Asha Paul is a Childhood Cancer Survivor!

 

Having been so young during my treatment, I never realized the seriousness of cancer. I have never understood the wide-mouth stares or gasps after having told someone about my past experience, and I have definitely never saw it as an urgent, life-threatening obstacle. I remember my cancer treatment as a few (happy and sad) months I got to live and travel through a hospital floors, halls, and suites. Nevertheless, there were difficult moments, tearful mornings, and low spirits, but they have all impacted me in a positive way.

 
Having had cancer, when I did, has affected my life in such a way that few other events can. When I was 5, I never thought about death, the outcomes, or survival during my medical obstacle, nor does any child. I did not focus on the negativities or the final result, and I have kept this same mind set throughout my life. I feel like I am able to think far more easily and confidently during difficult situations than other people. Whenever there is a test at school, I stay calm and relaxed. I do not see the purpose in panicking and excessively worrying about the score I will receive. And, because I can do this, I am able to concentrate and work effectively. And, that is why I know I will succeed in college. It is no hidden knowledge that there will be hardships and difficulties throughout college, or anywhere in life. But, because I have the experience of remaining collected, concentrated, and unfazed during difficult, life-changing
situations, I know I will be able to do the same in college. It is not the obstacle that defines me, but how I feel about it and the actions I choose to take.

 
Cancer has also taught me to enjoy the experience rather than the outcome. When I was sitting in my hospital room, I was not thinking about when this process would be over or about what I would do after I completed my treatment. Instead, I was enjoying the time I had with my mother and the moments I spent playing, joking, and living with friends. As for my career, my experience with cancer has made me want to pursue a profession in which I can travel, speak a foreign language, and experience other cultures. When I had cancer I was able to meet people from different parts of the country and from abroad, and I participated in cancer programs where I got to travel within my own state and to other states. I love being with new people and experiencing new places. I have met many types of people,
with different experiences, different languages, different dreams, and different occupations. My encounter with cancer has shown me that I want these types of experiences of to be a part of my career.

 
Cancer has definitely affected my life values and career goals. I live for entertainment and happiness, not for worry or anxiety. I enjoy taking the time to travel, meet people, and learn about their own experiences, lifestyle, and dreams. My experience with cancer has taught me that life is fascinating, so I should enjoy every moment I have with it.

 

 

-Asha Paul

 

My Childhood Cancer Life Lessons

 

April 24, 2012 was a day that redefined my life. It was on that day I received the news that I had Cancer. The Cancer that chose me was Hodgkin’s Lymphoma. And at a time when most of my friend and classmates were looking forward to proms and summer at the beach, I was about to face the biggest challenge of my life with the prospect of surgeries, chemotherapy and radiation treatments. But what started as hardship or misfortune has actually become a blessing, one that has changed my life and strengthened my faith more than ever.

 
During my journey I met some of the most inspirational cancer patients, survivors, family members and medical professional who supported and encouraged me and my family throughout my ordeal. Their strength, dedication and faith in god provided us with the thing we needed the most – hope. And although my illness kept me from realizing some academic goals and athletic aspirations I had set for myself during my high school career, it taught me some valuable life lessons such as humility, dignity and faith .. I believe that as obstacles and challenges surface throughout one’s life, and plans are somehow disrupted or altered, other opportunities present themselves through gods will and opened up possibilities that can be equally satisfying and rewarding.

 

I consider myself lucky and truly blessed to be a cancer survivor. I have been in remission for over a year now however I realize that there is always a possibility that it may return. Last fall as a matter of fact I located several swollen lymph nodes which gave me a brief scare. Prior to the visit with my Oncologist I told myself that if the Hodgkin’s did return, I will fight it the same way I fought it the first time, with faith and tenacity. Luckily it was a false alarm and I have remained healthy ever since.

 
While in treatment, I made a promise to myself that when and if I was on the road to recovery, I would dedicate myself to living a healthier lifestyle and giving back to the people, organizations, schools and churches that stepped up to help me and my family when we needed it most. With regard to my first promise, I am convinced that more than ever that diet and exercise are critical components in maintaining good health and a positive outlook on life
in general. I believe that what we consume each day has a direct impact of our short term and long term health. I carefully prepare each meal every day and have become a role model for friends and classmates with regard to healthy eating. Since regaining my strength after my treatments, I have also focused a lot of time and effort on exercise as well. I participate in a “Cross-Fit” regimen daily, running and weight training. And I am most happy that in my senior year, I am finally able to be a contributing member of my high school lacrosse team once again.

 
During my illness, there were so my people, churches and organizations who reached out to me for support. Many were people I hardly knew or did not know at all. But over the course of my ordeal, I developed a close bond with many of them. Their energy, faith and selflessness was infectious and something to be emulated and admired. In fact, I stayed in touch with a student volunteers at the Lighthouse Cancer Retreat I attended two summers ago
who will be my roommate next year when we go away to college. My goal is to do what I can to repay some of the kindness and effort through service and volunteerism.

 
I am so excited to have been accepted to attend the University of Arizona next fall. I feel it is the right choice for me as I enter the next chapter of my academic career. And although I am currently uncommitted to a major, I am leaning towards a concentration in Pre-Law. The legal profession is something I have always been interested in, and I would certainly pursue a law degree if I choose that field as my focus. Working for a non-profit organization as a
lawyer would provide me with an excellent opportunity to work in an interesting profession as well as giving back in some small way to worthwhile organizations. The Faith, Hope, and Love Jesus Scholarship would provide me much needed financial support towards achieving my college goals.

 
I am excited about starting the next chapter of my academic career healthy and with a new outlook life. I hope what I’ve learned and experienced over the last 4 years will help prepare me for what’s ahead of me. I appreciate the Faith, Hope, and Love Jesus Foundations’ consideration of me as a candidate for the award and look forward to a positive response from the selection committee.

 

 

-McKenzie Casal

 

 

This is Alyssa Knecht’s Story

 

Life is very precious and should never be taken for granted. I was forced to learn this at a very young age. Additionally, how we choose to live defines our character. I now know that obstacles are meant to  be overcome, but also that nothing in life is certain, including our own mortality.

 

 

I was first diagnosed with a malignant osteosarcoma in my lower leg bone at age nine.  After two subsequent surgeries to remove the recurring tumor, I was faced with a truly devastating prognosis at age twelve. The cancer had spread into soft tissue, and the most aggressive of actions was necessary to save my life. After many agonizing discussions with the medical staff and my family, I agreed with the recommendation to amputate my right leg above the knee on May 17 , 2011 . I completed 2I rounds of chemotherapy lasting nearly 1 1 months with significant permanent hearing loss, and endured the dreaded physical transformation of the chemotherapy drugs, all at the tender age of twelve. However, the lasting challenges still lay ahead.

 

 

While the decision to amputate was the most aggressive, preventive action available, it clearly was not a guarantee that the cancer would not return. Although I was educated on the forever impact of walking  with a prosthetic and the associated limitations I would face, I did not completely grasp the emotional unforeseen difficulties. However, I was no quitter. I was strong in my faith, and I had ambitions and goals for myself. Looking back, I know I made the right decision, but I still find it hard to grasp how my twelve year old self made a decision that would forever change my life.

 

 

Through my physical struggles I faced daily with the cancer, I persevered and was able to maintain top marks throughout my treatments. After treatment, I chose to enroll in the International Baccalaureate program to prepare me for a college experience that will help me attain my ultimate goals in life. I was not going to let my experience with cancer stop me from reaching my highest potential. I am very proud to have consistently applied myself to achieve not only top academic results, but equally importantly to give back to my local community as well as to the hospital where I received my treatments.

 

 

I am President of my school’s Key Club chapter; I’m actively involved in NHS; I am a member of National Art Honor Society; and I am an active Team Leader in our school’s Link Crew, which pairs upperclassmen and freshmen together to help them navigate their first year of high school. My involvement in these organizations allows me to be able to give back to those in need, which is something I believe very strongly in, since many kind people were so loving and generous to me and my family when I was in the hospital.

 

 

As a result of my experiences, I realize that it is important to evaluate priorities, to press ahead, and to give back to my community. I believe that I have grown more resilient and determined to accept new challenges.  All of these hardships I faced have made me a stronger person, and I cannot wait to see what my future will bring.

 

 

My struggle with cancer has allowed me to be more appreciative of the life I have. Going through a time where the future is uncertain is very difficult, but it also creates an open mind.  Now, I try not to take any days for granted. I enjoy spending time with my friends and family, and I treat new experiences like the are my last, because now I know what it is like to be unsure of what tomorrow will bring.

 

 

Today, I am cancer free and a cancer survivor! My career ambition is to become a doctor with particular emphasis on pediatrics and oncology. I wish to apply my personal experiences towards treating and helping others overcome similar medical challenges. As Jimmy Valvano famously said near the end of his cancer battle; “never give up, don’t ever give up”. Well, I have not and will not, and I look forward to ultimately leaving a lasting legacy.

 

-Alyssa

 

Why I am the greatest of all time

 
“We have bad news for you Mrs. Fuentes,” said the doctor as he walked into the room.  “Oh God, please tell me what is wrong with my daughter!” exclaimed my mother and he said, I am sorry to inform you that Norma has cancer and the tumor has formed on her left kidney and it is starting to spread to her lung as well.” I had never seen my mother cry that much as I did that day when she received that devastating news. I was only five years of age, when the doctors diagnosed me with the life threatening Wilms Tumor that was located on my left kidney. Doctor Williams said that I would have to go through extensive treatments that would include chemotherapy and radiation. Doctor Williams told us the effects that the treatments would have on me, both physical and mental.

 

The whole year when I battled cancer, it was the most difficult moment of my life. Even though I was very young and unaware of what was happening to me at that point in time, I was determined to fight for my life and get back to my regular self.  Doctor Williams took me to the room where most of my treatments would be taking place. He said the first part of my three-step treatment would be radiation. Sadly, the radiation did not completely kill the cancer off. He said we would have to move on to our next, which was chemotherapy. The chemotherapy would not kill the cancer cells but ultimately it would slow their growth down and hopefully get the tumor small enough to get it surgically removed.

 

After extensive treatments, the tumor was finally small enough to get it surgically removed. Doctor Williams, wearing his sky blue scrubs, took me to a dark room and sat me on a long white table that was illuminated by a huge light hovering over the table like a flying saucer. The surgical procedure went flawless.  The treatments had multiple effects on me physically and mentally. I remember the feeling walking down the blank white halls with Doctor Williams by my side, my mind unlike the walls that enclosed me were not blank but very much alive with a mixture of adrenaline and nervousness. After my first radiation treatment, I could feel a change within me but I could not put my finger on it. After a few other treatments of chemotherapy, I looked at myself in the mirror, I could tell I was no longer Norma Fuentes but someone new someone who was relentless and would not give up. The treatments changed the way I would think for the rest of my life. Even though my hair was falling out this did not discourage me from continuing to fight because physical appearances does not define whom you are on the inside.

 

“Norma wake up,” my mother exclaimed as she whispered in my ear. As soon as I came to my senses, I felt a sense of relief and courageousness because I did not give up on myself and had I faith that it would end well. Thanks to the treatments I received, it changed the way I viewed difficult circumstances I faced in life and it helped me become the strong and persistent person I am today. I realized that life is only beautiful if you live for the moment and not for the future.

 

 

-Norma Fuentes

 

 

Dear Young Rayna,

 

 

Dear young Rayna,

 
I have always wanted to tell you what an inspiration you are; you live with that childlike wonder and joy that leaves one begging for more; more of your laughter, hope, and imagination.Through your magical eyes, you see the world and its possibilities. Its dreams and potentials. I see tomorrows inside of tomorrows. You peel away, you dig ceaselessly at all the illusions and fill life with the presence of the beauty of miracles- the miracles of breathing,
seeing, feeling, tasting, touching, imagining. The miraculous feeling of a heart-felt connection to myself, others, and nature. It is in the way you talk, walk, reflect, and even in the way you say hello.

 
Even when the world seems harsh, you see the beauty in it. Because there is beauty, in what is unpleasant, dark, uncomfortable, and tragic.It is a kind of beauty that makes me pause and consider how fragile life is; how valuable EVERY SECOND of breath is; it is a beauty that welcomes and invites what is best in us, to challenge our resolve and potential to be more; to feel with all of our heart historic past, present and future as one living being and reality. You
have taught me to see that it is in struggle, pain, and the darkness of anxiety that the light beckons and shines brightest. It is said, “To a soul that is hungry even the bitter is sweet.” This is what I see, this is what you have inspired me to see, this is what I want to see forever. It is a vision of health, hope, truth , love, and eternity. What a gift you have given me. I feel like knowing you is to know A magic well – the more you take from it the more there is to take!!! In this case the more you give the more there is to give. Your spirit replenishes itself. The more you live the more there is to life.

 
With you nothing is accidental. On the contrary you perceive everything as a gift that needs your attention and care. In my eyes, your spirit seems to aim for new skies on the bow of life, as it flies like arrows with dreams through targets to teach something. And what I have learned is you turn struggles into triumphs for all of us. You prove everyday well lived embraces a lifetime of hope.   You are my immortal friend, the core of all honest whispers, and like a red soaked rose you find spring in every season. The butterflies will find this rose and pollinate life in a way that the imagination becomes a mansion of healthy wonder and novelty. This is one of the wonders of life- to awaken every day being receptive to the idea that we are visited by God’s mysteries, that we are to be metaphorically pollinated by all of the wonders of the stars. Our every breath is a wonder that connects us to the winds and the breezes of all the migration routes that lead to peace and love. This is what I admire most about you, and like the wind it continues to flow carrying surprises and beauty for many more tomorrows.

 

 

-Rayna Mehta

 

 

Dear Cancer Patient,

 

 

For my essay topic I decided to do it in the format of a letter to another person struggling with cancer. This letter serves as my story as well as my advice to others battling an illness.

 
Dear Cancer Patient,

 
I know what you’re going through. I have sat in the same spot that you are sitting in right now. The same white walls of the same room that you are confined to. I’ve been an inmate at the prison that you are now living in that they call a hospital. I’ve been through the same pain and struggle that you are enduring right now. So since I have lived through it, this is the advice I can give to you.

 
# I . Do not let cancer waste Your time.
#2.Do not let cancer change who you are.
#3. Do not let cancer win.

 
From my experience with cancer, I have learned many lessons about how to cope when fighting this disease. To explain, I’m going to have to tell you about my story.

 
1. I used my sickness as an excuse to submit to my weakness. After my surgery when my cancer tumor was removed, I was in a lot of pain. I suffered nerve damage from my waist down which affected my walking ability. I had severe back pain and I was bedridden for weeks. As time went on, I got so weak from laying in bed all day every day. I lost 40 lbs in muscle. I was easily fatigued and simple tasks became chores. I could barely stand up for more that 15 seconds without feeling winded and wanting to just lay back down and go to sleep. As I lost my muscles I lost my desire to do anything. All I wanted to do was rest. I did not befriend any of the patients on my cancer floor, I did not want to leave my room. I decided to stay hidden and sulk.

 

 
2. While I was sick, all I could do was focus on the pain and the sadness. I got sick of being confined to the hospital. I was tired of being woken up every night and never getting more than a few hours of sleep because the nurses had to check my vitals. Oh the nurses. I felt so bad for them. At one stage of any sickness I had really become fed up with everyone that I had gotten so snippy and impatient with people. Every little thing that they did frustrated me and at that point I didn’t care enough to put on a smile and be kind. This was alarming to anyone that knew me personally because acting out like this to other people was against my character.

 

 

 

I used to be patient and kind to others. I always had the mindset that I should reach out to people with happiness. But now I had no energy to be happy for others if I didn’t feel happy on the inside. I treated my family horribly. I blew up at them for forcing me to do things that I didn’t want to do, even though they were doing it for my own good. They sacrificed so much for me and I rarely even thought about thanking them. I became selfish in this sense. I pushed away my friends at school. i stopped responding to people’s messages on social media, I wouldn’t let people visit me anymore. I isolated myself, because of my insecurities and because of self pity. I was honestly pathetic.

 

 
3. The depression all started when I lost my hair. I remember the day like it was yesterday. i was sitting on my bed surrounded by my mom and friends and I was trying on hats with a fake smile on my face. And suddenly I looked at what I was doing and realized that I had no hair. I was bald, I had lost a part of myself. So in that moment I broke down. I got angry and cried because I hated the hats. I was so insecure about my bare head. When I looked in the mirror I felt almost naked and vulnerable. So under no circumstances did I let anyone look at my bare head. Not even my parents. I felt ashamed of not having hair. I had no confidence in myself and that’s the first way in which I failed. The depression only grew from there. I’d find myself having fits of tears, just sobbing over how I hated myself and the life that I was living. I wanted to give up. I was so blind.

 

 

 

You see this whole story is one in which I am not proud of. My journey through cancer although a battle I physically won, was a war that I mentally lost. With my cancer I got through it because of the amazing people around me that did not rest or breath a clear breath until I was in that hall at Children’s Hospital ringing that golden survivor bell. But on my part I had epiclly failed. I let cancer kick my butt more than I should have allowed it. So now that you are where I was 3 years ago, please take my words to heart.

 

 

Make the most of your time while you have this chance to do what you couldn’t when you were busier. Write a book, a song, learn a new language, do anything that you dreamed of doing when you wished you had more free time to let
your creativity be the most important thing. Next, don’t let cancer darken your heart. Let cancer bring out the positively and strength in you. Let your true light shine through . Do not allow it to make you cold. And finally, do not let cancer control you and make you lose hope. There is a difference between getting through it and conquering it. Conquer cancer with your head held high. I believe that everything happens for a reason. So cancer is the time to shape you into a stronger human being and prepare you to appreciate life and live it to the fullest.

 

 
Your friend, Faith

 

 

 

Music By Kyla McDougall

 

“A handful of moments, I wished I could change, and a tongue like a nightmare, that cut like a blade.” I sat in my hospital room hooked up to an IV. The dripping of my chemo was matching the beat of the song. The nurse walked in the room to check my vitals. I gave her a gracious smile. “Are you in any pain?” she asked. “No, I’m fine.” I replied, even though I was hurting, but the pain I was feeling wouldn’t be numbed by any pain killers.While listening to these lyrics, I realized music isn’t just about the beats and guitar solos. When artists write these songs they are trying to express what they feel in the only way they know how, music. Music is the passageway to the soul. When you listen to the song, you are actually listening to the writer’s soul. The music was the only thing that could numb my pain.

 
Being able to express one’s self is a very important thing. When people keep their feelings bottled inside it can become a problem by causing depression, anxiety, and suicidal thoughts. What most people don’t realize is that music can help save a person’s life. Whether it is because they wrote down some lyrics or listened to a song that relates to their situation, it helps express what they want to say.

 
The song “Therapy” by All Time Low made me realize I need to express myself because if I didn’t I would end up afraid of telling people my opinions. I started listening to more music and trying to figure out the meaning behind them. There are so many life lessons in music and I wanted to learn them all. I began to become a better person because of what the music was teaching me. I found myself more joyful through listening to the music.

 
Music can help people in so many ways and it has the benefit of letting them do it creatively. I want to help people. I don’t want to be the doctor who saves a life by giving a transplant though. I want to help people the way the music helped me. It helped make me feel more alive when I felt dead inside. I want to help create music that heals the soul.

 

 

My Background Story

 

What is the point of life if it’s not at its fullest potential?  Everything should only be done to its fullest because if it’s not, then there is not a point in doing it.  I learned this through my experience of when I fought through my cancer treatments.  It was an experience in which I learned and in which I changed and one that I cannot forget.

 

During my sophomore year in high school it was discovered that I had cancer and would need three rounds of chemo therapy.  At the time my family and I received this news, I was concerned with missing the upcoming soccer season, and little did I know what this diagnosis would bring.  Soon after the problem was discovered, a surgery was performed to remove the tumor.  The decision that I would need chemo therapy came soon after the surgery to ensure the cancer was surely gone.

 

Various testing began such as X-rays, CT scans, blood work, breathing tests, and even hearing tests.  The chemo started soon and I progressively felt worse and worse as the three rounds wore on.  My body physically was taking a toll, I had lost weight to an unhealthy point, I didn’t want to eat and had no desire to move.  Mentally I had every desire to move and be anywhere but a hospital, I would have especially liked a soccer field, but I could only dream and gaze to the outdoors for I was too weak and sick to even be able to walk.  By the third round of chemo, I had to stay an entire extra week because of my poor condition.  When the treatment was all over more tests and scans were carried out, but I was able to finally start recovering.  Recovery was frustrating and very exciting at the same time.  I felt like a wild animal finally released from its cage, but at the same time, I still felt chained because I was so weak I had to take my recovery very slowly in order to not injure myself.  Finally, four surgeries later, twenty pounds lost, weeks upon weeks in a hospital, countless tests done, far behind in school and no physical activity in weeks and I was eager to return to my life as fast as possible.

 

As I finally returned, I had a different outlook on the world.  After feeling trapped doing nothing but throwing up all my guts, I had returned with determination and in a mindset to not waist anything.  I had felt what it was like to be restricted and I was not going to waste my life doing meaningless tasks and wasting time.  I am going to live my life to the upmost fullest.   I stopped watching TV; I stopped playing video games and stopped staying inside so much.  I found no reason or anyway to improve or make myself better inside on a TV.  I was constantly outside getting in shape, getting stronger, and I did not want to feel trapped by any walls that lacked importance or interest.   I wasted no time with anything of importance.  My school grades went back up compared to when I was in the hospital; I worked my body to top physical condition again and returned for the next soccer season.  I have kept this mindset to not waste time and to constantly make myself better as much as I can.  This experience has taught me not to waste the precious time I have because I never know when it will be ripped away.  With this precious time, I have used it to fill everything I do to its fullest potential.

 

-Elias Delvasto

 

 

Meet Katielee – A Childhood Cancer Survivor

 

Common side effects of cancer are people staring, people’s projection of pity, their awkward questions of your survival rate, and little kids asking why you don’t have any hair.  While it is always stressed how important first impressions are, when you have cancer and walk into a room it never matters what clothes you are wearing or how good your makeup looks, the first thing people notice is your shiny bald head and face featuring no eyebrows.

Before having my head shaved I didn’t really care what people thought of me just like most teenagers.  Cancer put this mindset to the ultimate test.  Upon shaving my head, I never hid under a wig.  I displayed my bald head to the world.  I could see the stares; however, I steadfastly clung to the thought I didn’t care what people thought.  I forced myself to believe it.

While it usually didn’t hurt to see adults look at me, it definitely stung when I walked down the halls of my high school.  My peers would stop talking while I walked by as if I was a pariah.  I knew no one thought of me as pretty.  No one would ask me out for a date because everyone knew I might not be around long.  My time might be limited.  Sometimes at my lowest emotional moment, as I felt my self-esteem deflated my path would cross with a stranger who would blow it back up.  These people I like to call my hidden angels.

These angels seemed to know just when to say “you’re beautiful.”  Others went as far as paying for my meals at restaurants.  My angels never revealed themselves.  My angels gave me flowers in the middle of the grocery store.  One angel I will never forget came up to me and my family in McDonalds with a newspaper folded in his hand.  He had it turned to an advertisement displaying a vase of flowers.  He looked at me and said, “These are for you.  I can tell you’ve had a hard time recently.”  I turned to my dad to show him and when I looked back to thank the man, he was gone.  He had vanished.

Angels don’t stick around to ask the painfully old questions like “what are your chances?” or “how long have you been in treatment?”  My angels are special because they know just what to do and when they are needed.  My angels embraced me in their wings and made me feel whole.  They took away my pain.  They made me feel beautiful and special.  Each angel’s kindness reminded me there were plenty of beautiful people in the world.  Once you have felt the loving kiss of your angel, you cannot receive such a treasure without wanting to pass it along.

Now, I have made it out of the dark tunnel a cancer diagnosis throws you down.  I have been given a second chance at life and I want to be an angel.  Each Christmas and Easter morning my dad and I bring cakes and cookies donated by Publix to my cancer unit.  It is a small act, but angels don’t have to do big things.  Thanks to my amazing doctors and nurses, I plan to spend many more years being the angel in other people’s lives.  I am always on the lookout for the opportunity to hold a child’s hand with cancer and say “You are so beautiful.”

 

-Katielee Kaner

 

 

What America Means to Me

 

 

America can take on many different meanings depending on the persons and the situation.  American to me in this situation is a land of opportunity.  America to me is the land of opportunity and safeguard of education, because only in America can you be born into a poor household with the dream of becoming a doctor and when you grow up decide that you want to do is achieve your dream and then actually being able to see your dreams become a reality.

 

America provides every child, no matter what the circumstances, with a primary education.  The child can then decide if they want to take that education and benefit themselves even further by going to college.  In many countries only the rich and the elite are able to afford college but not in America.  In America there are thousands of organizations who are designed to help children who want to excel in life go to college.  These organizations are able to exist because of America as well.

 

Because America is the land of opportunity, many people are able to live comfortably in America and because of this comfort they are able to give to others.  It is through this act of charity, giving to others without expecting anything in return, that America can continue to be the place where opportunity flourishes.  Through giving to these scholarship programs the donors allow for tens of thousands of children who normally wouldn’t even think about going to college an opportunity to go.  Even though they do not see the rewards of their charity initially they will see their rewards as the young men and women who were able to go to college because of people’s charity become productive members of society.

 

As these new members of society begin their respective practices they help America become bigger, better, and just a greater place to live in.  These young men and women become doctors, attorneys, entrepreneurs, and many other professions that wouldn’t be in existence if it weren’t for the donors but more importantly America.

 

America is the land of opportunity.  America is the safeguard of education.  America is the place where you can land off a boat from some foreign country, work your hardest, go to college and make something of yourself.  No other country in the world can be defined using any of those same words because those words are America.

 

So even though America can take on many different meanings, whenever I think of America and that every kid who is able to go to college can because of America.  They will know her as America, land of opportunity and safeguard of education.

 

-Kenneth McGuire