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Elishah Pierre-Antoine

3760

Bold Points

2x

Nominee

2x

Finalist

1x

Winner

Bio

Hi I am an ambitious student with big dreams and hard work to back it up. I have many accolades from performing music and academic achievements. I hope to grow in my influence and capabilities to enhance the community around me through education, resources, and non-profits.

Education

Florida International University

Bachelor's degree program
2022 - 2025
  • Majors:
    • Finance and Financial Management Services

Everglades High School

High School
2017 - 2021

Miscellaneous

  • Desired degree level:

    Bachelor's degree program

  • Graduate schools of interest:

  • Transfer schools of interest:

  • Majors of interest:

    • Accounting and Finance
  • Not planning to go to medical school
  • Career

    • Dream career field:

      Performing Arts

    • Dream career goals:

      Music Composer

    • Taking care of Children

      Calvary Fellowship
      2019 – 20201 year

    Sports

    Soccer

    Intramural
    2011 – 20143 years

    Awards

    • Participation Award

    Arts

    • Calvary Fellowship

      Performance Art
      2019 I Did Youth Group Worship Every Other Friday , 2020 Performed in Youth Group Worship Every Other Friday, 2021-Present Youth Group Worship Performances
      2019 – Present
    • Everglades High School Gator Band

      Music
      2017 Tomorrow Land, 2018 We Need A Hero, 2019 Cirque du Soleil: La Nouba, 2018 Band MPA Evaluations, 2019 Band MPA Evaluations, 2020 Band MPA Evaluations
      2017 – 2021
    • ASM Music Schools

      Music
      Festival Piano Competitions 2012, Festival Competitions 2013, Festival Competitions 2014, Festival Competitions 2015, Festival Competitions 2015, Festival Competitions 2016, Festival Competitions 2017, Festival Competitions 2018, Festival Competitions 2019, Festival Competitions 2011, Festival Competitions 2010, 2013 Frankie Goes to Switzerland, 2014 The Gift, 2015 Who's Who, 2016 Lemmon Lodge, 2017 Star Crossed, 2018 Unhinged: An Addams Family Reunion, 2019 Charlie's Angels
      2008 – 2020

    Public services

    • Volunteering

      Calvary Fellowship — Lead church service in worship as a musician in the Worship Team
      2019 – Present
    • Volunteering

      Calvary Fellowship — Arranging Chairs, Managing Waste, & Clean up
      2015 – 2019
    • Volunteering

      Calvary Fellowship — Video Switcher
      2020 – Present

    Future Interests

    Advocacy

    Volunteering

    Philanthropy

    Entrepreneurship

    Our Destiny Our Future Scholarship
    My name is Elishah and I am a finance major. I grew up in a single-parent household but succeeded many times despite the odds. My situation, however, is not without its setbacks. We were evicted from my lifelong home in 2021. My mother struggled financially to take care of 3 kids and working as a nurse with long hours took a hard toll on her. Because of this, she didn’t have the proper time to cultivate our family and thus we grew distant from each other. I became a people pleaser who felt worthless because I didn’t have close relationships. My mom always told me that money is hard to come by so I should never waste it. This drove me to learn as much about finance and money as I possibly could so that I could have financial security in my future. The negative experiences in my family lead me to become a mental health advocate who encourages others to address their trauma and heal from wounds of the past. Throughout my life, I went through so many trials without any ounce of empathy from others, so I want to help others in that same hardship know that they have support. That’s why I’ve committed to making a positive impact on my community and will contribute more and more as I grow. That’s why I’ve participated in two Christmas drives, Operation Christmas Child and our own held at my local church. Additionally, I serve continuously at my local church to help improve the lives of those in our community. We have a youth group where I can instill values into young kids that would have helped me at their age. Every summer we have a life-changing youth camp for the kids so I aid in fundraising activities such as car washes. But I will commit to bigger efforts in the future. In the short term, I want to serve on projects done by generous organizations. For instance, I will volunteer every year to Sheridan House Family Ministries’ school supplies drive, commit to Calvary Chapel Fort Lauderdale’s Love Your Neighbor monthly outreach, and become a member of the Feeding South Florida center near me to help the hopeless. In the long term, I want to have such a big impact in my community that a person couldn’t even claim that there are no resources available to aid them. I want to take over or build my own philanthropic organization that focuses on giving people financial education, financial resources, and other resources so that way I can empower others to take action over their lives and walk into a bright future. I want to hold seminars throughout the community teaching people positive family values and attributes. Lastly, I want to decrease the homeless rate significantly. After being evicted, I could’ve been homeless if I didn’t have my sister’s place to stay. I want them to know that I empathize with them and am here to help. Why should a person care about others? Though the answer to this question may be disheveled by traumatic experiences I believe the correct answer indefinitely stays the same- “Because people need each other”. Mental and financial wellness can be significantly improved with the aid of a community. With the help of this scholarship, I can complete my finance degree and be one giant step closer to building a community plentiful of financial prospering, mental wellness, and familial harmony.
    Theresa Lord Future Leader Scholarship
    Education is hope. Point blank period. My name is Elishah and I am a finance student at Florida International University. I was born to a Haitian family in Miami, Florida. I plan on becoming an accountant. I want to learn all I can about finance to live a prosperous, wealthy life starting with becoming a CPA. But this desire did not come from anywhere and it did not come from a happy experience. My mother was unable to work for about 7 months due to a leg injury in 2018. Because of this, she was in a tight situation with our home mortgage. I didn't know about this until January 2021 when I found an eviction notice on my front door. The event felt so surreal but turned very real when we got evicted a week later. That was the only home I had lived in, so getting kicked out took a heavy toll. It felt like the worst point of my life. So how do you get through the most difficult periods in life? This is where resilience comes in. Perseverance can save your life. Learning to stay strong during tough times is a requirement, not an option. There are many values underlying perseverance: patience, emotional intelligence, stoicism, fortitude, and delusional confidence. Delusional confidence is a term I coined that means no matter how many times you have come up short, you still believe in your capability to succeed. I had to move 15 miles up north into my sister’s one-bedroom apartment with my brother and mother during a period when the housing market was hysterically overpriced and I still live in that situation right now. But no matter how strong the forces are against me I cannot lose if I do not quit. Success and failure are not defined by the outcomes, since we can’t fully control them, but rather by the choices we make in pivotal moments in our lives. That’s why I hope to use education as a means to reach my goals. The importance of it can be highlighted by where a lack of education leads a person. If a person doesn’t know how to spend their money right they can easily fall into debt and spend money on things they can’t afford. Not knowing how to manage their time could lead a person to have no progress to show off after years go by. Lastly, not learning from others’ mistakes can have you stepping in the same traps others previously stepped on. These are all avoided through knowledge acquired by education. That’s why I use the strength I have that comes from my belief in my strength and in God’s providence over my life to still find a way to seek education though I am 10 steps behind most people. Even though I live 25+ miles away from school I still find a way to attend in-person classes. Though I still don’t have a proper, comfortable home to live in I still seek gratitude for the things I do have and make the most of it though it is challenging. Though my ADHD doesn’t allow me to be capable of working while being a full-time student I still manage my financial aid and scholarships so that my mom does not have to worry about supporting me in paying for college. But it is with this scholarship that this standing can be sustained and further help me become a CPA. Education is empowerment which breeds hope. Though I struggle, with more access to education my future can be changed forever for the better.
    Walking In Authority International Ministry Scholarship
    My name is Elishah and I have officially decided that I do not care about other people anymore. I mean, why should I? Everybody loves taking but rarely do they give. What’s the point of serving others, anyway? My life has always been about me, so why should I waste my time investing in other people? At a point in time in my life I thought this way. Not because I actually was self-centered, but because I was sacrificing for people that didn’t value my efforts. When the tough situations came around for others and they asked for help, I would help. But when I was in trouble, nobody helped me out. So to protect myself, I made a commitment to sacrifice others for my own sake. You CAN’T care about other people because other people won’t care about you. But then things changed. People DID care. People DID make an effort for me. People valued ME. Those people were my amazing friends at my church. These people came into my life while I was on my journey to devalue others; they threw me for a loop. Why do they care? I haven’t proven I’m a good enough person to deserve this. I couldn’t help but think- is a life of caring only about myself and having no support truly what I wanted? The answer was no. Since I was young I wanted to have relationships where we would support each other. I CAN and SHOULD care about other people. Through the kindness given to me, I have learned the valuable lesson of giving back and passing the kind act forward. I get to encourage all of these principles by serving at my local church, Calvary Fellowship. For 3 years, I have served in 3 separate ministries including the youth ministry that I grew up attending. In that ministry, I get to minister to young kids & guide them through the troubles of life they haven’t learned to deal with. I chaperoned a 5-day summer camp trip for the youth called Surge, where they got to grow as people to learn positive ways to live their lives and uplift the lives of the people around them. For this camp, I also regularly served in our fundraisers such as car washes. We even raised enough money to let some kids go for free. Our church partners with a non-profit called Sheridan House Family Ministries and through this partnership, I have aided to donate numerous amount of toys as Christmas presents to the kids of struggling families for the past 2 years. I have a strong desire to learn about personal finance and grow enough wealth that I can semi-retire and focus on serving the community through financial literacy empowerment. I want to expand opportunities for learning financial literacy and competence, similar to how my local church hosts the Financial Peace University course by Dave Ramsey. I want to teach the principles that help people win in their finances and other areas of life. In the future, I would like to be a financial advisor helping individuals and companies reach their full potential financially. As stated before, giving back and sharing a positive uplifting message is the most important mission to me. When people learn about prioritizing their mental health, finances, and service to others it will pave the way for a community that collectively values growth, achievements, purpose, and aiding their fellow man.
    Augustus L. Harper Scholarship
    Education is hope. With education comes empowerment and with empowerment comes the ability to change. This ability can be enacted to make things better for my family and the surrounding community. Seeing this process happen in my own life was life-changing. Knowledge is a powerful tool that has the ability to empower individuals in many ways. When people have access to education, they are better equipped to make informed decisions and take control of their lives. Knowledge provides individuals with the skills and tools needed to succeed in various aspects of life, such as in the workplace, personal relationships, and personal growth. With knowledge, people can also become more confident and self-sufficient, as they can rely on their own abilities and expertise to solve problems and achieve their goals. Ultimately, knowledge is a key ingredient in empowering people to create positive change in their lives and in society as a whole. You ask why education is important so to emphasize this, let's look at where a lack of education leads. The instruction that wisdom has brought so much value to my life that I would be significantly further behind without it. For one, it has safeguarded me from making poor financial decisions. My friends once invited me to go to a concert this upcoming October. However, learning from people like Dave Ramsey has taught me to assess whether or not I can afford those things before spending the money. But after assessing my finances, I realized that it just wasn’t in the cards for me. I would have been $150 in the hole had I not been smart. Secondly, knowing about others’ mistakes gives me the insight to know how I would like my future to unfold. With that knowledge, I make the proper decisions now to build that future. I had a piano teacher throughout my childhood who, in high school, warned me of the difficulties of pursuing a career in music. The scarcity of opportunity, breakout luck, and good networking are big barriers to making a sustainable career in it. But my mom struggled hard to keep our family in a good community to grow up in, working 50 hours or more a week as a nurse. I don’t want that for my future, so instead of pursuing a music career, I want to become a business entrepreneur to build vast amounts of wealth and then eventually pursue a music career comfortably and help others reach financial stability through free financial education and opportunities. Entrepreneurship is difficult which is why it is a task that cannot be completed without EDUCATION. I will need all of the mentorships, experience, and knowledge possible. Education is empowerment which breeds hope. It has already been so powerful in my life and will continue to do so, which is why I want to gain so much knowledge and financial wealth that I can devote my life to giving the gift of financial education to as many people as possible. So many people struggle as my mother did financially but with more access to financial education and opportunities my family’s and local communities’ lives can be changed forever for the better. That is why education IS hope!
    Ginny Biada Memorial Scholarship
    Nobody is perfect; we affect each other in all sorts of ways both good and bad. Though we’ve had tough periods, my mom has had an immensely positive impact on who I am. My mom gave me, in every aspect of the word, resilience. Many factors go into building resilience and one of them is stability. To me, stability was an unchanging environment. I got to call one place home and foster long-lasting friendships. My mother understood the importance of consistency in a child's upbringing so she worked tirelessly to keep one roof over our heads. I’m sure to do so she made a commitment to it and never strayed from it. I learned about commitment the hard way. At a young age, I began piano lessons. It was fun at first but became a chore very quickly. I wanted to quit, however, my mom did not agree with that sentiment. For 6 years I hated piano. But then, I found a genre of music that I loved to play. This reinvigorated a passion for music in me. Though it hasn’t been easy, I have now been a pianist for 15 years. Nowadays, I always choose to work harder to complete my goals rather than give up. The inspiration to always step up to the plate comes from my mom's work ethic. My mom is a nurse who would work 12-hour shifts for up to six days a week. She had a lot of stressful night shifts where she was tending to patients, emergencies, and any task she was given by the doctors. Yet after 12 hours in this high-intensity environment, she still found time to cook, clean the house, and take me to and from school. The resilience that was passed on to me through commitment, strong work ethic, and stability were all from my mother who helped me become me. The stability I had in my life, thanks to her, let me have communities that I would keep for 10+ years. Additionally, I strayed from bad decisions because of the work ethic example my mom set. My mom would work longer hours than I could ever imagine. How could I not work hard when she was doing so much for me without complaint? I knew I needed to follow her example but I could never do that without commitment. You see, motivation is just a feeling that comes and goes like the tides. But a devoted commitment stands like a fortress on the beachside; it will not be moved by the storms. As Jesus said in Matthew 7, a wise man who builds his house on rock stands the force of a storm. But a man who builds his house on sand will see it fall to a storm’s ferocity. I thank God that I grew up in a Christian family where my mother valued principles in line with the Bible that would guide me faithfully throughout life. Proverbs 22:6 says “Train up a child in the way he should go; even when he is old he will not depart from it”. Now it’s been 4 years since I’ve begun faithfully serving at my local church, Calvary Fellowship. I plan to do more community outreach through my university, government services, & non-profits like Sheridan House Family Ministries. My mother embodied this verse beautifully in the way that I am forever changed by her. With her lessons as my parent, I will make a commitment to never stray from them using the resilience passed down to me.
    Cat Zingano Overcoming Loss Scholarship
    In life, there is the hurt of failure and there is the hurt of regret. I have known both of these but can conclude that the pain of regret is worse. To never make an effort is a tragic crime onto oneself. How many times do we deny ourselves of something before even giving the request a chance to be accepted? I learned this lesson the easy way but then had it reinforced the hard way when my dad died of a sudden stroke. It made me question things- why did we not connect extensively when I was younger? Why didn't I make an effort to do so? Why did things have to end in such a disappointing manner? This moment caused me to conclude When my dad died, I realized that the most important thing to me was living a life in a way where I would have no regrets. Because I had a multitude of them when I lost my time with him. But to live a life without regrets I first had to define to myself what truly mattered. So what would those be? That to me is being successful, having close relationships, and caring for my own well-being. There are multiple ways I want to be successful in my future. I’d like to become financially wealthy so that I don’t have to work and my family is taken care of. With that I would like to use my time to build a music career. I grew up playing the piano so I want to keep at it. Lastly, success to me is spending time being an active help in the community around me. With wealth comes the opportunity to invest more time into doing so. Another thing that matters to me most is my close relationships. The friends I’ve made over the last two years have essentially become my second family. Though I haven’t shared my troubles directly with all of them, they have ALL either directly or indirectly helped me through dealing with my father’s death. Because of that, I’ve made an effort to cultivate them the right way by handling conflicts in a healthy manner, always communicating, and maintaining honesty with one another. The last thing I’d like to mention that truly mattered to me is my well-being. I want to upkeep my mental health. Many ignore this until it’s too late and it is poisoning their close relationships and making them live unsustainable lives. That is why I must take care of it- I do not want to sabotage myself. Additionally, there is my physical health. I do not want to be ok with being overweight. I want to treasure my body and in the long run, it will pay off. The nightmare that was losing my dad was what made me fully comprehend the importance of these things. Each one of those things has a direct connection to my dad. My dad died from a sudden stroke. He suffered from high blood pressure that was caused by stress in his life from my parents’ relationship and divorce. I know he didn’t want a life of health problems for me because of it. I grew up chubby so he always encouraged me to take care of my body partially because of how he ended up. Through complicated circumstances, I lived with my dad for a year. That year I made the bold step to speak honestly about my feelings toward him and some of the gripes my brother and I had with him. He responded thoughtfully and understood where I was coming from. After that, I made a practice of sharing how I actually felt with him, and our relationship got significantly better. This made me realize how important honest communication is between loved ones. I use that principle now to cultivate strong relationships among my close friends and manage them when issues arise. My dad always financially struggled after my parents divorced. So as I got older he encouraged me to be smart with my money. I saw the struggles he went through and they affected me immensely, forcing me to realize the weight of my decisions with my financial decisions. I have met people that have struggled like me. Loss of their family members, unstable family dynamics, and other similar troubles. This makes me want to volunteer to make those situations better. Lastly, if there's one thing that got me through the tough times and dealing with his loss, it was music. Music was always there for me; its effect on people became very apparent to me afterward. Music is a gift that must be shared.
    Sloane Stephens Doc & Glo Scholarship
    I am proud of the fact that I have failed more than most people. Why would that be a boast, you may ask? Well, in life you will often attempt something and fail hard. These moments are incredibly discouraging and can be avoided by simply not trying. However, a person can use that experience to learn, enhance, and do better next time. This cycle of learning from your mistakes eventually cycles its way to success. But the only way to stay on the cycle until you succeed is through one trait: perseverance. "You will be practicing every day for hours this summer. It is embarrassing that I pay for you to just fail." My mother would say that to me at the end of every school year. That's because I was enrolled in a music school where we were required to compete against each other. I had to stay vigilant in improving my skills with the piano, but you can imagine how a child who loved video games handled that. The additional responsibility on top of school made life stressful. My parents thought the solution was even more pressure, but it was suffocating me. For most of my life, I didn’t meet the expectations of them or my teachers. My poor self-esteem caused me to suffer not only in music, but in education, social interactions, and self-care. So how do you get through the most difficult periods in life? This is where resilience comes in. Perseverance can save your life. Learning to stay strong during tough times is a requirement, not an option. There are many values underlying perseverance: patience, emotional intelligence, stoicism, fortitude, and delusional confidence. Delusional confidence is a term I coined that means no matter how many times you have come up short, you still believe in your capability to succeed. The number of times I received last place in EVERY category for years could easily prove the notion that I am a terrible pianist. Nonetheless, I still believed in my ability to improve. If I hadn't, then I would not have been able to make exponential progress and receive 1st place for three years in a row. The amalgamation of traits that create perseverance is what helped me survive my childhood struggles and come out as a better person. As an aspiring financial professional and entrepreneur, I know I will face a lot of trials. I hope to use financial education to build wealth and change the future for my family. But becoming wealthy is not an easy journey. There will be setbacks, mistakes, and unfair moments that will feel like nothing short of theft. I will have a lot to learn. I will likely disappoint myself, my family, and have business partners disappoint me. Yet I have faced those challenges before; I know that they will not define me nor be the end of my hopes and dreams. I will face them again with the utmost confidence. Nothing worth doing is easy, which is how I know this path is worthwhile. But the hard work, diligence, sacrifice, regrets, disappointments, and sleepless nights will not be endured without perseverance. People think that if they have failed a numerous amount of times in life then they are a failure. But so long as you commit to never relinquishing, then you are not a failure. That is why I can proudly boast from the tallest of buildings that I have failed more than most of my peers. Because even though I have failed a lot, there is one crucial thing I haven’t done- give up.
    Growing with Gabby Scholarship
    “Money doesn’t buy happiness.” That’s what everybody says. However, it sucks when you can’t afford to go on field trips as a kid. It wasn’t fun to be laughed at for the cheap clothes and worn-out school materials you used. Money could’ve avoided being evicted from my home one week after I turned 18; maybe it can’t buy happiness, but it could’ve purchased my father a better standard of living before his life was taken away from me in the blink of an eye that same year. On February 1st, the police knocked on our door and evicted us from our home. I remember so vividly what my dad said to me after all of our belongings had been thrown out in the front yard. He put his hand on my back and said “Don’t worry. You’re gonna get through this.” The sad part about that phrase was… it wouldn’t be with him. In August, I came home to my mom leaving and saying “your dad’s in the hospital. I’m going to visit him to see what’s going on”. This happened on a Wednesday night. By Sunday afternoon, August 15th, he was no longer with us. Before this, post-eviction, I had helped my dad move into a room he had rented that barely fit his air mattress and had roaches crawling around in it. After seeing that I couldn’t help but think “Why have our lives turned out like this? Is there no better way to live? Is there no way to achieve a better life?” I refused to believe the answer to that question was no. These experiences drove me. My perspective on everything shifted, and I came to realize multiple epiphanies. The first one would be that if your mental health is unwell, then every aspect of your life is unwell. In the time after these events, I was diagnosed with ADHD, along with a severe case of anxiety and depression. I would show up to work late every morning, have poor work performance, and struggle with feelings of dissociation. The second epiphany would be that people’s financial situation and their mental health are closely connected. People barely sustaining themselves on their paychecks are also barely satisfied with their life situations. It’s virtually impossible to be happy with your life when society tells you that it’s sub-par, undesirable, and you are seen as inferior because of it. And lastly, the most important epiphany: something had to change. Not just for me, but for the over 1 million Americans evicted since the pandemic. For single mothers like my mom who work tirelessly to make ends meet for years but still lose what they worked so hard for. For people like my dad who, back when I was a kid, lost almost everything in divorce and are barely able to take care of themselves. I embraced a new drive to make things better in the future than how they’ve turned out now. With my new ambition, I set a goal for my career: I will build wealth to retire early, then use the excess financial wealth I have to uplift as many people struggling as possible. As a studying finance major, I take small steps toward that goal every day. Since I am still in financial need myself, it is only with this scholarship that I can pass the assistance on forward. This scholarship will do for me what I would like to do for others in the future.
    Your Dream Music Scholarship
    Does sympathy still exist? In my experience, I would say not enough. Many people I grew up around were selfish, uncaring, and manipulative. As a kid that grew up without sympathy from others, my struggles felt belittled and unimportant. But then I came across a song called Why the Caged Bird Sings by Jake Runestad. This song’s message gave me a ray of hope that empathy was still present. The lyrics sing about a caged bird and its emotions. It is frustrated that it is in a terrible inescapable situation. The scholar Alan Burns remarks that the poem is about “the frustration of perceiving a better life that one cannot obtain”. One line that is repeatedly said throughout the piece is “I know what the caged bird feels”. I, myself, empathize with the caged bird. It represents me and my journey through my own struggles. This song makes me feel that there is someone out there who can understand my pain and assist me through it. This song’s message of providing sympathy for those who are hurt has supported me through many hard moments. Most importantly, the song makes me realize the importance of support through hardship. It hurts my heart to think there is another person out there like me who goes through trials by themself. That’s why I have faithfully served at my local church, Calvary Fellowship, helping people grow mentally and spiritually to lead positive lives for 3 years now. To boost my impact, I plan to volunteer at Sheridan House Family Ministries to help support distressed families because this song has emboldened me to act on the most important message of all: we must be there to support hurting people.
    Firstcard-Scholarship for Students
    What do you care about the most? Many people would say family, career, friends, helping others, or something else. Now look back at the last 30 things you have spent money on. Do the things you’re spending money on reflect the answer you gave previously? A podcast I listened to called The Personal Finance Podcast with Andrew Giancola shared this invaluable lesson with me: save your money on things that don’t really matter so you can spend it on stuff that you truly value. At first, the lesson didn’t make sense to me. If I’m spending money on something, then of course I care about it. But after running short on money continually, the principle finally clicked in my head. If you asked me what I cared about the most, I would probably answer physical health, music, video games (as a hobby), personal finance, and investing in my future. But if you were to ask me what were the last 30 things I have spent money on, there would be a clear cognitive dissonance going on. I had been spending much of my money on restaurant outings and unhealthy fast food. Looking back, these were needless things that I could have gone without buying. The money would be better spent buying a new video game I enjoy or on a new instrument for me to play. Additionally, much of my allowance could have been saved to then be invested in low-cost index funds and ETFs to accumulate wealth for my future. This personal finance tip helped me realize the importance of prioritization and my lack of it. When you cut back on things you don’t care about to spend money on things you value, you can focus more spending on things you actually care about. When it comes to my purchases nowadays I test myself before buying. Most things I buy must be high in one of the following three qualities: memorability, value, or longevity. Memorability is the notion of if a purchase will give me an experience that I will look back fondly on. Value is the idea that a purchase will enhance my life in a good way. Longevity is how long will the product last. For instance, does a $20 meal at a restaurant have good memorability, value, or longevity? Well if I’m at the restaurant with friends, I can still enjoy the moment without having to buy food, nevertheless spending $20. In most cases, it hinders my life rather than bringing value. Many restaurant meals are unhealthy, which does not line up with my physical health goals. Lastly, a simple meal has no longevity. After considering these 3 qualities I can come to the conclusion that dining at restaurants is not something I should spend money on since I don’t actually value it. So, what do you value? I encourage every college student to ask themselves what they value and focus on spending on that so they can allocate more money to those things. University students waste their money the most, but it is also their money that is worth the most in the stock market due to the long time horizon. That’s why it is so important for students to learn all about personal finance right now so that they can buy freedom in the future rather than paying for their past; this can be in a literal sense with loans. As a finance student, I have prioritized financial literacy and hope to use it to empower myself and one day my community with the help of this scholarship.
    Act Locally Scholarship
    The main change I want to see in my community is an uplifting of mental health and emotional soundness. I hope to influence everyone I know to uphold high self-esteem and take care of themselves. I want to promote loving yourself. In this world, it is so prioritized to value others but when nobody does that for you, it makes you feel used. You feel like you're the only one trying to be generous while everybody else is focusing on taking for themselves. This causes a person to look to others to define their identity. This doesn't go well since other people don't care about that person. Instead of looking to others for your self-esteem, I want to encourage people to look inward & realize that they should value themselves just as much as they value other people. They are not secondary, but primary. Once you reach a healthy position in your relationship with yourself, then you can take the time to share that positive message with others. This is the journey that I have trodden on. Through the kindness given to me, I have learned the valuable lesson of giving back and passing the kind act forward. I get to encourage all of these principles by serving at my local church, Calvary Fellowship. As a musician, I serve on the worship team in 3 separate ministries including the youth ministry that I grew up attending. This January will have marked 3 years of me consistently serving. In the last 2 years, however, I have continually increased my involvement. In 2021, I and a few friends organized shoe boxes filled with toys for the church which partnered with Samaritan’s Purse for a program called Operation Christmas Child to donate to the kids of single-mom families for Christmas. This year, our church did its own toy drive, and our young adults’ ministry banded together to collectively double the number of toys donated. As stated before, giving back and sharing a positive uplifting message is the most important mission to me. With these things, I can uplift those who are struggling through terrible mental health struggles with seemingly no hope. Lastly, I want to instill in them the same virtue of paying kindness forward. When people learn about prioritizing their mental health, loving themselves, and sharing that same positive message with others who struggle with mental health, it will pave the way for a community that collectively values growth, emotional intelligence, healthy relationships, and aiding their fellow man.
    Femi Chebaís Scholarship
    My goal in life consists of 3 things. One is to become financially independent so that way I can take care of my mom and have more free time to spend with my family. Secondly, I hope to start a financial literacy program to help uplift others out of the rough situations they are in, as I have been in throughout my life. Lastly, I hope to start a scholarship fund to help local students pay for college, as I have benefitted from the opportunity to apply for scholarships that help fund my college education.
    Ruthie Brown Scholarship
    I held off college for one year to take a longer break from school. In August of 2021, I picked up a job as a tutor and got a 2nd job in January. The opportunity, while it was great, made me understand that I didn’t have the capabilities to work and do school at the same time. I had struggled mentally before throughout my last 2 years of high school, especially because of the pandemic. But it was all affirmed when in December I saw a psychiatrist that diagnosed me with ADHD, anxiety, and depression. With this diagnosis and my previous experience of how worse these disorders made school, I knew for sure that when I started college I wanted my full focus on being a student and not on a job. But this was a big financial goal. Because of this, I took out more debt to help with living costs that I will eventually need to pay back. However, I am not hopeless in repaying these debts. My main weapon to combat student loan debt is scholarships. Since I don’t have a real job, scholarships act as my stand-in “job” to help pay for tuition fees, class fees, materials, and living expenses. I have applied to 37 scholarships but plan to up the ante and will be applying to at least 8-12 scholarships a month. If I become a proficient scholarship seeker, then it will cover a significant amount of my debt. My secondary tool to help address my student loan debt is my major and future work career. I am a finance major and look forward to working in banking. Banking is a high-paying career, with employees making $50,000-$100,000 in the earlier parts of their careers. If I continue to live with my family post-graduation, get a good job, and use the scholarships I accumulated to pay off some of my debt, then my post-university career will be able to provide the funds to pay for the rest of it within a reasonable time. As a black Haitian man and the son of immigrants, I feel the expectation to be financially successful so as to make my parents’ sacrifice yield fruitful results. As I have gotten older I have adopted this responsibility and plan to do so. I will make sure my mom will not have to worry about retirement and that my own future family will be secure. With this scholarship, I will be one step closer to making my and my family’s dream come true. With less debt, more of my money can go to building a thriving career that helps one more minority fulfill the American dream. In fact, I plan on opening my own scholarship fund one day in the future to help pay forward the opportunity of being debt free. Thus, even with things like debt and mental disorders that hold me back, I still look to the future with bright expectations. Just because there are factors that hold us back does not mean we can’t accomplish great things. Success and failure are outcomes that are out of our control. While we may be able to heavily influence it, many times we won’t have the final say. Nevertheless, the decisions we make during the impactful moments of our lives are completely ours to rule over. No matter what our limitations are, it is in our hands whether we become bitter, finger-pointing quitters or powerful, passionate forces for giving to those in need.
    Elevate Mental Health Awareness Scholarship
    “Money doesn’t buy happiness.” That’s what everybody says. However, it certainly does suck when you can’t afford to go on field trips as a kid. It wasn’t fun to be made fun of for the cheap clothes and worn-out school materials you used. “Money doesn’t buy happiness”, but it sure could’ve avoided being evicted from my home one week after I turned 18. Maybe it can’t buy happiness, but it could’ve bought my father a better standard of living before his life was taken away from me in the blink of an eye that same year. On February 1st, the police knocked on our door and evicted us from our home. I remember so vividly what my dad said to me after all of our belongings had been thrown out in the front yard. He put his hand on my back and said “Don’t worry. You’re gonna get through this.” The sad part about that phrase was… it wouldn’t be with him. In August, I came home to my mom leaving and saying “your dad’s in the hospital. I’m going to visit him to see what’s going on”. This happened on a Wednesday night. By Sunday afternoon, August 15th, he was no longer with us. Before this, post-eviction, I had helped my dad move into a room he had rented that barely fit his air mattress and had roaches crawling around in it. After seeing that I couldn’t help but think “Why have our lives turned out like this? Is there no better way to live? Is there no way to achieve a better life?” I refused to believe the answer to that question was no. These experiences drove me. My perspective on everything shifted, and I came to realize multiple epiphanies. The first one would be that if your mental health is unwell, then every aspect of your life is unwell. In the time after these events, I was diagnosed with ADHD, along with a severe case of anxiety and depression. I would show up to work late every morning, doing tasks took twice as long as they should have, and I would struggle with feelings of dissociation. The second epiphany would be that people’s financial situation and their mental health are closely connected. People barely sustaining themselves on their paychecks are also barely satisfied with their life situations. It’s virtually impossible to be happy with your life when society tells you that it’s sub-par, undesirable, and you are seen as inferior because of it. And lastly, the final and most important epiphany: something had to change. Not just for me, but for the over 1 million Americans that were evicted since the pandemic. For single mothers like my mom who work tirelessly to make ends meet for years but still lose what they worked so hard for. For people like my dad who, back when I was a kid, lost almost everything in divorce and are barely able to take care of themselves. I embraced a new drive to make things better in the future than how they’ve turned out now. I serve as a small group leader for the youth organization at my local church, Calvary, and I have already begun my journey to understand how to properly support people in hard times by teaching the kids to learn from my own experiences in their position. We focus on putting the kids down the right path when they have so many influences at school and possibly at home leading them down the wrong ones. With my new ambition, I set a goal for my career: I am going to buy my freedom back. I will build wealth to retire early. Then, I am going to use the excess financial wealth I have to pull up as many people struggling as possible. I will use the time I “buy” back to serve at non-profit organizations that work to serve the financially unwell. I am going to start my own non-profit that works to financially educate and empower the common working class. And lastly, I would like to open a scholarship fund so that kids with big dreams like me have the chance to see them become reality. By addressing people’s financial issues, I aim to bring hope into their lives and give them something to be joyful about. Since I am still in financial need myself, it is only with this scholarship that I can pass the assistance on forward. As a Finance major at Florida International University, I hope to learn more and more about the finance industry and make a significant amount of money so I can escape the rat race that my mom and dad have not been able to escape. This scholarship will do for me what I would like to do for others in the future.
    Bold Learning and Changing Scholarship
    Winner
    What defines you? Who defines you? How do you find your identity? I used to think it was simply how other people viewed you. So how did I see myself? Growing up with the discipline of learning the piano, I constantly had to stay vigilant in improving. You could imagine how well 7-year-old Elishah, who was into video games and cartoons, handled that. I couldn’t bear the responsibility many times. The conflict between what I wanted and what my parents wanted caused problems. I grew to resent piano and thus did poorly. My parents thought the answer was even more pressure, denying consideration of my feelings or any pleading of mine to let me quit. For years I didn’t meet their expectations or my teachers’. My poor self-esteem and confidence caused me to suffer not only in music, but in education, social interactions, and self-care. According to them, I was defined as a failure. But throughout life, I learned something that changed everything: What truly defines a person is their decisions. So long as you commit to never giving up, then you are not a failure. This perspective shift impacted me immensely. It allowed me to see myself in a new light. I wasn’t a failure. Success and failure are outcomes that no matter how we delude ourselves we can’t control. We may have major influence over it but not the final say. However, the decisions we make in the deciding moments are completely ours to rule over. I was a boy who got back up when every loss told me to stay down. I metamorphosized from a boy defined by the world’s standards to a young man that is characterized by his ability to move forward in spite of everything that wants to hold me back.
    Bold Mental Health Awareness Scholarship
    Mental health is one of the most difficult issues. It has so many intricate details that make the topic delicate. While I write this, I struggle with my own mental health issues. Depression, ADHD, anxiety, and stress have all plagued my life. That’s why I’d like to share what’s helped me. One practical solution that can help people is vocally expressing their burdens to others. This step is always advertised as the first step, but the complexities of this first step that make it difficult are not discussed enough. Because of that many people know the first step but will never take it. One intricacy is people who feel that “sharing my emotions doesn’t feel right.” This is a common stigma developed amongst people who grew up in environments where emotional suppression was encouraged. But there is a phrase that can be used to battle that mindset: trust the process. The discomfort you feel now will be worth it years down the line when you are fully healed of your trauma. Another is the notion that “only weak people express their feelings.” This statement implies a distorted interpretation of what it means to be strong. Does being strong mean handling all of your troubles by yourself even if you are bound to be destroyed under the weight? Or does it mean doing whatever it takes to reach a positive outcome no matter how difficult or uncomfortable? One of them sounds better to me. If we all took the time to have at least one person’s back by checking up on them, helping them through a difficult period, or encouraging them to see a professional, then we could collectively lift the burdens afflicting all of us. That way, we could take one step forward together.
    Bold Creativity Scholarship
    I still remember in 5th grade when I started an art project by just drawing random lines. Yup. Just a bunch of zigzags, squiggly lines, and arrows in an amalgamation of red, blue, yellow, and hot pink. I didn't know what was doing. But I guess was trying to find my way around writer's block. I didn’t have any great ideas so I thought, "how about something random?" You can imagine that my art teacher did not exactly agree with my artistic process. But what else could I do? How do you learn to be creative? How do you learn to come up with something original? Funny enough, I actually do believe there's an answer to that. That answer is understanding change and what you have favor towards. Once you combine those two factors together, you're on your way to becoming a creative connoisseur. Here's an example: I would like you to imagine you saw a painting of a grassfield with a blue sky. Looks nice doesn't it? Well, we already see that so many times in real life. Why don't we change something? That's where creativity starts. Maybe instead of a blue sky it's red. No, most people won't like that as it is menacing. How about a light purple? That would look nice. Now you understand what you favor. Green grass is also overplayed, so how about yellow grass? You know what, let's add a blue sun. You see, my creative process comes from identifying all the aspects of a work and directly modifying those aspects. Once you attack a creative process in that format, it gives a gateway for even the most straightedge person to understand how they can be creative. Creativity CAN be cultivated with the right mindset and proper experience.
    3LAU "Everything" Scholarship
    It's music. Music is my everything. To ask what represents your everything is a very heavy question. One that can either be very easy or very difficult to answer. To me, though, it is a very straightforward answer that has a lot of sorrow and past hardships in its meaning. For many years, playing the piano was just a hardship that my mother forced me to continue. My only reason for practicing was so my mom wouldn't yell at me to practice. My only reason to learn was so my piano teacher didn't embarrass me in front of other students or give me a hard time during our one-on-one lesson. But then something changed. I found music that inspired me. I found music that made me feel good. I found music that I was astonishingly impressed by. Once I had that, I realized that music had the power to heal, even if it’s trauma from music. Linked is one of the main songs that saved me.
    "What Moves You" Scholarship
    What is the biggest regret you have? I have a quote from a fictional character that has helped me a ton in these past few months. It's super helpful and I think everybody should know it. It's from Levi Ackerman and he says, "You make the decision that you think you'll regret the least and hope for the best". This scene was so powerful to me after rewatching it because it gave me perspective on my own life. I've made a lot of decisions and a lot of them were mistakes. I have regretted a lot of them quite severely so I know how regret feels. But this quote really puts life into a new perspective for me. It makes me put regret into account when I choose possibilities for my future. I've grown up playing the piano for 13 years now. While I could go to college, get a finance degree, and just work at a bank or in a company for years, switching jobs at times to get a higher pay raise, what will I think when I'm so old that I only have my past to look back on? Will I be satisfied with the mediocre life style that was an okay path to go, or will I regret having never tried to be a musician as a career? If there's one thing regret has taught me, it's that trying and failing will always be better than never trying it all. Because the regret of how much better your life could have turned out will eat away at you and never go away. So even though I'll be making a much riskier decision, will go through harder trials, and may fail horribly, I choose the option that is less safe. Because that is the decision that I will regret the least and will be content with. I think everybody, including the person reading this, should take this course of action or at the very least take it into consideration.
    "Wise Words" Scholarship
    I have a quote from a fictional character that has helped me a ton in these past few months. It's super helpful and I think everybody should know it. It's from Levi Ackerman from Attack on Titan. He says, "You make the decision that you think you'll regret the least and hope for the best". This scene was so powerful to me after rewatching it because it gave me perspective on my own life. I've made a lot of decisions, obviously, and a lot of them were mistakes. I have regretted a lot of them quite severely, and I think some of my regrets have grown into a subliminal self-hatred. But this quote really puts life into a new perspective for me. We always make the decisions we think are best, and it just so happens that it ends either good or bad. At the end of the day, we make do with the information and knowledge we have at the moment of our decision. I always somewhat hated myself for past decisions. Whether that be not hanging out with people when I could, participating in clubs/organizations, or missing out on big opportunities. I never realized it until I thought about it, but I did. But this quote gives a message of grace and forgiveness. It's not like my past self was trying to sabotage my life. It's not like past me wanted my future version to be full of regrets. I was only a kid. I made the decisions I made because I thought they were the best for me, and I didn't know better. So naturally, the next step after recognizing this is forgiveness. Forgiving myself for my past decisions that ended badly, forgiving others for their decisions that ended badly on me, and letting go of regret. After internalizing this quote, I had an epiphany: having grace with myself is just as important as having grace with others. I’ve made mistakes, and I'm gonna keep making mistakes. All I can do after the fact is learn from them and forgive myself, because I know from experience that holding onto regret hinders you from moving into the future. So I must let go of them and keep moving forward. After all, that's the only path we can take.