John J. DiPietro COME OUT STRONG Scholarship

Funded by
Jordan DiPietro
Learn more about the Donor
$4,050
2 winners, $2,025 each
Awarded
Winners
2
Finalists
13
Application Deadline
May 31, 2021
Winners Announced
Jun 20, 2021
Education Level
High School, Undergraduate
13
Contributions
Recent Bold.org scholarship winners

Whether it’s a parent, grandparent, or mentor, we all need role models.

Role models help us establish our moral compass, conquer challenges, and form our beliefs about the world. Often, it’s not until we lose a role model and look back on our lives that we realize how important these people are in shaping the people that we become.

My dad, John J. DiPietro, had a tremendously positive impact on my life. He was a hard-nosed Italian who taught me work before play, restraint before revelry, and desire before doubt. “Come out of the gate strong,” he’d say. “You’ll never be the smartest person in the room, but you can always work the hardest.”

Unfortunately, my dad died suddenly of a brain aneurysm when I was 25 years old. Since his passing, I’ve tried to make him proud by carrying what he taught me forward. Every day, I still try to rip through the gate and grind as hard as he would.

In honor of my wonderful father, the John J. DiPietro COME OUT STRONG Scholarship exists to support a hard-working student who gets the most out of every day.

The scholarship is open to high school seniors who will attend college in 2021 and current undergraduate students in any field of study. While not required, it’s a plus if you have overcome significant challenges, see obstacles as opportunities for growth, and demonstrate gratitude for those who have helped you on your path.

Personal Development
Selection Criteria:
Essay, Reflect, Drive, Courageous, Bold
$4,050
2 winners, $2,025 each
Awarded
Winners
2
Finalists
13
Application Deadline
May 31, 2021
Winners Announced
Jun 20, 2021
Education Level
High School, Undergraduate
13
Contributions
Recent Bold.org scholarship winners
Essay Topic

Please write about a role model in your life. What have you learned from this person? How have you applied these lessons to achieving your goals? How will you pay what you’ve learned forward?

200–1000 words

Winning Applications

Hannah Clark
University of New Hampshire-Main CampusMadbury, NH
Although I am at the ripe age of 22, I have taken a ride on life's rollercoaster that falls off the track, is wobbly and bumpy, and one where you never quite know when you'll finally be able to get off. My rollercoaster ride began the day I was born, having a parent that was an abusive alcoholic was not a ticket I would have chosen for myself. My childhood was sporadic and scary, never quite knowing if we'd be having dinner that night or we'd be kicked out of the house at 4 am on a school night. It was difficult, but I had my awesome mom and siblings to get each other through the hell we found ourselves in. Fast forward to freshman year of high school (ugh), at 14 years old I was told my mother had a stroke after dropping us off at school that morning. Not really understanding what implications that would have on the rest of my life, we visited her at the hospital for her 4 month-long stay and another 2 months at a rehab facility. In the midst of high school, dealing with an addict, and losing my mom, something changed in me. I had never been a good student, I didn't have a job and I didn't think twice about bills or money. My mom, the breadwinner of the family, was now completely paralyzed on her left side and lost her career as a hairdresser, all her friends, her independence, and the life she had tried to create for herself and us. She was unable to take me prom dress shopping, run errands with me, go for walks, and essentially every single she dreamed of vanished that morning her brain bled. Life's rollercoaster had thrown me off going 150 mph. I didn't have parents anymore, my dad's drinking got worse, he lost all motivation to work and provide for her, he had given up on life and let all of his children take the beating for it. Even though we had all just lost the most important person in our lives, instead of stepping up and getting his act together, my father decided to make all of us suffer even more so than we already had. This is when the sink or swim instinct came in, and it was time to show my mom, my role model, that her having a stroke and dealing with my father wasn't going to hold me back from achieving greatness. It was like a switch was flipped, and suddenly I found myself getting high honors for the rest of my semesters in high school. I joined soccer, cheerleading, and softball and became a caption. I won writing contest after writing contest for my school's yearly competition, and this was only the beginning. I knew I had to go to college. I wasn't sure how or where, but I knew that's where I needed to be. I began spending hours a day with the guidance office, having them be my mentors for applying for scholarships and paying for application fees. I was the first person in my family to try and go to college, so these counselors were the only help I had. Alas, I got accepted to UNH and won enough scholarships from my town to afford the first semester. My mom cried in the audience while they called my name for scholarship after scholarship, as she knew my dream was going to be a possibility. Fast forward, I have worked 2-3 jobs a semester to pay for tuition and I am now a senior approaching a dual degree in psychology and justice studies, and when I finish I'm heading to law school. The rollercoaster finally let me off, as I've achieved more than I ever thought possible. My mom is sad to have to watch my life go by from a wheelchair, unable to visit spontaneously or walk around campus. Nonetheless, she is watching her daughter achieve despite not being able to help and she wears that proudly. My mom's life was cut short, her expectations and hopes for the future were tarnished as she's become wheelchair-bound for the remainder of her life. But, I wanted to show her that she didn't fail any of us, and we're capable of reaching for dreams none of us thought possible. My mom is the shining example of strength, and I will work harder in my life because she was unable to. I will pay forward her joyful spirit, and the life lessons about perseverance she's taught me. Although I was not given an easy deck of cards, I have and will continue to play them to the best of my ability to not only give me the life I deserve, but to give my mom one as well.
valisha pearson
Tulsa Community CollegeTulsa, OK

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