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Michael Mattera Jr. Memorial Scholarship

1 winner$1,000
Next Application Deadline
May 31, 2024
Next Winners Announced
Jun 30, 2024
Education Level
High School
Recent scholarship winners
Eligibility Requirements
Education Level:
High school senior

Michael Mattera Jr. faced many challenges in his young life.

And yet despite the difficulties he dealt with, he worked hard and stayed in school. He was able to graduate from college with his Bachelor’s degree, but it required him to push through many unique challenges that others did not face. 

As a way to memorialize Michael and celebrate his accomplishments, the Michael Mattera Jr. Memorial Scholarship will help other students who have overcome adversity in their lives and have continued to pursue education, in spite of challenges they have faced.

High school seniors are eligible to apply if they have overcome adversity in their lives and have continued to work hard and push through those difficult experiences. To apply, write about what adversity you’ve overcome and how that experience had an impact on your goals and dreams for the future.

Selection Criteria:
Perseverance, Dedication, Passion
Published February 16, 2024
Essay Topic

What adversity have you overcome, and how has that experience influenced your future goals and dreams?

400–600 words

Winning Application

Setareh Katibeh
Jenks High SchoolBixby, OK
I am writing today with a mix of vulnerability and resilience, laying out the stories of my life that have shaped me into the person I am today. Though it is terrifying and humbling to open up about my experiences, I believe that sharing my story is essential to fully understanding my journey and aspirations. From the outside, my life may have appeared idyllic, but beneath the surface is a story of hardship and perseverance. I am a survivor of emotional abuse, enduring a childhood marked by turmoil and self-doubt. The wounds inflicted upon me were invisible to the eye, yet they cut deep into my sense of self-worth and belonging. My deepest kept secret, that I share with you today, is the fact that I am an unaccompanied minor under the McKinney Vento Act. My homelife has been inconsistent at best and has added yet another layer of adversity to my high school experience. Growing up, I held deep inside the disparaging words of my parents and teachers, convinced of my own inadequacy. Hindered by undiagnosed learning disabilities and untreated mental health challenges, I struggled to keep pace with my peers academically, socially, and emotionally. Despite these obstacles, I refused to surrender to the limitations imposed upon me. Instead, I found strength in the concept of grit—a resilience born from adversity and nurtured by unwavering determination. I like the word grit; I think it describes me well. Grit is something that doesn’t come from ease and privilege. Grit isn’t something you can detect from a GPA or test score. Grit becomes a gift to those of us who come from hard places, but have the determination to dream so big that we find our way out. My personal journey has been filled with setbacks and challenges, yet it has also been defined by growth and resilience. I refuse to be defined by my past; instead, I choose to celebrate the strength and fight that have carried me through life's darkest moments. Where I used to be overpowered with my depression, set off course by my ADHD, confused by the ups downs of my hormone dysregulation, or hiding in my dark room from the fighting below, today, I stand before you as a testament to the power of perseverance—a dented, yet unbroken, individual who refuses to settle for anything less than I am capable of. My dreams extend beyond myself; they encompass a vision of service and compassion. My commitment to volunteerism is my proudest achievement. This year I will graduate as a Distinguished Service Graduate from Jenks High School, having completed well over the required 200 hours of service to my school and community. I am unwavering in my commitment to becoming a pediatric nurse, offering comfort and care to children and families facing trials. This has been my dream ever since I started dreaming. I want to live a life in service of others, especially children during their most uncertain times. I am deeply committed to using my experiences to connect with and uplift those who hurt, offering them the same compassion and understanding that I wished for during my darkest moments. Receiving this scholarship would allow me to attend the college of my dreams, something I am still fighting to achieve due to financial uncertainty. Receiving this scholarship would affirm my belief in the value of resilience and determination. It will also provide validation of my journey and the strength I have gained along the way. I am deeply grateful for the opportunity to share my story with you and humbly request your consideration for this scholarship.


When is the scholarship application deadline?

The application deadline is May 31, 2024. Winners will be announced on Jun 30, 2024.

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