Alan Selewa - 2009 Recipient
I became an orphan when I was 12. I had a very unique childhood. I did not receive the same affection that most other children had. I didn't receive a nicely home made bag of lunch for the first day of school. Neither did I have anyone to show the first "A" I received on an assignment. My mother died from colon cancer when I was seven years old, and my father died when I was 12 years old, a year after I emigrated to the U.S. from Iraq.
I have never looked for sympathy, but my circumstances prevented me from having the support I needed during my education. My reluctant sister raised me after my parents passed away, and although she is a good sister, she is indifferent towards education. I believe that most students are motivated by their parents to succeed in the educational process; I was able to get through that difficulty and arrive as the 12th best student in a class of 353.
When it comes to college, I'm on my own. I was accepted to the University of Illinois in Urbana-Champaign and I hope to major in Civil Engineering. Getting money is a problem for me, as it is for most others. I do not want to become another burger-flipper. I have the goal to complete college, have a family, and treat my children the way that my parents were never able to treat me. If I am to go to college, I need money, and this scholarship can provide me with that money.
I am surrounded by people in my house who are indifferent about education. I am the first generation in my family to make it this far in school. I aspire to continue my educational persistence through the upcoming years in my life.
I've been told by many of my companions that if they were in my situation, they wouldn't know what to do. I see many students at Mather who give up on education, give up on pursuing a career, give up on life, and just become hopeless about the future. I'm glad that I didn't do drugs, or anything as extreme as other people who come from broken homes. I see no need to stop being persistent about my education; I see no need to give up when unfortunate events occur; I see no need to lose hope in the future.
I am proud of myself for going through a rough time and not allowing it to affect my education.
Education is a beautiful thing and I will persist with it, for my parents out there, and for myself.