Growing up my family and I were very involved in our church. Since before I was born, my father was a pastor and my mother always had a strong desire to teach. This being the case, education was a high value in our family. I attended a small private school where my mom taught 6th grade Math and Science. When I was eight years old, my family and I moved to Denton, Texas because my parents committed to start a new church close to the local university. Of course, it was difficult to move away from friends and family in my hometown, but there was a level of excitement to the new family adventure. Adjustment was definitely a challenge but we soon developed meaningful friendships with neighbors that last to this day. In fact, some of those friendships would be the ones who would soon become deeply important in my life. 

One normal afternoon while at the park with friends, I noticed an ambulance loudly rush right by us the park and turn onto my street. I was curious as to why there was an ambulance driving down my street because this was uncommon in our quiet neighborhood. I didn’t think much of it. That was until a friend came running toward me at the park to tell me that the ambulance was in front of my house. Her words sounded like an echo. Suddenly my mind went back to earlier in the afternoon when my mom complained about not feeling so well.  I went upstairs to bring her a cheese stick to try and cheer her up. She just smiled and said, “no, thank you” and then said, “I love you” as she went to lay down for a nap in hopes of feeling better. What I didn’t know then was that my mom would never wake up from that nap. 

My mom, who was a very healthy woman, experienced cardiac arrest as a result of a seizure. This was a lifelong medical issue that she easily managed with medication. Never before had a seizure been this severe. She was rushed to our local hospital and there, after 5 days in the ICU she passed away. That whole week my mom was in the hospital was one of the hardest weeks I have ever lived through. I wasn’t able to see my mom and my dad was at the hospital all week by my mom’s side. 

I will never forget  August 30th, 2010. I woke up that morning so excited because I had a feeling that I would see my mom. All throughout the day, we prepared for her to come home and drew pictures, wrote stories, and even made a dessert to celebrate. Later that afternoon when my dad walked through the door I knew something was wrong. I remember yelling at my dad “don’t tell me mommy’s dead”.  He sat me and my sisters down and told us the saddest words we had ever heard.The pain I felt after losing my mom was something I had never experienced before. I felt abandoned by goodness and by God, and at times, incredibly hopeless. My mind was filled with questions like “how could someone who loved and served God so well be taken away from her family, especially when I need her”? Losing someone at such a young age really pushes a person into growth and maturity, especially when it’s not welcomed. I had to learn how to cope with feelings of grief and try to be a good role model for my sisters who were going through the same thing and would look to me for answers.

 After my mom died my dad had to work a lot more and had to find a new job in order to better provide for our family. This was tough because I wasn’t able to have my dad around as much as I wanted to. Throughout my childhood, my parents struggled financially mostly because of their chosen profession of service and ministry to others. They provided a great home and established a value system in our lives that will always serve to guide us well. Very practically though, they were not able to save for things such as our future education or pay for life insurance. After my mom died, additional expenses piled up. My dad could no longer rely on a small income and entered into other jobs that allowed him to make more money and provide for our family. The absence of life insurance was really difficult for my family. With the additional financial stress of funeral expenses and a single-parent home, my dad was not able to start a college fund or save for any future education for us. I certainly think that if my mom did have life insurance my dad would have had the option of starting a college fund for us three girls. 

I am planning on furthering my education at Dallas Baptist University later this year for the upcoming fall semester. The reason why I am choosing to attend Dallas Baptist University is that I love the student community life and the focus on not only education but faith as well. DBU offers one of the best education programs in the country with the majority of students recruited to the school districts of their choosing. I plan to major in elementary education with a minor in special education in hopes of becoming a teacher. I have wanted to be a teacher since I was a little girl. I love working with kids and being able to help educate others. It makes me feel incredibly happy when I help someone and I am able to see the joy on their faces when they accomplish something they worked hard towards. At the beginning of this year, I was given the opportunity to help in a special education class at a local elementary school. While in that class I was able to learn firsthand just how important and impactful a teacher’s job really often is in the lives of the students in their classroom. Even if, at times, their effort went unnoticed by the students, I heard the teachers I helped describe how rewarded they felt by watching a student grow and develop a little more into who they will be in life. . 

I greatly appreciate being considered for the Huntley Wealth scholarship. My goal is to achieve an excellent education that prepares me to be a teacher but also shapes my worldview based on the values instilled in me by my parents. To make this happen, I hope to cover nearly all of my college costs through scholarships, community leadership efforts, and merit and academic funding to avoid student debt as I start my life as a teacher. I would be so happy and appreciative to receive this scholarship and am just very grateful for the opportunity to apply!