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Matthews Overcoming Adversity Scholarship

Funded by
1 winner$500
Application Deadline
Apr 25, 2022
Winners Announced
May 26, 2022
Education Level
High School, Undergraduate
Recent scholarship winners
Eligibility Requirements
Education Level:
High school junior or senior or undergraduate student
History of adversity
Noted effort/desire to succeed from an educator or mentor

Many people face adversity, whether it’s through abuse, abandonment, or other trauma. 

Fortunately, trauma-related barriers to success can often be mitigated through caring relationships. The support of just one caring person can increase the success of kids in difficult situations.

This scholarship is in loving memory of Keith Shafenberg, and aims to support students who have faced adversity so they can go on to thrive in their academic and personal lives.  

Any undergraduate student or high school junior or senior who has a history of abandonment, abuse, trauma, neglect, or other toxic stress and has an educator or mentor who has noted their effort and desire to succeed may apply for this scholarship. 

To apply, tell us how adversity in your past has shown the importance of support systems and how you plan to prioritize your support throughout college.

Selection Criteria:
Ambition, Need, Boldest Profile
Published December 3, 2021
Essay Topic

How has adversity in your past highlighted the importance and impact of positive support (mentors, group or team involvement, church membership, etc.) on your journey to higher education and how do you plan to continue prioritizing those types of support through college?

400–600 words

Winning Application

Chad Brown
Forsyth Technical Community CollegeClemmons, NC
As a 13 year old High School Freshman, I found the courage to try something new by trying out for the wrestling team in 2001. The team needed a Varsity Heavyweight and I was being recruited for the position. Being the most unfit wrestler on the team, I started miles behind everyone else. Keeping up with team workouts was extremely challenging but I gave it my best. Throughout the year, my coaches would ask me if I thought about quitting- "Yes, everyday!" The thought of quitting certainly infiltrated my thoughts but that's as far as it went. Quitting wasn't an option. I didn't have it in me to turn my back on my coaches and team. I had to finish what I started. Going from the sofa, where pizza and video games were life, to competing against the biggest and best; I recognized the urge to change my habits. This pivot is where my strength training journey emerged. I began weight-lifting each year and set 2 school records in weight-lifting for Push Press (315 lbs) and Squat (595 lbs). In wrestling, I went from having 7 wins my first year to scoring the Most Wins in a Season. I compiled 113 career wins as a 4 year Varsity Starter at Glenn High School. As a rising Junior, I suffered a knee injury at a Summer Wrestling Camp which required surgery and 6 months of rehab. Due to my medical condition, I was forced to sit out of competition for one month into wrestling season. With 8 more wins or two weekend tournaments, I could've captured the school record for Most Career Wins. Instead, I finished ranked among the Top-5. I graduated High School as a North Carolina Academic Scholar, National Honor Society Member, a NCHSAA 3-A Regional/State Champion, and an AAU National Champion. I was the recipient of the Distinguished Athlete Award presented by the United States Marine Corps (USMC) and awarded the 2005 Upper Weight Wrestler of the Year Award in the Piedmont Triad Conference. My successful performance in academics/athletics positioned me to obtain a scholarship to wrestle at the next level for Campbellsville University where I became a 4-year starter, 3-Time National Qualifier, and 2007 NAIA Champion of Character. I earned my Bachelors in Business Administration as a First Generational College Graduate. My passion transitioned into coaching. From 2009-2014, I served as a Volunteer Coach for a High School wrestling team. Since June 2021, I've been serving as a Volunteer Coach for an FCA Wrestling Club which requires a 2-hour commute per practice. I've decided to matriculate to the University of Miami as a Transfer Undergraduate to major in Exercise Physiology and Biochemistry/Nutrition. I plan to gain a higher education in Health and Fitness to ascertain credentials that will contribute to a sports coaching career. I intend to get involved with coaching/leadership activities at the University while pursuing a second bachelors degree. As an athlete, I understand the importance coaches play on an athletes development. From building confidence and teaching discipline to developing fundamental skills to maximize your potential, coaches lead the way! As a coach, I've come full circle to witness the impact players have on coaches. Coaching is not a seasonal position but is often treated that way. Athletes are investments that require coaches to sacrifice time, energy, money, and often relationships to dedicate their lives to helping others pursue their goals. As a coach, you learn it's not about wins/losses. It's certainly not about the money. It's about serving a greater purpose. Coaches sacrifice everything to serve others. If that's not God's work, what is?


When is the scholarship application deadline?

The application deadline is Apr 25, 2022. Winners will be announced on May 26, 2022.

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