Blessed with unconditional love

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To compete for this year’s 13 scholarships, graduating seniors of African or African American descent were asked to submit essays based on the theme “Education and Graduation: It’s a Family Affair.” Here are some of the winning submissions.


Throughout my life I have been through numerous situations that made me question if I am prepared to face the world around me. But, I can honestly say that the one person who has been by my side through it all, encouraging me to never give up, is my mother.

My mother has played a huge role in my successful graduation because she has always taught me to never let the troubles of life get the best of me. Growing up, I was raised in a single-parent family by my mother and with my five other siblings.

My father was in and out of my life up until he decided to leave for good when I was 11 years old. He chose drugs and alcohol over his family. During all of this, my mother never once begged him to stay.

The doctors informed my mother that she had cancer, and she kept this from her children in order to deal with it on her own and keep my siblings and me from worrying about her.

She later found out that the cancer that was once there was no longer in sight. Now she is living with an unknown illness and has visited numerous doctors who still have not diagnosed her with anything.

My mother never let her illness slow down her parenting tactics. She has always been a strict mother who puts her children first. She has never looked for sympathy from anybody — not even my father.

After my grandmother passed away in 2001, the only other help my mother had was that of Jesus Christ. I admire my mother’s drive as well as determination. I pray to one day be at least half the woman she is.

My mother is a beautiful person both inside and out. She enforces love deeply within all of her children. I have never gone to bed hungry, nor have I ever gone without a roof over my head. I want to be able to repay my mother not from just the fruits of my labor, but repay [her] by giving her [the] satisfaction of knowing that I have taken into account all the things that she had enforced within me. And I am working toward applying it to my life in a positive way.

Even though there were times in our life when money was tight and we could not afford all the latest in name-brand items, I always felt blessed to have something that many kids my age didn’t have, which is a mother who loves me unconditionally and will always be here for me no matter what.

My mother has always enforced how important it is to succeed and make a life for myself after graduating from high school. Through her pushing, I know that my education will not stop there.

Family has always been the most important part of my life. My mother is the backbone for keeping us all together, and she’s the main reason that I strive for excellence.