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Lisa McGinley Scholarship Fund

Funded by
1 winner$935
Application Deadline
May 20, 2022
Winners Announced
Jun 18, 2022
Education Level
High School, Undergraduate
Recent scholarship winners
Eligibility Requirements
Education Level:
High school junior, senior, or undergraduate
Lost a parent

Lisa McGinley was a wife, mother, daughter, and, coach, and friend to many who passed away after a difficult battle with COVID-19. 

Lisa was an avid sports fan, but more importantly she was her sons’ biggest fan. She would attend all of their sports events, taking photos, and cheering them on. Lisa was incredibly proud of her sons and was always the loudest parent in the stands. 

This scholarship aims to remember Lisa McGinley and support students who have lost a parent while trying to get through school.

Any high school junior, senior, or undergraduate student who is pursuing sports at the collegiate level and has lost a parent may apply for this scholarship. 

To apply, tell us how sports have benefited your life, and how your angel-parent was your biggest fan.

Selection Criteria:
Ambition, Need, Boldest Profile
Published January 29, 2022
Essay Topic

How have sports positively impacted your life, and how did your angel-parent support you?

400–600 words

Winning Application

Aliyah Cunningham
Yale UniversityNew Haven, CT
Sports were the sole common interest between my father and me throughout my life. Raising me as a teenager, he'd never know what to say about boys or school or clothes, but he knew sports. He kept me in track and field, telling me it'd foster the skills and discipline I'd need to do well down the road. Luckily, I was pretty fast, thanks to his lean genetics, and he was right; the skills I learned through eventually becoming the captain of our varsity high school team set the stage for understanding what I wanted to be and what I wanted to do with my life. In track, I excelled and eventually got recruited to run for Yale University — a door that my dad helped to open. After doing what seemed to be impossible by getting into one of the most prestigious universities in the country from a small town in Florida, my family couldn't have been more proud of what I'd accomplished. But no one was more proud than my father, who'd supported me throughout my first few years in college with sweet messages over the phone and care packages sent lovingly through the mail. Even though I was miles away amongst the snowy hills of Connecticut, he never forgot to call. "Keep your head on straight. Keep it up. And keep at it." he'd say before ending each voice mail when I didn't get to answer. This all changed when he was diagnosed with advanced-stage colon and peritoneal cancer my junior spring. Amid the pandemic and throughout isolation, I thought COVID would be the worst of my nightmares that year. But as the weeks crept by and the chemo kept failing to put a dent in the growth, I knew we would be facing a hard few months ahead. I remember the late nights studying by my dad's bedside while everyone was Zoom-schooled for quarantine. His chest raised and lowered with each labored breath under a cheap bed sheet that was still "too heavy" and "too hot". I couldn't bear at times to see my 6'6 basketball-star father, reduced to a frail whisper of a man. Track and field kept me sane. The long runs I would take, focusing on my heavy, labored breath, along the winding sidewalks of my neighborhood kept me alive. Eventually, my dad passed away. I was back on campus at Yale completing my last fall semester. Each day was like sitting on pins and needles, wondering if he would call like he did every night to let me know he was okay. I remember the feeling when he didn't. The crashing bittersweet feeling of knowing it's all over and there's no more pain, but the price to pay is forever living on with just a memory. I was devastated, my grades slumped, and I seriously considered taking a leave of absence. But, track and field kept me sane. I wanted to carry on my dad's legacy and run with my team. In this, I found joy. Surrounded by the support and love of my teammates, revitalized by a love of the sport, and encouraged by the words and memory of my father, I knew that I could do it and graduate with continued strong academic standing. Despite it all, the skills that I learned in track, like perseverance and being able to ask for help, aided me tremendously in my grief journey. Now, I'm a soon-to-be graduate and am so grateful to my angel parent and track for bringing me to this point and am so excited for what's to come!


When is the scholarship application deadline?

The application deadline is May 20, 2022. Winners will be announced on Jun 18, 2022.

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