I’m a senior at Aurora Central High School and I have been an Academy scholar from the time the program opened in December, 2013. Throughout my time in Boys Hope Girls Hope I have had many experiences that I wouldn’t have otherwise had. The most significant and exciting things is attending the Horatio Alger Scholarship Recipient Conference in Washington D.C. I worked for about two months with Boys Hope Girls Hope staff and volunteers on my scholarship application which required essays, letters of recommendation, and tons of supporting documents. This gave me the opportunity to share my story with the Horatio Alger Association of Distinguished Americans. The Horatio Alger Scholarship is unique because it is not totally focused on academic achievement. It also factors heavily what types of adversity high school students must overcome to reach academic success. I was really proud of the work that I put in and after weeks of waiting I received news in January that I would be receiving one of 106 national awards from The Horatio Alger Foundation, a grand total of $22,000 to use toward furthering my education!
As part of the scholarship I received an all-expenses paid trip to Washington D.C. to meet with the Horatio Alger Association, their supporters, and all of the 2016 recipients from across the country. Just when I thought the hard part was over, I started thinking about how pack for this trip. This was the first time that I traveled east of Colorado and I had no idea what to expect, and I admit I was pretty nervous. Luckily I had BHGH to help me out. They helped me get a suit and luggage, provided fashion advice, and they even got me a travel sized tooth brush and tooth paste. I felt totally prepared before I left Denver and landing in D.C. and seeing the detailed itinerary I felt much more comfortable.
Our week long itinerary had many fun activities! We did them all together as a group, visiting the White House, the State Department, the Lincoln Memorial, the Roosevelt Monument, the State Capitol, and the Supreme Court. Even though those activities were incredible, my favorite part of the whole trip was the fact that all the scholarship recipients were able to open up and bond with one another. There were so many interesting people attending the conference who had the same background as I did, overcoming many of the same issues that I had to overcome to get myself into the position that I am in today. Having met all of these wonderful people and seeing all of support systems that come along with this award I feel like it opened up a new branch of support for me.
I have always felt incredibly grateful for the support from Boys Hope Girls Hope and now with the Horatio Alger Association and their network I feel even more confident that I will accomplish my dreams. I promised myself and my family I would be the first member of my family to attend and complete college. A few weeks ago I took the first step in fulfilling that promise by choosing to attend Colorado Mesa University in Grand Junction. I plan to study Biology and one day become a high school biology teacher. Thank you for all the support you have provided me.