For DonorsFor Applicants

Summer Chester Memorial Scholarship

Funded by
Picture of the donor
Keishanae Williams
1st winner$1,067
2nd winner$1,067
3rd winner$1,066
Application Deadline
May 1, 2024
Winners Announced
Jun 1, 2024
Education Level
High School
Recent scholarship winners
Eligibility Requirements
Education Level:
High school senior
School :
Klein Forest High School

Summer Chester was a dear friend who passed away too soon while studying to become a teacher.

Summer completed her high school education at Klein Forest High School and was passionate about giving back to her community. Doing good deeds not only helps others but can bring positive change in your own life. 

This scholarship seeks to support Klein Forest High School students who have generous spirits.   

Any senior at Klein Forest High School may apply for this scholarship, but students who participate in Orchestra are preferred.

To apply, tell us how others have given to you and how you hope to pay this kindness forward by helping others in the future.

Selection Criteria:
Ambition, Need, Boldest Profile
Published February 11, 2023
Essay Topic

What are ways in which others have given to you and how do you plan to pay it forward?

400–600 words

Winning Applications

Lauren Garcia
Baylor UniversityHouston, TX
When I think of the perfect ability to express my gratitude and pay it forward, what comes to mind isn't a physical or material amount but experiences, opportunities, and learning. Especially throughout this year, I have learned that I would not be where I am today without the community of people around me. It is the people whom I am lucky to have encountered who have encouraged me to push myself into opportunities I would have never previously even imagined. My position as a violin teacher teaching students from 4th grade to adulthood has truly introduced me to this concept. I had the privilege of being mentored by my private violin teacher for the eight out of ten years I played the instrument. I was devastated when my teacher told me he would leave the studio. When he broke the news, he also casually mentioned he had already arranged for me to take over his job after his departure. I was terrified, unprepared, and didn't want to teach; however, being in an environment of people who believed in me, such as my family, friends, and teacher who entrusted me with the position, was the only thing that forced me to take on the challenge and not quit out of pure anxiety. After the first few awkward beginning lessons, I began creating lesson plans and learning from my mistakes. I never thought I could learn so much from elementary and middle schoolers eager to learn violin from a girl not so far from their age! Being grandfathered into this position has helped motivate me to become an even stronger performer while also helping me discover a passion for teaching I never thought I would have. I plan to pursue higher education in music to harness the ability to inspire as a performer and better my own skills for my future students. Although my teacher has entrusted me with such a rewarding commitment, I must acknowledge the support of my parents, who have laid the foundation for this fateful magnet of opportunity I have been fortunate to attract. Not only did they motivate me to practice my violin at a young age and now to take on the position as an educator, but they have supported me every step of the way. My parents have always offered unwavering support, even without specific or unordinary actions. They have made things so easy for me. My parents would have never let me know that I come from a single-income family whose immigrant mother works tirelessly in the busiest hospitals. They would have never turned down any opportunity of mine at any cost. I was lucky not to have known in this aspect. But now that I do, I have never felt so privileged for all that I have. Whenever my father does the most simple act of kindness, whether driving me somewhere five minutes away or giving me his last frozen burrito from his stash, he says, "You better remember this when I'm in my old age!" And I will. I promise to repay my parents' love by giving back, making them proud through success in my career while performing simple acts of kindness in their honor--those of which I have learned from them.
Jailyn Anne Barnuevo
Klein Forest High SchoolHouston, TX
Sacrificing his dreams for his family; depriving his dreams of building his own house; and destroying his aspirations for his future self just so he could allow his brothers to go to college. My father was forced to slash his desires at a young age, leaving his home in the Philippines to seek employment in another country. Consequently, he would leave my eldest brother in the Philippines to be able to have income to foster my brother's education. At the same time, my mother worked in a well-established company to provide for her family of 12. By fate, my parents would meet one another, as they both struggled to make ends meet. My father was out of a divorce and cared for my older brother. They soon would get married and my mother would live with my father in Saudi Arabia. Estranged from the Philippines and dwelling in Saudi Arabia, my father would attain a contract in the United States. My parents decided to live their lives, knowing they would never see their family in the years of sacrifice that came with the Filipino tradition of putting family first. My parents would be happy knowing that they were working for their children to have a better chance in life and providing for their family back home. Now, they continue to work at the ages of 59 and 58 for lengthy hours and endure their professions, just so our family can make an income while providing the opportunity of college for my siblings. With their sacrifices to come to the United States, they strived to support both their families back in the Philippines while cultivating the home they made in America. I admire this sacrifice that my parents made for my family. Even though my father is emotionally absent, and does not have the best father-daughter dynamic, I owe it to him and my mother who continuously support my ambitions to succeed. My parents pushed my siblings and me to accomplish, regardless of its outcome. They were happy with the fact that we were trying our hardest. With their bountiful amount of support, my parents would give my family as countless possibilities as they can even with a limited amount of money. My parents wanted their children to have access to possibilities to reach their dreams and beyond since they sacrificed their own. They were never able to reach their dreams but I hope to show them all their effort by providing that it was worth it by having one of their children go beyond the horizons of Texas and conquer their goals. My current goal of going beyond Texas for education was to continually achieve high marks in my education. My high grades never felt fulfilling in showing how much I am grateful for what they had to offer, so I set my eyes on selective colleges. The possibility of stepping into an elite college is my ultimate goal of financially supporting them, their families, and the dreams that still remain. After that college, while majoring in chemistry, I want pursue a career of being a chemical research engineer. Having the chances of pursing that career, I’ll be able to provide my parents finance in the dreams that are remaining for them. That they can rest easy without stressing on another on of their kids and their own lives. As I reflect upon my parent's journey, their excruciating efforts, and the long sleepless nights. I strive to rise to my best and achieve my own dreams. After all, I owe it all to them.
Luis Garcia
University of HoustonHOUSTON, TX
Throughout my life, I have been fortunate to receive the gifts of ambition and need from various individuals. Friends, family, and even strangers have shown me the importance of striving for my goals and fulfilling my needs, and their support has had a significant impact on my personal and professional development. As I reflect on these experiences, I am reminded of the importance of paying it forward and offering the same level of ambition and fulfillment to others in need. One of the most profound ways in which others have given to me is by instilling ambition and the drive to achieve my goals. My friends and family have been my source of inspiration, encouraging me to pursue my dreams and ambitions. Their unwavering belief in my potential has fueled my determination and been a driving force in my journey toward success. I am deeply grateful for their support, and I am committed to being a source of ambition and motivation for them in return. Whether it's providing guidance, sharing opportunities, or simply being a source of encouragement, I aim to reciprocate the same level of ambition and drive that they have shown me. Additionally, I have encountered instances where strangers have shown incredible kindness and empathy, providing the support I needed to fulfill my needs. Whether it was a helping hand from a passerby or a supportive conversation with someone I had just met, these moments have left a lasting impression on me. As I plan to pay it forward, I am committed to volunteering and helping others fulfill their needs in my community. Whether it's through acts of kindness, volunteering at local organizations, or simply being a source of support for those in need, I aspire to extend the same level of compassion that was once offered to me by strangers. In times of personal and professional growth, I have been fortunate to receive guidance and mentorship from teachers, colleagues, and mentors. Their wisdom and support have played a pivotal role in shaping my journey, and I am eager to pay it forward by mentoring and teaching others. By sharing my skills, knowledge, and experiences, I hope to empower and support those who can benefit from guidance and mentorship. Whether it's through mentorship programs or offering support to aspiring individuals, I am committed to nurturing the growth and development of others, just as my mentors have done for me. In conclusion, the gift of ambition and need that I have received from others has been invaluable, and it has inspired me to pay it forward in various ways. Whether it's through being a source of ambition and motivation for friends and family, volunteering in my community, or mentoring and supporting others, I am dedicated to extending the same level of ambition and fulfillment that has been bestowed upon me. As I continue on my journey, I am committed to being a source of support and inspiration for those in need, and I hope to make a positive impact in the lives of others, just as others have done for me.
Kamryn Stewart
The University of Texas at AustinHouston, TX
Growing up in a low-income household, I have learned that nothing comes easy in life. I have worked so hard throughout the entirety of my academic career, remaining in the top percentage of my class, for one goal, college. But now that I am finally at this stage in my life honestly, I am scared. I am a first-generation college student with no one to seek advice from. I am also worried about the financial strain this will place on my parents. I have dreamed about this moment for years now but I have more questions than I have answers. My parents have always been there for me through it all. Whatever I want to do, regardless of the cost, they will always be my biggest supporters. They have given me their all and I wish to do the same for them. Despite the intense stress of this entire process, my parents give me hope and motivate me to continue working hard. I want to go to college so that I can support my parents as they grow older. Their endless love and support have shaped me into the person I am today. I would also like to mention my orchestra directors throughout the years. I have gained so much confidence through Orchestra. Despite being involved in many different clubs and organizations, none of them have had nearly as much of an impact on my life as Orchestra has. The directors, at all levels, have always been so encouraging and maintained a personable countenance with me. I have always struggled with self-confidence and last year was an all-time low for me. I felt like I was failing my family and that I was not living up to the expectations of others. The directors helped me to realize that I was not alone and that I could always count on them to be there for me. Giving tips to improve my playing abilities, and encouraging me through academics as well was a huge help. I plan to continue playing in college as I have realized orchestra is an irreplaceable aspect of my life. For helping me to realize this, I wish to inspire others as the directors have done for me. In receiving so much through this organization, it is only natural to return the favor. With a few friends in orchestra, and band, I have created a social media account aimed at empowering teens who may be suffering with confidence as I did. I am extremely happy with the impact we are making on the world. Yes, I am nervous but I am also so excited to embark on this new journey with those dear to me. I will continue to make my family and friends proud!
Saleha Patel
The University of Texas at AustinHouston, TX
The man who left his home country to create a better future for his wife and kids, my father. Though I know there are many like my father, I remain in awe when I think about the sacrifices he made for my siblings and me. My father never had much when he was a child, therefore, he made it his life’s goal to make sure we would have everything he was never able to have. He’d work a multitude of minimum-wage jobs just to make ends meet. No matter how tired or overworked he was, my father would never let us feel his sorrows or hardships. He managed to always keep his arms open with a wide smile on his face. And because of him, I have learned life’s greatest lesson: to be eternally grateful while paying it forward. My dad was an only child and very close to his parents. Yet, he still made the heart-wrenching decision to leave home and come to the United States at the age of 19. When my father left his friends and family, he was thinking of the future of his kids who weren't even born yet. Additionally, my father has always emphasized the importance of being the most selfless version of myself possible, and he is always first in line to help if he knows someone needs it. My dad has always told us, “You can never lose by giving”, and these words have stuck with me by my side forever. Whether it’s as simple as giving someone a ride or donating items to those in need, I adore having a role model like my father for his kind heart and eagerness to always find ways to help others. By watching him, I've learned that nothing is lost by trying to be the light in someone else's life. Because I had a role model like my father, I've always had a warm spot in my heart for others. Whether someone is being harsh or even outright mean to me, I've always found myself giving them the benefit of the doubt because I don't know what they may be going through. My dad taught me that we are in control of who we are, and that simple kindness can go so far. Truly, my father taught me not only the importance of selflessness, but he taught me how far compassion can go. My father is my main source of motivation to do well in school. Though he never had a chance to finish his own schooling, my father has always emphasized the importance of a good education. Because he made a plethora of sacrifices for me, I owe it to my father to pursue a college degree because he paved the way for me to have the opportunity. I want to give him the chance to be proud of me and prove his sacrifices to be worthwhile. I aspire to follow in his footsteps and pave the way for my future children the way he did for my siblings and me. Lastly, I want to enter this world following in his footsteps; going out of my way to constantly help others the way my dad always did.
Alexander Betancourt
Klein Forest High SchoolHouston, TX
I wouldn’t be the person I am without the support and care of my parents, the opportunities granted to me only available due to their unconditional love have supported and built me over these school years. I will forever be grateful for my mother and father and love them, for they are the reason I will continue to strive for success as they will support me through thick and thin. I am still inspired by their meeting as workers in a run-down Mexican restaurant, raising my brother and me with the endless challenges two boys can conjure up, and even finding success through their hard work. In their later years, I intend to be there for them as they are for me, I will try to support their lives whenever possible and towards others as they have shown me. My mother usually was there to emotionally support me through the trials and stipulations that school may throw at me. Whenever I would come home I always knew I had an ear to talk, cry, and laugh to. My mother always told me to keep my chin high, supported me through wonderful food unparalleled by the love devoted to it, and dealt with school such as dragging my cello every week. My father was always there for me when I needed guidance, talking about the daunting future, learning skills, and financially supporting me with the high school fees, and a roof over my head. I could always go to my father if I ever needed help, or simply wanted to have fun as I cherish the joyful moments I have with him. I am forever grateful to them not only for my existence but for caringly raising me and helping me form my identity, when I look upon my parents I see a reflection of myself, their influence upon me everlasting. Through all the hardships, they never stopped loving me and I shall do the same towards them. My father has never forgotten his roots, always making great strides to help his family back in Mexico, never hesitating to send aid, only for the thought of bettering the life of his family. I will attempt to be as generous as my father is to his family, helping friends and family, only fueled by the devotion I have for them, whether it be financially if they need a hand, or emotionally if they simply need an ear to listen to. In 2016, after the damages from Hurricane Harvey, my mother signed up to volunteer in the Community Emergency Response Team, out of concern for strangers needing help, and later volunteered for the Red Cross and various community fundraisers. Whenever I see her ready herself for a day of volunteering to help those in need, I’ve never been more honored to be her son. In return I am going to try to follow in her footsteps, to volunteer to help those who I do not know by name, but just that they need assistance, only for the notion that the burden of life may have eased a little. My parents have given me a loving life, and I attend to pay it forward not just to them, but by paying it forward to the people close to me, and the people that life has not been too kind to only out of empathy and generosity whether it be volunteering for more events, helping financially to those in need, or simply helping a friend through a troubling time just like my parents have done to me.
Idalis Alvarado Castanon
Klein Forest High SchoolHouston, TX
Growing up my mom has always been very supportive of me. She has had to raise me on her own and has done an amazing job doing so. No matter what, she has always been there for me. When I wanted to do choir in elementary school she woke up early every morning to take me to practice even though her car had been having some issues lately. When I wanted to join soccer there she was to take me to every game and practice and gave me the encouragement I needed. Lastly, she paid for me to take dual credit classes in high school even though they were going to cost her quite a bit of money. My mom was 23 when she had me. She couldn't afford to go to college after high school and worked a ton of different jobs to earn money. When I was in first grade she would work two jobs and I would barely see her. As a little 7 year old I would get sad because I couldn't see my mom. My grandma had to take care of me a lot because my mom had to work. I have always admired my mom for this. She sacrificed a lot so that I could have a good life and have all the things that she never could have. I know this wasn't easy for her and she knew what she was doing was for my benefit. Now that I am 18 I want to start to repay her for all the things she has done for me. I want to go to college and start a good career so that I can make her proud of me. I want her to see that all the sacrifices she has made me for me have been worth it. For all the times she took me to school stuff even though her car wasn't in good shape. For all the times bought me everything I wanted. Lastly for all the times she sacrificed our time together so that she would have enough money for me. One day I would love to be able to buy her a good car, buy her a nice house like we never had, and just overall make her proud of the daughter she raised on her own. Even though we have had our rocky times, she has and will always be my number one supporter, my best friend, and the best mom a girl could ever wish for.
Jamiyah Boles-McMillan
Klein Forest High SchoolHouston, TX
In 2018 my mother had my sister who is now 4 years old. She is really my pride and joy, I love her like crazy. But my mama didn't know she was pregnant with my sister until she was 7 months. no prenatal pills or anything. Exactly one month later she had my sister, my sister was born about 4 ounces, she wasn't very big at all. but the point is she had to go to the Nicu for about a 2/3 weeks. That probably was the top 5 most terrifying days of my life, especially not knowing if she was going to make it was horrible. But the love my family and I got was beyond extraordinary. They made sure we were comfortable as well as my sister, they made sure we knew everything they knew, they were just amazing and if I could give back an ounce of the love and caring and kindness that they gave me to other families I would in a heartbeat. So to repay them I would do what they do for other, there is no better way to repay someone, besides letting them know that the few days they were in my life that they changes my future and the type of people I want to help. For them to know that they inspired a 14 year-old to grow up and help babies and families how they did, I assume that is very awarding to a person. In this world besides those nurses I would give the world if I could to my sister. She is only four but she is literally my life, I owe her everything. Have you ever heard of a four year old saving a 18 year old from things she don't and couldn't even understand at her young age. I feel as if God sent her to me like she was what he knew I needed. That's why anything and everything she asks for I give to her. No matter what it is I will let her have, no matter the cost either. if I have it, it's hers. I am beyond grateful for her and to have her in my life. Also my coaches, I really appreciate them and the guidance they have given me and wisdom. They have helped point me down the right paths in my last months and weeks in high school. To pay what they have done to me forward I will offer my guidance and wisdom to those who are in need of it and who will come to me seeking help. I will do what I can to help them get through their troubles and anything else they will need my help with.
Kevin Castro
The University of Texas at AustinHouston, TX
Time should be impossible to stop let alone be stored but that’s the beauty in the gift of photography. Back in 2016, I was first introduced to the gift of photography. A close family friend took me along with him to capture photos of a camplike event where I was tasked with sorting the images. It was a simple task, mundane at best but I was happy to be part of the effort. Without hesitation, I completed my task and was surprised when I was offered the chance to go out and take some photos myself. The camera was almost as big as me and my kid-size hands could barely grip it but there my new passion was born. In the following years, my friend became my mentor and gave me the resources to develop my art. He showed me the ropes and helped me discover what photography truly was. Photography allowed me to dream, it gave me something to be excited about. By teaching me the art my friend enabled me to begin a career and even helped me become one of the top 150 artists in the state. He helped me reach my highest potential but most importantly through him, I learned that photography was more than taking pictures but a way of making others happy. At first glance, the delicacy of the art of photography can be overpassed by its frequency. Photos are everywhere, they are on our phones, our books, and our walls, but regardless of where they are at, they all hold a value. Photos have the magical capability of freezing time and capturing moments forever. A photo could mean so much to a person and the happiness it could bring is unmeasurable. Knowing this for the past years I’ve made it my mission to share the gift of photography. With everything my friend taught me I’ve been able to take “incredible” photos and gift them. Ever since comprehending the power of a photo I’ve taken photos for free at numerous events like graduation parties, baby showers, baptisms, and many more. For years now I adopted the habit of giving extra photos to my clients and even occasionally surprising them with prints of their photos without extra cost. In the same way, I’ve also gifted photography by capturing photos at my high school’s sports games. As an athlete myself I’ve always dreamt of having the “perfect” photo and having the opportunity to give someone else that “perfect” photo makes the extra effort worth it. Although I’ve been giving the gift of photography for the past years I believe I can do more. Recently I’ve been exploring new ways to give the gift of photography but the one, in particular, has grasped my attention; the idea of introducing someone new to the world of photography. Gifting photography is like no other gift, it cannot be bought in stores instead only a few can have the honor to give the gift of photography. Becoming a mentor for someone is now a goal and although it might be a far-fetched idea I know that there is a chance, just as it did to me, that photography can change someone’s life. Without knowing my friend gave me a gift that money could not buy and it is only fitting for me to do the same. In the future, I will continue to gift photography just as I’ve done to this day but now it’s also my goal and desire to mentor and show someone else the beauty in the gift of photography.
Britany Osollo Osollo
Texas A & M University-College StationHouston, TX
Ways in which others have given me, are the opportunities that my parents have offered me. Who left their own homes before they even knew themselves and moved to an unknown country with great hopes and jeopardizing their density to start at an unknown land. Having a dream is easy but not as easy as accomplishing it. Being a first-generation college student of an immigrant family and the oldest sibling can be both a blessing and a curse, because you can never disappoint them since they are extremely proud of everything you do. But we also go through a lot of personal experiences that we don’t tell others about because we feel embarrassment and fear of disappointing those who believe in us. However, that builds us and makes us stronger not because we struggle more than the average person but because we live with internal pressure. The pressure to prove that the many sacrifices that our parents made to give us a chance, the chance they never got in life is worth it. My way of thanking my parents is to attend college and prove how the sacrifices that were made for me to have a chance in my education were worth it. But also, to prove to myself how I can become a better person than the one I was the day before. My motivation is that I see my dad leave for work before the sun is even out and come back home after sun sets. By the time I get up for school he's already gone and by the time I'm ready to go to bed he's barely getting home. During summers he spends all day in the heat and during winter he spends all day in the cold just to give our family a better life. As the oldest I see many things and sacrifices that my parents do for us that my siblings don't see. Starting off with the sacrifices that my dad had to make to be in this country in the first place, it’s because of this that I've learned to value everything and every opportunity that is given to me and how to make the most out of it especially if I see the cost that my parents had to pay, not necessarily talking about financially or materialistic things. Going to college is the next step in my life. Something that nobody in my family is familiar with. While attending college and obtaining a bachelor’s in psychology I wish to work with kids and teenagers afterwards. Like mentioned before I've experienced many unenthusiastic events, but this has taught me how others can be going through rough scenes in their life or personal experiences that we don’t tell others about because we feel that fear of disappointing those who have great hope in us. This is also a way that I’m planning on giving back to people, by serving as a support, a safe place where people know they can talk to me without any negative feelings, to be there for people, because I know how it feels like to be alone. I want to give back to people and maybe even play a part in an impact within their life and teach them how you don't have to have a whole lot to want to do plenty and achieve great things. Everything thanks to my parents who came to this country with nothing, but they gave me everything.


When is the scholarship application deadline?

The application deadline is May 1, 2024. Winners will be announced on Jun 1, 2024.

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