learn” unkind acts and live civilly and peacefully with one another. Unlearn hopes to comfort those who are victims of cruelty. As well as, inspire those who read Unlearn to consider all sides of an issue before making any faulty decisions. As editor I am responsible for: the revision of student-submissions, the correction of grammatical and fluency errors, formatting and layout, and the spread of school-wide awareness about Unlearn.

Experience has led me to understand the extent of world poverty. As a sophomore, I had the opportunity to build a school for children in a third world country. I remember the: dirt floors, tin bucket showers and outdoor latrines. I stood in La Chimpanilla, Nicaragua, a microcosm of the truth about worldwide poverty – a village with beautiful faces, anxious smiles, and welcoming arms. Each moment assimilated in my eyes: mothers, fathers, sisters and brothers, elders, children, and babies; a family and a community as one. Hundreds of eyes looked up to me, and I knew I could not disappoint them.

Cerulean skies down to mountain peaks, banana trees to sugar cane, coffee plants and black beans; vast beauty swallowed me whole, as one small village became an entire new world to me. I had come to La Chimpanilla with my fellow “buildOn” members to give a future for those children – a future each and every one of them rightfully deserves regardless of gender or age. A future no amount of money can buy; a priceless education. This community was now my family, no matter the color of their skin or the language they spoke, I adapted. A family of assorted colors, accents, and origins – yet a family all the same. Together we put forth our most astounding effort to build La Chimpanilla a school.

Love introduced me to an intrinsic source of passion, pleasure, and valued work. In return that love challenged my strength and perseverance; but soon it granted me the power to change lives. This school held the key that unlocked the poverty that chained them, and I had to help set them free.

La Chimpanilla transformed my outlook on the world, to a place outside the boundaries of the USA. Acculturation overcame my limitations– a place that had once been a dot on the map became an entire macrocosm.

Nicaragua gave me a second mother, another grandmother, and three brothers who loved me unconditionally as their own. I can only wonder how they’re doing now: Mama cooking handmade tortillas, or grinding coffee beans by the counter. Maybe Brayan, the oldest, is going off to get married– he’s fourteen now. Diedier, the middle child, practicing his times tables or graciously playing the accordion I brought him. Jener, the youngest still playfully cheating during his favorite card games, “Rapido” and “Voy a Pescar” – We taught him how to play, not how to cheat. No matter how often I wonder, at heart I know the school we built is building their futures one day at a time.

Nicaragua is a piece of me that no one can ever take away; the value of love. Love that formed its own entity, and allowed me to understand that no matter the language, communication is beyond words. Nicaragua became a second home to me. Today, an airplane ride separates me from that home, but my heart has never left.

This scholarship will give me the ability to learn and prosper at the university I desire to attend. This scholarship will impact my life on a level that I cannot even describe. Two years ago I had the chance to build a school for children who otherwise would be without an education; this year I hope to be seen as an honorable candidate to receive a scholarship to further mine.

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