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D’Andre J. Brown Memorial Scholarship

Funded by
1 winner$555
Application Deadline
Apr 1, 2025
Winners Announced
May 1, 2025
Education Level
High School
Recent scholarship winners
Eligibility Requirements
Education Level:
High school senior
3.0 or higher

D’Andre J. Brown was a beloved husband and father who passed away too soon after a battle with cancer.

As a result, D’Andre’s children have had to persevere through the loss of their father while pursuing their studies. Many other students are held back by hardship, whether this comes in the form of homelessness, illness, or losing a loved one. 

This scholarship aims to honor the life of D’Andre J. Brown by supporting students who have overcome adversity or hardship in their lives.

Any high school senior in California who has at least a 3.0 GPA may apply for this scholarship. 

To apply, tell us about a time you overcame adversity, what you learned from this experience, and how it has shaped you into the person you are today.

Selection Criteria:
Ambition, Need, Boldest Profile
Published May 23, 2024
Essay Topic

Life is full of challenges, but that does not close the door to success. 

Tell us about a time you’ve had to overcome adversity in your life and what you learned from it. How has it made you the person you are today?

400–600 words

Winning Application

Aamya todd
California Baptist UniversityRancho Cucamonga, CA
The most significant challenge I have faced was learning how to overcome the memory loss that came with seizures and how it affected my academic goals. The cause of epilepsy is due to disturbed nerve cells in the brain which then cause seizures. What I was not ready to discover was that overtime seizures could cause the part of my brain responsible for memory to shrink. Not only was it difficult to recall small things that happened in my day to day life but it started to roll over into my school life. It caused me to not be able to hold key details taught in class or details told to me by my peers. There would just be complete blanks or this unfamiliarity to things told to me within the last week or sometimes even days. It would cause me to not determine solid answers to questions in class or even questions on quizzes or tests. With this, I had this challenge presented to me. I had to find a way to fight the memory loss that I was experiencing instead of letting it take over my personal and academic life. So with this, I started to record audio of what was happening in class letting those around me know, taking pictures of things I knew I was not going to remember or be able to see, etc. After the end of school, I would go home and play over these audios and go over the pictures. I created folders spending on the subject and noted what each audio or picture was for. So, before tests and quizzes I would listen to the audios all the way until I had the test/quiz right in front of me. Eventually, I became more familiar with doing this and I had an ongoing routine. This led to finding a good and stable ground when it came to my grades and allowed me to have my academic record be something I was proud of. At the end of the day, this doesn't define me as person. It is simply just an attribute/feature of mines that gets better as time goes on. And is something that could never bring me shame but makes me feel grounded and makes men feel like the hardest things are only hard because I have yet to face it. Once I reach the top of each hill, I have the stamina and will to face the next one.
Lauren Barnwell
Sir Francis Drake High SchoolSan Anselmo, CA
During sophomore year, my life took a horrific turn. I thought quarantine was the worst time of my life. Soon, I discovered how naive that sentiment was. On April 29, I woke up to 37 missed calls from my aunts. I called them back and listened in complete disbelief as they told me my dad had died in a tragic motorcycle accident. I felt my soul leave my body. The notion that he is gone remains irreconcilable. Richard Barnwell will always be the most loving person I know. He said I love you too much, but meant it every time. He was my best friend and gave me a lifetime’s worth of love and life in 16 years. Everything about my life since he passed is askew. Reinventing any regularity while transitioning from post-quarantine and my dad’s death continues to be disorienting. I felt l didn’t have time to grieve, which is what I needed. Crying is cathartic, and the lack of it interfered with my healing. I had to keep going, embodying my dad’s tenacity, focus, and drive – for him and myself. I continue to distract myself from facing the reality that he is gone yet my dad is still at the forefront of everything I do. I didn’t return to school that spring or finish my club season of volleyball. I couldn’t handle peoples’ condolences, as well intended as they were – they would set me back. The hardest part about this journey is that I am walking it alone. At first, my friends were there for me as best they could be in the days after I got the news. I felt supported. However, as the months progressed, it seemed like my friends forgot what I was going through. Not only had I lost my dad, I felt like I was losing friends. I needed to find ways to give back to myself. Junior year began and I felt overwhelmed with responsibilities, such as fulfilling my duties as junior class president. Academic and athletic rigor never let up and I had to learn how to balance my commitments. My dad was always present in my athletic career and getting used to his physical absence was challenging, but also lit a fire in me that couldn’t be extinguished. I decided to join the track team and found it as purposeful as it was liberating. Running gave me a new destination, and I was constantly motivated to better my time. I now hold our school's 3rd fastest women's 100m time, was awarded MVP and was a regional finalist. Even though my dad didn’t get to see any of my track meets, his watchful presence was always felt. I started working two jobs to help my family offset expenses, started preparing for the AP tests, and was elected Student Body President for my senior year. Achievements I credit to the values my dad instilled in me. Undoubtedly I’m my father’s daughter. Our connection is immortal. Even to this day the learning continues. I’ve learned what true friendship means to me through the comradery of those who showed up despite not knowing what to say or how to be. I’ve learned to process my emotions while upholding my commitments, because accountability is admirable and is what I expect from myself. And I’ve learned to set boundaries so that I am true to myself. I am stronger, more clear about my goals and with a newfound empathy and compassion for this complex and messy, albeit beautiful life.
Sadie Cardenas
Orange County High School of the ArtsSeal Beach, CA
At 17, I counted calories for the first time- 53 for half a banana, hidden under the covers of my bed, in the middle of my junior year when I had so much more to worry about. I'd be lying if I said it hadn't been a long time coming, but still. I never thought it would happen to me. I've never liked to move forward without a plan for what happens next. But when I entered eleventh grade, the first thing anyone talked about was college, their careers, the places they wanted to go for them. Some had plans, some didn't, and were completely okay with that. I didn't see how, considering everything we were doing this year led up to what we would do next year, and the year after that, when we would be supposedly mapping out what we were going to do for the rest of our lives... which, looking back on it now, was a lot to take in all at once. But I wanted to be ready, and I wasn't. I couldn't predict my future, what colleges would choose me, or if I could count on my friends and family for comfort. But I could control me: the way I looked and saw myself. If I was helpless in everything else, I could at least do that. My relationship with my self-image was always a difficult one; I always felt like my body was left unfinished, with my stomach too round and waist too wide and the gap between my thighs too small. I just saw it as something I'd get over; everywhere, there were success stories of women who'd learned to love themselves despite everyone telling them that they shouldn't. But no one will ever tell you about the struggles in between- how long it takes to get to the top of a mountain and see the skyline view. That time for me consisted of measuring every food I ate, tidbits to tablespoons, transforming them into numbers that I tallied up before every meal. Instead of studying for my exams, I was calculating the calories of my lunch during class, counting the minutes before I could eat again- free myself for ten minutes until the cycle repeated. I'd go to bed knowing the meal I'd allowed myself was only a fourth of what my body required, knowing that I didn't want to live this way the rest of my life. But if I saw my stomach had shrunk, or my waist was a little slimmer, I considered it worth it. When I did find help, it wasn't because I'd gone looking; my mom and sister had eked a confession out of me, and only when I'd managed to come clean to the rest of my family did I start on the road to recovery- one of the most challenging things I would ever do. Yet, if there's anything I've learned from my experience, it's that there are some struggles you can't get through alone. It's been months since then, and the healing process is still slow going, but I've been getting closer every day. The little things help the most: food channels, treats from the bakery down the street, opening up to my friends to keep people in my life rather than push them out. It took months of critiquing and criticizing every detail of my body to finally love it; if I'm going to get into my dream school, I'll need the energy to keep up. But I'm going to get there, and I'm going to love every bit- imperfections and all.
Gabriela Pullen
Cuesta CollegeAtascadero, CA
I grew up in a pretty racist area. When my mom went to school here, there was one Black person at her high school; now that I am in high school, there are less than five. Latinx's population isn't much better. I was the only Hispanic in my grade at elementary school. It went up to 15 in middle school, and now that I am in high school, there are approximately 30 students in my class of 265. I bring this up because this is where my adversity begins. In elementary school, we were working on a peer project and had to draw the other person. My peer drew me with brown and black crayons. I was utterly distraught and went home, not understanding that was how the world saw me. It wasn't until then that my mother spoke to me about discrimination and biased people. Up until that point, I was raised to see people for who they are. We never talked about different skin tones or heritages because we were all the same, living in the same area. After that conversation I noticed little microaggressions and comments that were targeted to a marginalized group or more specifically towards me. I started to become depressed because of the skin color I was born with, I wished I could wash it off and be white like the majority of my town. I started dreading going to school. By middle school I began to internalize the messages that I was hearing and became a target of discrimination. I was at my end's wit with everything, so my mom started me in counseling, and it was suggested that I get more involved in school activities to keep my mind off the negativity. This would help me avoid dwelling on the racist comments people were saying and gets me involved in a community of like-minded people. I joined leadership and basketball. I had never done either one of these until this point in my life. I was surprised I made the basketball team. I also joined the leadership program and participated in running school activities. Both of these changed the trajectory that I was headed towards. By high school, I was no longer an easy target. I was the Freshman School President and a varsity basketball team member. By my senior year, I had become the overall student body president, and it was also my second year of being a team captain on the basketball team. I learned to be supportive of all but, most importantly, to stand up when others don't feel like they have a voice. I learned not to be a bystander but to be mindful of my actions so that I do not respond with hate or judgment. Most importantly, I plan on being the best version of myself, teaching others to do the same through my servant leadership style and modeling positive behavior. I have become a stronger person mentally and am equipped to handle these types of situations. I have gotten away from feeling down about who I am and take pride in the accomplishments I have completed. I have 9 varsity letters while holding a 4.34 GPA. I have been accepted into a four-year university, where I will be playing two sports (track and field and basketball) and study education. I plan on becoming an elementary teacher so that I can influence children on how to become better leaders in society as they are our future. I also want to promote anti-bullying and help students know what to do if they are in a discriminatory situation.


When is the scholarship application deadline?

The application deadline is Apr 1, 2025. Winners will be announced on May 1, 2025.