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Jillian Vandal

3775

Bold Points

2x

Finalist

Bio

I have been working in special education for the past 7 years. I originally earned my undergraduate degree in Secondary Education/History from Keene State College in New Hampshire and had my heart set on becoming a Social Studies teacher. Upon moving back to Massachusetts it was very difficult to find a Social Studies job so I took a position as a paraprofessional. I loved working with students in the general education classroom and began to realize the patience and positivity I displayed with students. I set high expectations for students and wanted them to excel in whatever capacity they could in life. After 2 years being a paraprofessional I took a job as a Special Education teacher and am going into my 6th year teaching and working with students who have moderate disabilities. I love my job! I obtained my initial license in Moderate Disabilities 5-12 and in History as well. I am enrolled in a Masters program for Moderate Disabilities because I know it will further my knowledge and help me to pursue a professional license. Special Education is an area that is continually growing with studies showing nearly 7 million or 14% of public school students receive special education services. With more learning disabilities being identified the need for highly qualified teachers to support these students is imperative. It is my goal to continue teaching and inspiring special education students, obtain a professional license in moderate disabilities, and gain skills and knowledge from Worcester State University that will help me achieve these goals.

Education

Worcester State University

Master's degree program
2022 - 2025
  • Majors:
    • Education, Other

Keene State College

Bachelor's degree program
2011 - 2015
  • Majors:
    • History
  • Minors:
    • Holocaust and Related Studies

Dartmouth High School

High School
2007 - 2011

Miscellaneous

  • Desired degree level:

    Doctoral degree program (PhD, MD, JD, etc.)

  • Graduate schools of interest:

  • Transfer schools of interest:

  • Majors of interest:

    • Special Education and Teaching
  • Not planning to go to medical school
  • Career

    • Dream career field:

      Higher Education

    • Dream career goals:

      To become a director or administrator in special education.

    • Education Office Assistant - Work Study

      Keene State College
      2013 – 20152 years
    • Seafood/Deli Clerk

      Shaws
      2013 – 20152 years
    • Special Education Teacher

      GLCPS
      2017 – 20225 years
    • Paraprofessional

      GLCPS
      2015 – 20172 years
    • Special Education Teacher

      DMS
      2022 – Present2 years

    Sports

    Softball

    Varsity
    2008 – 20113 years

    Awards

    • Varsity Letter

    Research

    • Economics

      Financial Freedom - Retirement — Researcher: IRAs, 403b, Pension
      2017 – Present

    Arts

    • Music
      2011 – Present

    Public services

    • Volunteering

      Humane Society Southcoast — Care giver
      2012 – Present

    Future Interests

    Advocacy

    Politics

    Volunteering

    Philanthropy

    Entrepreneurship

    RonranGlee Special Needs Teacher Literary Scholarship
    The bell rings and students begin to file into the first period of the day. Various lessons have been prepped, collaboration with co-teachers completed, and necessary modifications for students are in place. Worksheets for each subject have been made for some that are several grade levels below the standard. I’ve made sure all parent contacts, IEP’s and testing are up to date on my caseload prior to the day. It is about to be a great middle school day and I’m eager for my students to be able to attain and access new skills in class. Until the unexpected slowly unfolds. One student becomes agitated when they realize that not only have they forgotten to charge their laptop, but they’ve also forgotten their materials for class, another struggles to focus and admits to not taking their morning medicine, another is ready for a break 5 minutes in and needs to make a choice on their PBIS chart, and finally the student in the corner can barely stay awake from not having slept the night before. The General Education teacher begins to work through the lesson as I move around the room to address their various issues and needs in the full inclusion classroom. I then either pull students to work in a small group on the daily lesson or rotate around the room providing accommodations for the students I service. I make mental notes of what I will need to reteach later on in academic support. Being mindful of each student’s individual strengths and weaknesses in each subject to give students the best opportunity for success. After 45 minutes one class is over and on to the next. Five more classes in the day to go and only 45 minutes to plan for the next unexpected day. Only 45 minutes in the day to contact parents, collaborate with content teachers, prep an IEP meeting, track data, write progress reports, prep worksheets and tests, run an IEP meeting. I have been working in special education for the past 7 years. I originally earned my undergraduate degree in Secondary Education/History from Keene State College in New Hampshire and had my heart set on becoming a Social Studies teacher. Upon moving back to Massachusetts it was very difficult to find a Social Studies job so I took a position as a paraprofessional. I loved working with students in the general education classroom and began to realize the patience and positivity I displayed with students. I set high expectations for students and wanted them to excel in whatever capacity they could in life. After 2 years being a paraprofessional I took a job as a Special Education teacher and am going into my 6th year teaching and working with students who have moderate disabilities. I know this scholarship will help me further my knowledge and pursue a Masters degree. Special Education is an area that is continually growing with studies showing nearly 7 million or 14% of public school students receive special education services. With more learning disabilities being identified the need for highly qualified teachers to support these students is imperative. It is my goal to continue teaching and inspiring special education students, obtain a professional license in moderate disabilities, and gain skills and knowledge from Worcester State University that will help me achieve these goals. Success to me is to further my education like no one else has done in my family before so that way I can further the education of the students I teach each day. Success as a teacher is helping those students reach success themselves and to guide them to depths they never thought were possible. One parent told me this school year “Thank you for all you have done for our daughter this year. We know your work is not easy but the world is a better place with people like you in it. Thank you for taking the time to understand our girl and help her achieve her potential. We wish you the very best for the summer and next year. “ That is when I realized my dream was becoming a reality too!
    Student Life Photography Scholarship
    Social Anxiety Step Forward Scholarship
    The bell rings and students begin to file into the first period of the day. Various lessons have been prepped, collaboration with co-teachers completed, and necessary modifications for students are in place. Worksheets for each subject have been made for some that are several grade levels below the standard. I’ve made sure all parent contacts, IEP’s and testing are up to date on my caseload prior to the day. It is about to be a great middle school day and I’m eager for my students to be able to attain and access new skills in class. Until the unexpected slowly unfolds. One student becomes agitated when they realize that not only have they forgotten to charge their laptop, but they’ve also forgotten their materials for class, another struggles to focus and admits to not taking their morning medicine, another is ready for a break 5 minutes in and needs to make a choice on their PBIS chart, and finally the student in the corner can barely stay awake from not having slept the night before. The General Education teacher begins to work through the lesson as I move around the room to address their various issues and needs in the full inclusion classroom. I then either pull students to work in a small group on the daily lesson or rotate around the room providing accommodations for the students I service. I make mental notes of what I will need to reteach later on in academic support. Being mindful of each student’s individual strengths and weaknesses in each subject to give students the best opportunity for success. After 45 minutes one class is over and on to the next. Five more classes in the day to go and only 45 minutes to plan for the next unexpected day. Only 45 minutes in the day to contact parents, collaborate with content teachers, prep an IEP meeting, track data, write progress reports, prep worksheets and tests, run an IEP meeting. I have been working in special education for the past 7 years. I originally earned my undergraduate degree in Secondary Education/History from Keene State College in New Hampshire and had my heart set on becoming a Social Studies teacher. Upon moving back to Massachusetts it was very difficult to find a Social Studies job so I took a position as a paraprofessional. I loved working with students in the general education classroom and began to realize the patience and positivity I displayed with students. I set high expectations for students and wanted them to excel in whatever capacity they could in life. After 2 years being a paraprofessional I took a job as a Special Education teacher and am going into my 6th year teaching and working with students who have moderate disabilities. I know this scholarship will help me further my knowledge and pursue a Masters degree. Special Education is an area that is continually growing with studies showing nearly 7 million or 14% of public school students receive special education services. With more learning disabilities being identified the need for highly qualified teachers to support these students is imperative. It is my goal to continue teaching and inspiring special education students, obtain a professional license in moderate disabilities, and gain skills and knowledge from Worcester State University that will help me achieve these goals. Success to me is to further my education like no one else has done in my family before so that way I can further the education of the students I teach each day. Success as a teacher is helping those students reach success themselves.
    Philip and Jacqueline Benincasa Education Scholarship
    The bell rings and students begin to file into the first period of the day. Various lessons have been prepped, collaboration with co-teachers completed, and necessary modifications for students are in place. Worksheets for each subject have been made for some that are several grade levels below the standard. I’ve made sure all parent contacts, IEP’s and testing are up to date on my caseload prior to the day. It is about to be a great middle school day and I’m eager for my students to be able to attain and access new skills in class. Until the unexpected slowly unfolds. One student becomes agitated when they realize that not only have they forgotten to charge their laptop, but they’ve also forgotten their materials for class, another struggles to focus and admits to not taking their morning medicine, another is ready for a break 5 minutes in and needs to make a choice on their PBIS chart, and finally the student in the corner can barely stay awake from not having slept the night before. The General Education teacher begins to work through the lesson as I move around the room to address their various issues and needs in the full inclusion classroom. I then either pull students to work in a small group on the daily lesson or rotate around the room providing accommodations for the students I service. I make mental notes of what I will need to reteach later on in academic support. Being mindful of each student’s individual strengths and weaknesses in each subject to give students the best opportunity for success. After 45 minutes one class is over and on to the next. Five more classes in the day to go and only 45 minutes to plan for the next unexpected day. Only 45 minutes in the day to contact parents, collaborate with content teachers, prep an IEP meeting, track data, write progress reports, prep worksheets and tests, run an IEP meeting. I have been working in special education for the past 7 years. I originally earned my undergraduate degree in Secondary Education/History from Keene State College in New Hampshire and had my heart set on becoming a Social Studies teacher. Upon moving back to Massachusetts it was very difficult to find a Social Studies job so I took a position as a paraprofessional. I loved working with students in the general education classroom and began to realize the patience and positivity I displayed with students. I set high expectations for students and wanted them to excel in whatever capacity they could in life. After 2 years being a paraprofessional I took a job as a Special Education teacher and am going into my 6th year teaching and working with students who have moderate disabilities. I know this scholarship will help me further my knowledge and pursue a Masters degree. Special Education is an area that is continually growing with studies showing nearly 7 million or 14% of public school students receive special education services. With more learning disabilities being identified the need for highly qualified teachers to support these students is imperative. It is my goal to continue teaching and inspiring special education students, obtain a professional license in moderate disabilities, and gain skills and knowledge from Worcester State University that will help me achieve these goals. Success to me is to further my education like no one else has done in my family before so that way I can further the education of the students I teach each day. Success as a teacher is helping those students reach success themselves.
    Mental Health Scholarship for Women
    The bell rings and students begin to file into the first period of the day. Various lessons have been prepped, collaboration with co-teachers completed, and necessary modifications for students are in place. Worksheets for each subject have been made for some that are several grade levels below the standard. I’ve made sure all parent contacts, IEP’s and testing are up to date on my caseload prior to the day. It is about to be a great middle school day and I’m eager for my students to be able to attain and access new skills in class. Until the unexpected slowly unfolds. One student becomes agitated when they realize that not only have they forgotten to charge their laptop, but they’ve also forgotten their materials for class, another struggles to focus and admits to not taking their morning medicine, another is ready for a break 5 minutes in and needs to make a choice on their PBIS chart, and finally the student in the corner can barely stay awake from not having slept the night before. The General Education teacher begins to work through the lesson as I move around the room to address their various issues and needs in the full inclusion classroom. I then either pull students to work in a small group on the daily lesson or rotate around the room providing accommodations for the students I service. I make mental notes of what I will need to reteach later on in academic support. Being mindful of each student’s individual strengths and weaknesses in each subject to give students the best opportunity for success. After 45 minutes one class is over and on to the next. Five more classes in the day to go and only 45 minutes to plan for the next unexpected day. Only 45 minutes in the day to contact parents, collaborate with content teachers, prep an IEP meeting, track data, write progress reports, prep worksheets and tests, run an IEP meeting. I have been working in special education for the past 7 years. I originally earned my undergraduate degree in Secondary Education/History from Keene State College in New Hampshire and had my heart set on becoming a Social Studies teacher. Upon moving back to Massachusetts it was very difficult to find a Social Studies job so I took a position as a paraprofessional. I loved working with students in the general education classroom and began to realize the patience and positivity I displayed with students. I set high expectations for students and wanted them to excel in whatever capacity they could in life. After 2 years being a paraprofessional I took a job as a Special Education teacher and am going into my 6th year teaching and working with students who have moderate disabilities. I know this scholarship will help me further my knowledge and pursue a Masters degree. Special Education is an area that is continually growing with studies showing nearly 7 million or 14% of public school students receive special education services. With more learning disabilities being identified the need for highly qualified teachers to support these students is imperative. It is my goal to continue teaching and inspiring special education students, obtain a professional license in moderate disabilities, and gain skills and knowledge from Worcester State University that will help me achieve these goals. Success to me is to further my education like no one else has done in my family before so that way I can further the education of the students I teach each day. Success as a teacher is helping those students reach success themselves.
    Dr. Connie M. Reece Future Teacher Scholarship
    The bell rings and students begin to file into the first period of the day. Various lessons have been prepped, collaboration with co-teachers completed, and necessary modifications for students are in place. Worksheets for each subject have been made for some that are several grade levels below the standard. I’ve made sure all parent contacts, IEP’s and testing are up to date on my caseload prior to the day. It is about to be a great middle school day and I’m eager for my students to be able to attain and access new skills in class. Until the unexpected slowly unfolds. One student becomes agitated when they realize that not only have they forgotten to charge their laptop, but they’ve also forgotten their materials for class, another struggles to focus and admits to not taking their morning medicine, another is ready for a break 5 minutes in and needs to make a choice on their PBIS chart, and finally the student in the corner can barely stay awake from not having slept the night before. The General Education teacher begins to work through the lesson as I move around the room to address their various issues and needs in the full inclusion classroom. I then either pull students to work in a small group on the daily lesson or rotate around the room providing accommodations for the students I service. I make mental notes of what I will need to reteach later on in academic support. Being mindful of each student’s individual strengths and weaknesses in each subject to give students the best opportunity for success. After 45 minutes one class is over and on to the next. Five more classes in the day to go and only 45 minutes to plan for the next unexpected day. Only 45 minutes in the day to contact parents, collaborate with content teachers, prep an IEP meeting, track data, write progress reports, prep worksheets and tests, run an IEP meeting. I have been working in special education for the past 7 years. I originally earned my undergraduate degree in Secondary Education/History from Keene State College in New Hampshire and had my heart set on becoming a Social Studies teacher. Upon moving back to Massachusetts it was very difficult to find a Social Studies job so I took a position as a paraprofessional. I loved working with students in the general education classroom and began to realize the patience and positivity I displayed with students. I set high expectations for students and wanted them to excel in whatever capacity they could in life. After 2 years being a paraprofessional I took a job as a Special Education teacher and am going into my 6th year teaching and working with students who have moderate disabilities. I know this scholarship will help me further my knowledge and pursue a Masters degree. Special Education is an area that is continually growing with studies showing nearly 7 million or 14% of public school students receive special education services. With more learning disabilities being identified the need for highly qualified teachers to support these students is imperative. It is my goal to continue teaching and inspiring special education students, obtain a professional license in moderate disabilities, and gain skills and knowledge from Worcester State University that will help me achieve these goals. Success to me is to further my education like no one else has done in my family before so that way I can further the education of the students I teach each day. Success as a teacher is helping those students reach success themselves. My mother was the one who made this dream become a reality. It is not easy but each day I do my best to teach and to further my education. I know it makes my mother proud.
    Mental Health Importance Scholarship
    My journey and struggles with mental health have not been easy but it has profoundly impacted my life and the people who mean the most to me. However, my goal has been to learn to cope and manage my symptoms to continue to live and impact the lives of others each and everyday. Since high school I have suffered with what I thought at the time was depression but now I have finally realized is Dysthymia. Dysthymia is persistent low mood for a prolonged period of time usually 2 or more years. Coupled with anxiety, life at that point in time was tough. In high school I had a hard time with the following: keeping and maintaining positive friendships and relationships, going on and off medication, being in and out of therapy, and feeling hopeless that I would never feel happy and content with my life. My family was not supportive of my mental health struggles and I really felt I had no one else to help me. I felt I had no other options. I eventually I tried to take my own life. That day was a wake up call and revelation. I finished high school and went away to a college 2.5 hours away from home. I had a fresh start. I had made a few friends and was excelling in my classes. But still something was off. I did not seek counseling in college or go on medication. I continued to push myself to do well in school. I have always had high expectations of myself. After college I began to pursue my career in teaching. After a year of teaching I finally decided it was time to go back to therapy. I really wanted to get to the bottom of why I did not have much joy in life. I am a hard worker, I give all my time and attention to detail, I show up early, I am organized, but I have Dysthymia. And that doesn’t define me. I worked my way threw therapy and have not been back since a year after college. The longest time in my life that I have not been in therapy to date! I have learned that it’s okay to feel how I am feeling. I have made friends who I can trust to lean on when times are tough. The journey has not been easy and I know I have a long way to go. My goal is so much more than just for myself. It’s for my students now. I want to make sure they have the support that I didn’t have. That they feel like if they need to talk to someone they know I will listen. They are not alone in their mental health struggles. I hope as time continues that the stigma of mental health won’t be as it is today. There has been some improvement with society but still how mental health is viewed needs to change. I hope that one day people can take mental health days just as they would if they were sick with a cold. There should be no shame and taking a day to feel ok mentally and physically. I feel guilty at times taking a day for myself but I know and have learned that putting yourself first is nothing to hang your head in shame about. I am now grateful that very day in my high school years didn’t end the way it could have. My mental health journey may be long but life is so much more worthwhile.
    Sandy Jenkins Excellence in Early Childhood Education Scholarship
    The bell rings and students begin to file into the first period of the day. Various lessons have been prepped, collaboration with co-teachers completed, and necessary modifications for students are in place. Worksheets for each subject have been made for some that are several grade levels below the standard. I’ve made sure all parent contacts, IEP’s and testing are up to date on my caseload prior to the day. It is about to be a great middle school day and I’m eager for my students to be able to attain and access new skills in class. Until the unexpected slowly unfolds. One student becomes agitated when they realize that not only have they forgotten to charge their laptop, but they’ve also forgotten their materials for class, another struggles to focus and admits to not taking their morning medicine, another is ready for a break 5 minutes in and needs to make a choice on their PBIS chart, and finally the student in the corner can barely stay awake from not having slept the night before. The General Education teacher begins to work through the lesson as I move around the room to address their various issues and needs in the full inclusion classroom. I then either pull students to work in a small group on the daily lesson or rotate around the room providing accommodations for the students I service. I make mental notes of what I will need to reteach later on in academic support. Being mindful of each student’s individual strengths and weaknesses in each subject to give students the best opportunity for success. After 45 minutes one class is over and on to the next. Five more classes in the day to go and only 45 minutes to plan for the next unexpected day. Only 45 minutes in the day to contact parents, collaborate with content teachers, prep an IEP meeting, track data, write progress reports, prep worksheets and tests, run an IEP meeting. I have been working in special education for the past 7 years. I originally earned my undergraduate degree in Secondary Education/History from Keene State College in New Hampshire and had my heart set on becoming a Social Studies teacher. Upon moving back to Massachusetts it was very difficult to find a Social Studies job so I took a position as a paraprofessional. I loved working with students in the general education classroom and began to realize the patience and positivity I displayed with students. I set high expectations for students and wanted them to excel in whatever capacity they could in life. After 2 years being a paraprofessional I took a job as a Special Education teacher and am going into my 6th year teaching and working with students who have moderate disabilities. I know this scholarship will help me further my knowledge and pursue a Masters degree. Special Education is an area that is continually growing with studies showing nearly 7 million or 14% of public school students receive special education services. With more learning disabilities being identified the need for highly qualified teachers to support these students is imperative. It is my goal to continue teaching and inspiring special education students, obtain a professional license in moderate disabilities, and gain skills and knowledge from Worcester State University that will help me achieve these goals. Success to me is to further my education like no one else has done in my family before so that way I can further the education of the students I teach each day. Success as a teacher is helping those students reach success themselves.
    Patrick Stanley Memorial Scholarship
    The bell rings and students begin to file into the first period of the day. Various lessons have been prepped, collaboration with co-teachers completed, and necessary modifications for students are in place. Worksheets for each subject have been made for some that are several grade levels below the standard. I’ve made sure all parent contacts, IEP’s and testing are up to date on my caseload prior to the day. It is about to be a great middle school day and I’m eager for my students to be able to attain and access new skills in class. Until the unexpected slowly unfolds. One student becomes agitated when they realize that not only have they forgotten to charge their laptop, but they’ve also forgotten their materials for class, another struggles to focus and admits to not taking their morning medicine, another is ready for a break 5 minutes in and needs to make a choice on their PBIS chart, and finally the student in the corner can barely stay awake from not having slept the night before. The General Education teacher begins to work through the lesson as I move around the room to address their various issues and needs in the full inclusion classroom. I then either pull students to work in a small group on the daily lesson or rotate around the room providing accommodations for the students I service. I make mental notes of what I will need to reteach later on in academic support. Being mindful of each student’s individual strengths and weaknesses in each subject to give students the best opportunity for success. After 45 minutes one class is over and on to the next. Five more classes in the day to go and only 45 minutes to plan for the next unexpected day. Only 45 minutes in the day to contact parents, collaborate with content teachers, prep an IEP meeting, track data, write progress reports, prep worksheets and tests, run an IEP meeting. I have been working in special education for the past 7 years. I originally earned my undergraduate degree in Secondary Education/History from Keene State College in New Hampshire and had my heart set on becoming a Social Studies teacher. Upon moving back to Massachusetts it was very difficult to find a Social Studies job so I took a position as a paraprofessional. I loved working with students in the general education classroom and began to realize the patience and positivity I displayed with students. I set high expectations for students and wanted them to excel in whatever capacity they could in life. After 2 years being a paraprofessional I took a job as a Special Education teacher and am going into my 6th year teaching and working with students who have moderate disabilities. I know this scholarship will help me further my knowledge and pursue a Masters degree. Special Education is an area that is continually growing with studies showing nearly 7 million or 14% of public school students receive special education services. With more learning disabilities being identified the need for highly qualified teachers to support these students is imperative. It is my goal to continue teaching and inspiring special education students, obtain a professional license in moderate disabilities, and gain skills and knowledge from Worcester State University that will help me achieve these goals. Success to me is to further my education like no one else has done in my family before so that way I can further the education of the students I teach each day. Success as a teacher is helping those students reach success themselves.
    Mary D. Scholarship
    The bell rings and students begin to file into the first period of the day. Various lessons have been prepped, collaboration with co-teachers completed, and necessary modifications for students are in place. Worksheets for each subject have been made for some that are several grade levels below the standard. I’ve made sure all parent contacts, IEP’s and testing are up to date on my caseload prior to the day. It is about to be a great middle school day and I’m eager for my students to be able to attain and access new skills in class. Until the unexpected slowly unfolds. One student becomes agitated when they realize that not only have they forgotten to charge their laptop, but they’ve also forgotten their materials for class, another struggles to focus and admits to not taking their morning medicine, another is ready for a break 5 minutes in and needs to make a choice on their PBIS chart, and finally the student in the corner can barely stay awake from not having slept the night before. The General Education teacher begins to work through the lesson as I move around the room to address their various issues and needs in the full inclusion classroom. I then either pull students to work in a small group on the daily lesson or rotate around the room providing accommodations for the students I service. I make mental notes of what I will need to reteach later on in academic support. Being mindful of each student’s individual strengths and weaknesses in each subject to give students the best opportunity for success. After 45 minutes one class is over and on to the next. Five more classes in the day to go and only 45 minutes to plan for the next unexpected day. Only 45 minutes in the day to contact parents, collaborate with content teachers, prep an IEP meeting, track data, write progress reports, prep worksheets and tests, run an IEP meeting. I have been working in special education for the past 7 years. I originally earned my undergraduate degree in Secondary Education/History from Keene State College in New Hampshire and had my heart set on becoming a Social Studies teacher. Upon moving back to Massachusetts it was very difficult to find a Social Studies job so I took a position as a paraprofessional. I loved working with students in the general education classroom and began to realize the patience and positivity I displayed with students. I set high expectations for students and wanted them to excel in whatever capacity they could in life. After 2 years being a paraprofessional I took a job as a Special Education teacher and am going into my 6th year teaching and working with students who have moderate disabilities. I know this scholarship will help me further my knowledge and pursue a Masters degree. Special Education is an area that is continually growing with studies showing nearly 7 million or 14% of public school students receive special education services. With more learning disabilities being identified the need for highly qualified teachers to support these students is imperative. It is my goal to continue teaching and inspiring special education students, obtain a professional license in moderate disabilities, and gain skills and knowledge from Worcester State University that will help me achieve these goals. This is why I plan to further my education and continue to be a leader in my community. I push myself to be better with each day. To one day educate other future leaders of those I teach.
    Elevate Mental Health Awareness Scholarship
    My journey and struggles with mental health have not been easy but it has profoundly impacted my life and the people who mean the most to me. However, my goal has been to learn to cope and manage my symptoms to continue to live and impact the lives of others each and everyday. Since high school I have suffered with what I thought at the time was depression but now I have finally realized is Dysthymia. Dysthymia is persistent low mood for a prolonged period of time usually 2 or more years. Coupled with anxiety, life at that point in time was tough. In high school I had a hard time with the following: keeping and maintaining positive friendships and relationships, going on and off medication, being in and out of therapy, and feeling hopeless that I would never feel happy and content with my life. My family was not supportive of my mental health struggles and I really felt I had no one else to help me. I felt I had no other options. I eventually I tried to take my own life. That day was a wake up call and revelation. I finished high school and went away to a college 2.5 hours away from home. I had a fresh start. I had made a few friends and was excelling in my classes. But still something was off. I did not seek counseling in college or go on medication. I continued to push myself to do well in school. I have always had high expectations of myself. After college I began to pursue my career in teaching. After a year of teaching I finally decided it was time to go back to therapy. I really wanted to get to the bottom of why I did not have much joy in life. I am a hard worker, I give all my time and attention to detail, I show up early, I am organized, but I have Dysthymia. And that doesn’t define me. I worked my way threw therapy and have not been back since a year after college. The longest time in my life that I have not been in therapy to date! I have learned that it’s okay to feel how I am feeling. I have made friends who I can trust to lean on when times are tough. The journey has not been easy and I know I have a long way to go. My goal is so much more than just for myself. It’s for my students now. I want to make sure they have the support that I didn’t have. That they feel like if they need to talk to someone they know I will listen. They are not alone in their mental health struggles. I hope as time continues that the stigma of mental health won’t be as it is today. There has been some improvement with society but still how mental health is viewed needs to change. I hope that one day people can take mental health days just as they would if they were sick with a cold. There should be no shame and taking a day to feel ok mentally and physically. I feel guilty at times taking a day for myself but I know and have learned that putting yourself first is nothing to hang your head in shame about. I am now grateful that very day in my high school years didn’t end the way it could have. My mental health journey may be long but life is so much more worthwhile.
    LGBTQ+ Wellness in Action Scholarship
    My journey and struggles with mental health have not been easy but it has profoundly impacted my life and the people who mean the most to me. However, my goal has been to learn to cope and manage my symptoms to continue to live and impact the lives of others each and everyday. Since high school I have suffered with what I thought at the time was depression but now I have finally realized is Dysthymia. Dysthymia is persistent low mood for a prolonged period of time usually 2 or more years. Coupled with anxiety, life at that point in time was tough. In high school I had a hard time with the following: keeping and maintaining positive friendships and relationships, going on and off medication, being in and out of therapy, and feeling hopeless that I would never feel happy and content with my life. My family was not supportive of my mental health struggles and I really felt I had no one else to help me. I felt I had no other options. I eventually I tried to take my own life. That day was a wake up call and revelation. I finished high school and went away to a college 2.5 hours away from home. I had a fresh start. I had made a few friends and was excelling in my classes. But still something was off. I did not seek counseling in college or go on medication. I continued to push myself to do well in school. I have always had high expectations of myself. After college I began to pursue my career in teaching. After a year of teaching I finally decided it was time to go back to therapy. I really wanted to get to the bottom of why I did not have much joy in life. I am a hard worker, I give all my time and attention to detail, I show up early, I am organized, but I have Dysthymia. And that doesn’t define me. I worked my way threw therapy and have not been back since a year after college. The longest time in my life that I have not been in therapy to date! I have learned that it’s okay to feel how I am feeling. I have made friends who I can trust to lean on when times are tough. The journey has not been easy and I know I have a long way to go. My goal is so much more than just for myself. It’s for my students now. I want to make sure they have the support that I didn’t have. That they feel like if they need to talk to someone they know I will listen. They are not alone in their mental health struggles. I hope as time continues that the stigma of mental health won’t be as it is today. There has been some improvement with society but still how mental health is viewed needs to change. I hope that one day people can take mental health days just as they would if they were sick with a cold. There should be no shame and taking a day to feel ok mentally and physically. I feel guilty at times taking a day for myself but I know and have learned that putting yourself first is nothing to hang your head in shame about. I am now grateful that very day in my high school years didn’t end the way it could have. My mental health journey may be long but life is so much more worthwhile.
    Mental Health Empowerment Scholarship
    My journey and struggles with mental health have not been easy but it has profoundly impacted my life and the people who mean the most to me. However, my goal has been to learn to cope and manage my symptoms to continue to live and impact the lives of others each and everyday. Since high school I have suffered with what I thought at the time was depression but now I have finally realized is Dysthymia. Dysthymia is persistent low mood for a prolonged period of time usually 2 or more years. Coupled with anxiety, life at that point in time was tough. In high school I had a hard time with the following: keeping and maintaining positive friendships and relationships, going on and off medication, being in and out of therapy, and feeling hopeless that I would never feel happy and content with my life. My family was not supportive of my mental health struggles and I really felt I had no one else to help me. I felt I had no other options. I eventually I tried to take my own life. That day was a wake up call and revelation. I finished high school and went away to a college 2.5 hours away from home. I had a fresh start. I had made a few friends and was excelling in my classes. But still something was off. I did not seek counseling in college or go on medication. I continued to push myself to do well in school. I have always had high expectations of myself. After college I began to pursue my career in teaching. After a year of teaching I finally decided it was time to go back to therapy. I really wanted to get to the bottom of why I did not have much joy in life. I am a hard worker, I give all my time and attention to detail, I show up early, I am organized, but I have Dysthymia. And that doesn’t define me. I worked my way threw therapy and have not been back since a year after college. The longest time in my life that I have not been in therapy to date! I have learned that it’s okay to feel how I am feeling. I have made friends who I can trust to lean on when times are tough. The journey has not been easy and I know I have a long way to go. My goal is so much more than just for myself. It’s for my students now. I want to make sure they have the support that I didn’t have. That they feel like if they need to talk to someone they know I will listen. They are not alone in their mental health struggles. I hope as time continues that the stigma of mental health won’t be as it is today. There has been some improvement with society but still how mental health is viewed needs to change. I hope that one day people can take mental health days just as they would if they were sick with a cold. There should be no shame and taking a day to feel ok mentally and physically. I feel guilty at times taking a day for myself but I know and have learned that putting yourself first is nothing to hang your head in shame about. I am now grateful that very day in my high school years didn’t end the way it could have. My mental health journey may be long but life is so much more worthwhile.
    Redefining Victory Scholarship
    The bell rings and students begin to file into the first period of the day. Various lessons have been prepped, collaboration with co-teachers completed, and necessary modifications for students are in place. Worksheets for each subject have been made for some that are several grade levels below the standard. I’ve made sure all parent contacts, IEP’s and testing are up to date on my caseload prior to the day. It is about to be a great middle school day and I’m eager for my students to be able to attain and access new skills in class. Until the unexpected slowly unfolds. One student becomes agitated when they realize that not only have they forgotten to charge their laptop, but they’ve also forgotten their materials for class, another struggles to focus and admits to not taking their morning medicine, another is ready for a break 5 minutes in and needs to make a choice on their PBIS chart, and finally the student in the corner can barely stay awake from not having slept the night before. The General Education teacher begins to work through the lesson as I move around the room to address their various issues and needs in the full inclusion classroom. I then either pull students to work in a small group on the daily lesson or rotate around the room providing accommodations for the students I service. I make mental notes of what I will need to reteach later on in academic support. Being mindful of each student’s individual strengths and weaknesses in each subject to give students the best opportunity for success. After 45 minutes one class is over and on to the next. Five more classes in the day to go and only 45 minutes to plan for the next unexpected day. Only 45 minutes in the day to contact parents, collaborate with content teachers, prep an IEP meeting, track data, write progress reports, prep worksheets and tests, run an IEP meeting. I have been working in special education for the past 7 years. I originally earned my undergraduate degree in Secondary Education/History from Keene State College in New Hampshire and had my heart set on becoming a Social Studies teacher. Upon moving back to Massachusetts it was very difficult to find a Social Studies job so I took a position as a paraprofessional. I loved working with students in the general education classroom and began to realize the patience and positivity I displayed with students. I set high expectations for students and wanted them to excel in whatever capacity they could in life. After 2 years being a paraprofessional I took a job as a Special Education teacher and am going into my 6th year teaching and working with students who have moderate disabilities. I know this scholarship will help me further my knowledge and pursue a Masters degree. Special Education is an area that is continually growing with studies showing nearly 7 million or 14% of public school students receive special education services. With more learning disabilities being identified the need for highly qualified teachers to support these students is imperative. It is my goal to continue teaching and inspiring special education students, obtain a professional license in moderate disabilities, and gain skills and knowledge from Worcester State University that will help me achieve these goals. Success to me is to further my education like no one else has done in my family before so that way I can further the education of the students I teach each day. Success as a teacher is helping those students reach success themselves.
    Jennifer Gephart Memorial Working Mothers Scholarship
    The loss of someone you love can be a difficult thing to deal with. But for some they turn that pain into motivation. That is exactly what I did when I lost my grandmother whom I helped take care of for many years. She was diagnosed with leukemia and struggled for many years with treatments. Nearly 13 years between my mother and I taking turns of taking her for treatments and helping her with whatever she needed around the house did take a toll on us but it did not defeat us. Each weekend we would help with grandmother with her laundry, groceries, and take her to get her hair done. My grandmother was a very independent woman and still lived on her own up until the last few months of her life. When taking her to treatments it was always a difficult day to see all those who are sick. It makes you realize there is so much more to life and to enjoy life while you can. My grandmother knew I had goals and aspirations in life and wanted to be around longer to see me attain those goals. I wished she could have. After a year of cleaning out her house and getting my life in order I realized it was time to get back to work. It was time to get my life back on track. I took a new job, applied for graduate school, and continued to pursue my professional teaching license. I even found someone that I can’t wait to spend the rest of my life with. Who knew that after so many tough years of heartache and worry about what my life would be life after her death that things would turn out ok. To this day I am going into my 7th out of 12 graduate classes I need to earn a Masters in moderate disabilities. I am a special education teacher and that really was not something I thought I would be considering because I originally went to school to teach history. But everything happens for a reason and I love making a difference in students lives. This scholarship would really help alleviate the stress of paying for my schooling. It just goes to show that no matter how bad things may seem there really is a light at the end of the tunnel. If I could talk to my grandma one more time I would thank her for believing in me and for always loving me and showing me my worth.
    Hicks Scholarship Award
    The loss of someone you love can be a difficult thing to deal with. But for some they turn that pain into motivation. That is exactly what I did when I lost my grandmother whom I helped take care of for many years. She was diagnosed with leukemia and struggled for many years with treatments. Nearly 13 years between my mother and I taking turns of taking her for treatments and helping her with whatever she needed around the house did take a toll on us but it did not defeat us. Each weekend we would help with grandmother with her laundry, groceries, and take her to get her hair done. My grandmother was a very independent woman and still lived on her own up until the last few months of her life. When taking her to treatments it was always a difficult day to see all those who are sick. It makes you realize there is so much more to life and to enjoy life while you can. My grandmother knew I had goals and aspirations in life and wanted to be around longer to see me attain those goals. I wished she could have. After a year of cleaning out her house and getting my life in order I realized it was time to get back to work. It was time to get my life back on track. I took a new job, applied for graduate school, and continued to pursue my professional teaching license. I even found someone that I can’t wait to spend the rest of my life with. Who knew that after so many tough years of heartache and worry about what my life would be life after her death that things would turn out ok. To this day I am going into my 7th out of 12 graduate classes I need to earn a Masters in moderate disabilities. I am a special education teacher and that really was not something I thought I would be considering because I originally went to school to teach history. But everything happens for a reason and I love making a difference in students lives. This scholarship would really help alleviate the stress of paying for my schooling. It just goes to show that no matter how bad things may seem there really is a light at the end of the tunnel. If I could talk to my grandma one more time I would thank her for believing in me and for always loving me and showing me my worth.
    1989 (Taylor's Version) Fan Scholarship
    My favorite song on 1989 is one that is often overlooked by fans and Taylor Swift critics. This is more relevant than ever in 2023. The song ‘New Romantics’ was released on Taylor Swift’s 1989 deluxe album and on Taylor’s Version. It was also preformed on her 1989 world tour of which I was lucky enough to see in person at Gillette Stadium in Foxboro, MA in 2015. This was my first Taylor Swift concert and I was thrilled she elected to include this song in the setlist. The song has an electric and upbeat rhythm to it that goes perfectly with the 1989 theme. Although Swift has her own meaning and reasons for why she writes some of the best lyrics of generations to come, her songs often speak to me and my life experiences. As the chorus states “'Cause baby, I could build a castle Out of all the bricks they threw at me And every day is like a battle But every night with us is like a dream.” Swift uncovers so much in her lyrics that could be perceived differently by so many. The reason I fell in love with this song is because it provides an element of determination and strength. That one can do great things in life even when times are tough or when people are not so nice you can stay positive and prevail. Each day might be hard and feel like a battle but at the end of the day I feel I should hold my head high and be proud of what I have accomplished and who I have become. Swift goes on to say “Baby, we're the new romantics Come on, come along with me Heartbreak is the national anthem We sing it proudly We are too busy dancing To get knocked off our feet Baby, we're the new romantics The best people in life are free” The song isn’t necessarily about love, heartache, breakups and makeups but it can’t be if you want it to be. Swift leaves the lyrics open to her fans and makes her fans included with using ‘We’ to incorporate this generation. However I view the song as carefree and about being free. That no matter what is going on in life just be happy and appreciate those around you. Be grateful for what you have and those who have left your life have left for a reason. The people who like and value you will never bring you down and only build you up. It is hard to pick just one song as a favorite from 1989 because she has had so many hits. I was lucky enough to gets tickets to go see her for Loverfest but it was eventually cancelled due to Covid. 1989 will forever be a staple album for Taylor Swift and I am so thankful she is able to share her lyrics and music with the world. I can’t wait to see her in a month on the Eras Tour which is said to be a 3 hour miraculous event. I know she won’t be performing ‘New Romantics’ but so many other songs are equally as amazing. In 2023 it is important to remember what life is about and those who matter in my life.
    Book Lovers Scholarship
    If I could have everyone ready one book it would be The Bridge Home. The Bridge Home is a novel by Padma Venkatraman that tells the story of four children living on the streets of India. The story revolves around Viji and her sister Rukku, who escape from their abusive home and join a community of homeless children. Rukku is older than Viji, but she has a disability and therefore Viji looks after her. They form a strong bond with two boys, Arul and Muthu, as they navigate the challenges of survival on the streets. Together, they find happiness and support in their makeshift family. As they continue to live on the streets, they make money by collecting trash and recycling it. However, a twist of events takes place, and they are forced to seek the care of a home that helps children who are homeless. The book covers themes of friendship, resilience, perseverance, and the power of literacy. This story is based on true events happening in India today and is based on people Venkatraman interviewed and connected with when visiting India. Venkatraman currently lives in Rhode Island today. The book addresses important social issues such as poverty, child homelessness, and access to education. Through the characters' experiences, readers gain empathy and understanding of different perspectives and challenges faced by these communities and were even able to relate it back to people who are struggling in America as well. This can foster compassion and inspire people to become advocates for change and to want to help people in need. Lastly, The Bridge Home emphasizes the transformative power of literacy. The characters' desire for education (Viji wants to become a teacher one day) and their determination to learn in the face of adversity highlight the importance of literacy as a tool for empowerment and personal growth. This message can motivate people to value their own education and appreciate the opportunities they have. This could not be truer as people need to understand the importance of education and where it can lead you in life. The Bridge Home is a thought-provoking novel that combines an engaging story with important social themes. Its focus on literacy, resilience, and friendship makes it an ideal story that belongs on everyone’s bookshelves.
    Philip and Jacqueline Benincasa Education Scholarship
    The bell rings and students begin to file into the first period of the day. Various lessons have been prepped, collaboration with co-teachers completed, and necessary modifications for students are in place. Worksheets for each subject have been made for some that are several grade levels below the standard. I’ve made sure all parent contacts, IEP’s and testing are up to date on my caseload prior to the day. It is about to be a great middle school day and I’m eager for my students to be able to attain and access new skills in class. Until the unexpected slowly unfolds. One student becomes agitated when they realize that not only have they forgotten to charge their laptop, but they’ve also forgotten their materials for class, another struggles to focus and admits to not taking their morning medicine, another is ready for a break 5 minutes in and needs to make a choice on their PBIS chart, and finally the student in the corner can barely stay awake from not having slept the night before. The General Education teacher begins to work through the lesson as I move around the room to address their various issues and needs in the full inclusion classroom. I then either pull students to work in a small group on the daily lesson or rotate around the room providing accommodations for the students I service. I make mental notes of what I will need to reteach later on in academic support. Being mindful of each student’s individual strengths and weaknesses in each subject to give students the best opportunity for success. After 45 minutes one class is over and on to the next. Five more classes in the day to go and only 45 minutes to plan for the next unexpected day. Only 45 minutes in the day to contact parents, collaborate with content teachers, prep an IEP meeting, track data, write progress reports, prep worksheets and tests, run an IEP meeting. I have been working in special education for the past 7 years. I originally earned my undergraduate degree in Secondary Education/History from Keene State College in New Hampshire and had my heart set on becoming a Social Studies teacher. Upon moving back to Massachusetts it was very difficult to find a Social Studies job so I took a position as a paraprofessional. I loved working with students in the general education classroom and began to realize the patience and positivity I displayed with students. I set high expectations for students and wanted them to excel in whatever capacity they could in life. After 2 years being a paraprofessional I took a job as a Special Education teacher and am going into my 6th year teaching and working with students who have moderate disabilities. I know this scholarship will help me further my knowledge and pursue a Masters degree. Special Education is an area that is continually growing with studies showing nearly 7 million or 14% of public school students receive special education services. With more learning disabilities being identified the need for highly qualified teachers to support these students is imperative. It is my goal to continue teaching and inspiring special education students, obtain a professional license in moderate disabilities, and gain skills and knowledge from Worcester State University that will help me achieve these goals. This is why I plan to further my education and continue to be a leader in my community. I push myself to be better with each day. To one day educate other future leaders of those I teach.
    A Man Helping Women Helping Women Scholarship
    The bell rings and students begin to file into the first period of the day. Various lessons have been prepped, collaboration with co-teachers completed, and necessary modifications for students are in place. Worksheets for each subject have been made for some that are several grade levels below the standard. I’ve made sure all parent contacts, IEP’s and testing are up to date on my caseload prior to the day. It is about to be a great middle school day and I’m eager for my students to be able to attain and access new skills in class. Until the unexpected slowly unfolds. One student becomes agitated when they realize that not only have they forgotten to charge their laptop, but they’ve also forgotten their materials for class, another struggles to focus and admits to not taking their morning medicine, another is ready for a break 5 minutes in and needs to make a choice on their PBIS chart, and finally the student in the corner can barely stay awake from not having slept the night before. The General Education teacher begins to work through the lesson as I move around the room to address their various issues and needs in the full inclusion classroom. I then either pull students to work in a small group on the daily lesson or rotate around the room providing accommodations for the students I service. I make mental notes of what I will need to reteach later on in academic support. Being mindful of each student’s individual strengths and weaknesses in each subject to give students the best opportunity for success. After 45 minutes one class is over and on to the next. Five more classes in the day to go and only 45 minutes to plan for the next unexpected day. Only 45 minutes in the day to contact parents, collaborate with content teachers, prep an IEP meeting, track data, write progress reports, prep worksheets and tests, run an IEP meeting. I have been working in special education for the past 7 years. I originally earned my undergraduate degree in Secondary Education/History from Keene State College in New Hampshire and had my heart set on becoming a Social Studies teacher. Upon moving back to Massachusetts it was very difficult to find a Social Studies job so I took a position as a paraprofessional. I loved working with students in the general education classroom and began to realize the patience and positivity I displayed with students. I set high expectations for students and wanted them to excel in whatever capacity they could in life. After 2 years being a paraprofessional I took a job as a Special Education teacher and am going into my 6th year teaching and working with students who have moderate disabilities. I know this scholarship will help me further my knowledge and pursue a Masters degree. Special Education is an area that is continually growing with studies showing nearly 7 million or 14% of public school students receive special education services. With more learning disabilities being identified the need for highly qualified teachers to support these students is imperative. It is my goal to continue teaching and inspiring special education students, obtain a professional license in moderate disabilities, and gain skills and knowledge from Worcester State University that will help me achieve these goals. This is why I plan to further my education and continue to be a leader in my community. To one day educate other future female leaders of those I teach each day.
    Nintendo Super Fan Scholarship
    When I was 16 I got a Nintendo Wii for my birthday! I remember being so excited and thankful that my parents bought me the system. However, games were expensive and I enjoyed playing the free games that came with the system for a while. I have two profound memories that have stuck with me now in my 30s. 1. My sister and I use to love to play a tank game. They were red and blue tanks and we would work together to try and beat the computer using the wii remotes with the attached nunchuck. My sister and I growing up often did now see eye to eye but we enjoyed hours of playing this game. Sometimes she would just like to watch me play as well. 2. A second memory is playing Wii golf wither my father. The Wii Sports in general were fun but my father liked golf the best. Neither of us played golf in real life but we felt like professionals when we played on the Wii. It also created some bonding time between my father and I. I remember growing up my father often worked two jobs to provide for our family. On the nights he was not working I enjoyed playing many rounds of Wii golf and even tennis sometimes. Eventually I was able to save up and bought more games like Mario Party 8 and Mario Kart. Those were among some of my favorites to play especially with my younger sister. Now I am in my 30s and going for a degree in Special Education. My students play many video games and it is cool to see how the games and systems have changed. I will always remember playing games with my family growing up.
    Bold.org x Forever 21 Scholarship + Giveaway
    mermariee
    Project Kennedy Fighting Cancers of All Colors Scholarship
    The loss of someone you love can be a difficult thing to deal with. But for some they turn that pain into motivation. That is exactly what I did when I lost my grandmother whom I helped take care of for many years. She was diagnosed with leukemia and struggled for many years with treatments. Nearly 13 years between my mother and I taking turns of taking her for treatments and helping her with whatever she needed around the house did take a toll on us but it did not defeat us. Each weekend we would help with grandmother with her laundry, groceries, and take her to get her hair done. My grandmother was a very independent woman and still lived on her own up until the last few months of her life. When taking her to treatments it was always a difficult day to see all those who are sick. It makes you realize there is so much more to life and to enjoy life while you can. My grandmother knew I had goals and aspirations in life and wanted to be around longer to see me attain those goals. I wished she could have. After a year of cleaning out her house and getting my life in order I realized it was time to get back to work. It was time to get my life back on track. I took a new job, applied for graduate school, and continued to pursue my professional teaching license. I even found someone that I can’t wait to spend the rest of my life with. Who knew that after so many tough years of heartache and worry about what my life would be life after her death that things would turn out ok. To this day I am going into my 6th out of 12 graduate classes I need to earn a Masters in moderate disabilities. I am a special education teacher and that really was not something I thought I would be considering because I originally went to school to teach history. But everything happens for a reason and I love making a difference in students lives. This scholarship would really help alleviate the stress of paying for my schooling. It just goes to show that no matter how bad things may seem there really is a light at the end of the tunnel. If I could talk to my grandma one more time I would thank her for believing in me and for always loving me and showing me my worth.
    Once Upon a #BookTok Scholarship
    The Bridge Home is a novel by Padma Venkatraman that tells the story of four children living on the streets of India. The story revolves around Viji and her sister Rukku, who escape from their abusive home and join a community of homeless children. Rukku is older than Viji, but she has a disability and therefore Viji looks after her. They form a strong bond with two boys, Arul and Muthu, as they navigate the challenges of survival on the streets. Together, they find happiness and support in their makeshift family. As they continue to live on the streets, they make money by collecting trash and recycling it. However, a twist of events takes place, and they are forced to seek the care of a home that helps children who are homeless. The book covers themes of friendship, resilience, perseverance, and the power of literacy. This story is based on true events happening in India today and is based on people Venkatraman interviewed and connected with when visiting India. Venkatraman currently lives in Rhode Island today. Here is a description and inspiration of the story from Padma Venkatraman herself. The Bridge Home is a great choice for teaching literacy for many reasons and does not have to be taught solely in ELA class. First it offers a captivating and relatable narrative that engages students' emotions and curiosity. I read this with my 6th graders this year for the first time and it opened their eyes to how other people in other parts of the world live and how other cultures differ from ours. The characters' struggles and triumphs create opportunities for deep discussions and critical thinking. Among the discussions that took place I also had students journal when reading every 5 chapters. In the journal students needed to pick a quote that resonated with them, highlight a character by showing what you learned about them with specific qualities or traits, and react to the text through various means like a question, prediction, theme, authors craft, and characters change. Also, because this a chapter book, I provided visuals to students of vocabulary in the story or specific Indian culture-based words dealing with food transportation, and ways of life. Next, the book addresses important social issues such as poverty, child homelessness, and access to education. Through the characters' experiences, readers gain empathy and understanding of different perspectives and challenges faced by these communities and were even able to relate it back to people who are struggling in America as well. This can foster compassion and inspire students to become advocates for change and to want to help people in need. Through class-based discussion many students voiced how thankful and grateful they were to have what they have in life. Lastly, The Bridge Home emphasizes the transformative power of literacy. The characters' desire for education (Viji wants to become a teacher one day) and their determination to learn in the face of adversity highlight the importance of literacy as a tool for empowerment and personal growth. This message can motivate students to value their own education and appreciate the opportunities they have. This could not be truer as students need to understand the importance of education and where it can lead you in life. The Bridge Home is a thought-provoking novel that combines an engaging story with important social themes. Its focus on literacy, resilience, and friendship makes it an ideal choice for teaching literacy and deserves a place on everyone’s bookshelf.
    Cat Zingano Overcoming Loss Scholarship
    The loss of someone you love can be a difficult thing to deal with. But for some they turn that pain into motivation. That is exactly what I did when I lost my grandmother whom I helped take care of for many years. She was diagnosed with leukemia and struggled for many years with treatments. I often took her to treatments and it was always a difficult day to see all those who are sick. It makes you realize there is so much more to life and to enjoy life while you can. My grandmother knew I had goals and aspirations in life and wanted to be around longer to see me attain those goals. I wished she could have. After a year of cleaning out her house and getting my life in order I realized it was time to get back to work. It was time to get my life back on track. I took a new job, applied for graduate school, and continued to pursue my professional teaching license. I even found someone that I can’t wait to spend the rest of my life with. Who knew that after so many tough years of heartache and worry about what my life would be life after her death that things would turn out ok. To this day I am going into the 3rd out of 12 graduate classes I need to earn a Masters in moderate disabilities. I am a special education teacher and that really was not something I thought I would be considering I went to school to teach history. But everything happens for a reason and I love making a difference in students lives. This scholarship would really help alleviate the stress of paying for my schooling. It just goes to show that no matter how bad things may seem there really is a light at the end of the tunnel. If I could talk to my grandma one more time I would thank her for believing in me and for always loving me and showing me my worth.
    Jillian Ellis Pathway Scholarship
    Leadership is something that should be displayed with grace and honesty. Someone who is a leader does not put others down. They help those rise around them. They are role models that people look up to. A degree in education specifically in moderate disabilities will help me to lead those who feel like they can’t lead themselves. Those who are part of many underrepresented group deserve a voice and a chance at a quality education. Giving those the confidence and knowledge they need to be successful in life no matter what capacity that is. I am a teacher. I wear many hats. I not only teach but I provide comfort, security, and necessity to those in need. I am someone that students look up to and trust. I am patient, easy going, level headed, and compassionate about what I do. With the help of this scholarship I will be able to continue that as I work full time and pursue my degree to make a difference in the lives of adolescents. 1- Strong leadership and communication skills are something I must display each day. Being a special education teacher I work with various subject teachers and various students throughout the day. I also am in contact with counselors, therapists, speech and language teachers, occupational therapy teachers, and many other staff in the school. I hold meetings regarding my students and often contact the parents of my students. 2- Resiliency is something a teacher must have. No matter how hard the job or what kind of day it is. You have to bounce back and not take things personally. A motto I learned from a fellow teacher is QTIP! “Quit taking it personally.” When you can show up each day and give it your all it is worth it in the end. 3- Unselfishness is something I think teachers are just all about. I’ve bought food, clothing, and supplies for students out of the goodness of my heart because I know school is so much more than academics. Students needs must be met if they have any chance of learning. This scholarship will help me continue my degree so I can continue to do that for my students. 4- Focused/determined gets teachers far. The pandemic was a tough time for many students and teachers. Many teachers left but those who remained focused and determined to follow their goals stayed. A high percent of teachers leave after 5 years. I am in my 6th year and wanted to keep purposing this. Teaching is my passion and not something I want to give up on. My future goals after earning my masters degree are to further my education some more with a CAGS or possibly even another masters in leadership. Schools need highly qualified teachers and in turn administrators to help a school function as it should. Teachers need to feel supported too! 5- Strong work ethic is something I always embody. I am very organized and submit my work in a timely manner. I push myself because I want to do well and feel that will not only benefit myself but my students as well. Leadership is all of this and so much more.
    Boatswain’s Mate Third Class Antonie Bernard Thomas Memorial Scholarship
    Leadership is something that should be displayed with grace and honesty. Someone who is a leader does not put others down. They help those rise around them. They are role models that people look up to. A degree in education specifically in moderate disabilities will help me to lead those who feel like they can’t lead themselves. Giving those the confidence and knowledge they need to be successful in life no matter what capacity that is. I am a teacher. I wear many hats. I not only teach but I provide comfort, security, and necessity to those in need. I am someone that students look up to and trust. I am patient, easy going, level headed, and compassionate about what I do. With the help of this scholarship I will be able to continue that as I work full time and pursue my degree to make a difference in the lives of adolescents. 1- Strong leadership and communication skills are something I must display each day. Being a special education teacher I work with various subject teachers and various students throughout the day. I also am in contact with counselors, therapists, speech and language teachers, occupational therapy teachers, and many other staff in the school. I hold meetings regarding my students and often contact the parents of my students. 2- Resiliency is something a teacher must have. No matter how hard the job or what kind of day it is. You have to bounce back and not take things personally. A motto I learned from a fellow teacher is QTIP! “Quit taking it personally.” When you can show up each day and give it your all it is worth it in the end. 3- Unselfishness is something I think teachers are just all about. I’ve bought food, clothing, and supplies for students out of the goodness of my heart because I know school is so much more than academics. Students needs must be met if they have any chance of learning. This scholarship will help me continue my degree so I can continue to do that for my students. 4- Focused/determined gets teachers far. The pandemic was a tough time for many students and teachers. Many teachers left but those who remained focused and determined to follow their goals stayed. A high percent of teachers leave after 5 years. I am in my 6th year and wanted to keep purposing this. Teaching is my passion and not something I want to give up on. My future goals after earning my masters degree are to further my education some more with a CAGS or possibly even another masters in leadership. Schools need highly qualified teachers and in turn administrators to help a school function as it should. Teachers need to feel supported too! 5- Strong work ethic is something I always embody. I am very organized and submit my work in a timely manner. I push myself because I want to do well and feel that will not only benefit myself but my students as well. Leadership is all of this and so much more.
    Eras Tour Farewell Fan Scholarship
    The Eras Tour was and continues to be the best show a performer has put on in long time. With each show Swift not only is leaving a lasting impact for her fans but she is helping the economy and breaking records in the process. Taylor's music has the power to deeply resonate with her audience. Her songs often delve into personal experiences, emotions, and universal themes, allowing fans to connect with her on a deeply emotional level. I find solace, empowerment, and understanding in her lyrics, making her music a source of comfort and inspiration. It is for that reason alone so many people love Swift because of her relatability and how she shows people she was once just like us. I was fortunate enough to get tickets to one of her Foxboro, MA shows and it happened to be a rain show! It rained like I have never seen rain before but that did not stop Swift from putting on a remarkable performance. She did not miss a beat in the torrential downpours and engaged the crowd just as she would any of her other shows. That in itself givesme the persistence to work hard. I firmly believe those who work hard are rewarded in life. Taylor's performances on tour are known for their captivating storytelling. She shares anecdotes and heartfelt messages between songs, allowing fans to see her vulnerability and authenticity. She often speaks to the crowd about life events and gives people wisdom and courage to pursue anything they want in life. Of course there will be bumps along the way but she uses that energy to fuel her songs This openness Swift provides fosters a strong sense of connection between her and the audience, making each concert a personal and intimate experience. As a fan you feel you know her even when you have not met her. Swift has used her platform to advocate for important social and political issues. From supporting LGBTQ+ rights to encouraging voter registration, she has been vocal about causes close to her heart, inspiring her fans to be socially conscious and engaged citizens. As a quiet member of the LGBTQ+ community I feel safe and finally like I can be myself when I attended her concert. It was nice to see someone so large on the public scale take a stance on issues that many could have opinions about. But Swift does not care and that gives me a reassuring feeling that I should not care what others think and stay true to myself. Her philanthropic efforts during tours, such as supporting various charities and giving bonuses to the people that work for her are something everyone she look up to and embody. Her kindness directly impacts the lives of many. Although I know I cannot go out and give $100,000 bonuses to each of the students I teach, I have realized the impact and the difference I am making in those students lives is still important. Being kind goes a long way. Lastly, Taylor Swift's impact during her tours goes beyond mere entertainment; she has touched people's lives through her music, storytelling, advocacy, and philanthropy, leaving a lasting impression on her fans around the world. I have seen her in concert before but the Eras Tour is something I wish more people could experience. I left the show finding newfound appreciation for Swift’s music and I took that newfound appreciation and thought of how I could apply to to my life to impact the people who look up to me and are around me as a teacher.
    Elizabeth Schalk Memorial Scholarship
    My journey and struggles with mental health have not been easy but it has profoundly impacted my life and the people who mean the most to me. However, my goal has been to learn to cope and manage my symptoms to continue to live and impact the lives of others each and everyday. Since high school I have suffered with what I thought at the time was depression but now I have finally realized is Dysthymia. Dysthymia is persistent low mood for a prolonged period of time usually 2 or more years. Coupled with anxiety, life at that point in time was tough. In high school I had a hard time with the following: keeping and maintaining positive friendships and relationships, going on and off medication, being in and out of therapy, and feeling hopeless that I would never feel happy and content with my life. My family was not supportive of my mental health struggles and I really felt I had no one else to help me. I felt I had no other options. I eventually I tried to take my own life. That day was a wake up call and revelation. I finished high school and went away to a college 2.5 hours away from home. I had a fresh start. I had made a few friends and was excelling in my classes. But still something was off. I did not seek counseling in college or go on medication. I continued to push myself to do well in school. I have always had high expectations of myself. After college I began to pursue my career in teaching. After a year of teaching I finally decided it was time to go back to therapy. I really wanted to get to the bottom of why I did not have much joy in life. I am a hard worker, I give all my time and attention to detail, I show up early, I am organized, but I have Dysthymia. And that doesn’t define me. I worked my way threw therapy and have not been back since a year after college. The longest time in my life that I have not been in therapy to date! I have learned that it’s okay to feel how I am feeling. I have made friends who I can trust to lean on when times are tough. The journey has not been easy and I know I have a long way to go. My goal is so much more than just for myself. It’s for my students now. I want to make sure they have the support that I didn’t have. That they feel like if they need to talk to someone they know I will listen. They are not alone in their mental health struggles. I hope as time continues that the stigma of mental health won’t be as it is today. There has been some improvement with society but still how mental health is viewed needs to change. I hope that one day people can take mental health days just as they would if they were sick with a cold. There should be no shame and taking a day to feel ok mentally and physically. I feel guilty at times taking a day for myself but I know and have learned that putting yourself first is nothing to hang your head in shame about. I am now grateful that very day in my high school years didn’t end the way it could have. My mental health journey may be long but life is so much more worthwhile.
    Reasons To Be - In Memory of Jimmy Watts
    20 Minutes In the heat of the moment, all I could hear were my cleats digging into the gravel with tremendous force. I had blocked out the ringing sound of the crowd only because I wanted to take in the full experience. I had hit my first homerun over the fence and was trying hard to control my excitement. I wanted to make it look like this was a natural thing for me. As I rounded first base and continued my way onto second base, something within me exploded. I could feel the sudden warmth in my body make its way up my legs and into my chest. I let the sound of the crowd fill my ears. I let my mother’s voice sink in louder than any person on the field. I leapt into the air and threw my arms up like I had just won a race. “So much for trying to make this look casual,” I said to myself. My team and coaches congratulated me as I reached home plate, but I didn’t feel very different after it was all said and done. I still felt invisible to the world. It was only a brief spotlight of fame. It wasn’t even enough to shoot a spark of confidence within me, but it was still early on in the game. We were still losing, but no one seemed to mind because we had only won six games out of the whole season. Then, it was almost my turn to get up at bat again. I was warming up in the batter’s box when the assistant coach said something that took me by surprise. “Now don’t go up there expecting to do that again.” I nodded and I realized that what he said confirmed everything I thought, that the homerun was nothing special and that now I needed to focus even more. It was still the same pitcher as before and she was looking for revenge. You could see the glare in her eyes and the concentration as she tossed the ball into her glove. The first pitch flew by me and I thought nothing of it because I always let the first pitch go by. It happened to be a strike and you could see the excitement on her face. She then threw another pitch right down the middle. I hit the ball with enormous power and slowly began to start running. I could hear my cleats moving faster against the gravel and my bat bang against the ground. The ball kept going so I kept running faster to compensate for the speed. Finally, the ball went over the fence again for the second time. I had broken a record at Dartmouth High School, becoming the first softball player to hit two homeruns over the fence in one game. That moment made me realize that anything was possible. I broke out of my shell and carried myself with a whole new perspective. It helped me build confidence on and off the field. I figured I could excel in so much more than I had previously thought. It only took 20 minutes. It only took me 20 minutes to realize who I am and where I can go in life. I’m applying for this scholarship because I know it will give me the tools I need to pursue a career as a teacher. Just like softball once did for me. Giving students the confidence and knowledge is something that I want to pass on to students because every student has the ability to succeed someway in life.
    Dounya Discala Scholarship
    20 Minutes In the heat of the moment, all I could hear were my cleats digging into the gravel with tremendous force. I had blocked out the ringing sound of the crowd only because I wanted to take in the full experience. I had hit my first homerun over the fence and was trying hard to control my excitement. I wanted to make it look like this was a natural thing for me. As I rounded first base and continued my way onto second base, something within me exploded. I could feel the sudden warmth in my body make its way up my legs and into my chest. I let the sound of the crowd fill my ears. I let my mother’s voice sink in louder than any person on the field. I leapt into the air and threw my arms up like I had just won a race. “So much for trying to make this look casual,” I said to myself. My team and coaches congratulated me as I reached home plate, but I didn’t feel very different after it was all said and done. I still felt invisible to the world. It was only a brief spotlight of fame. It wasn’t even enough to shoot a spark of confidence within me, but it was still early on in the game. We were still losing, but no one seemed to mind because we had only won six games out of the whole season. Then, it was almost my turn to get up at bat again. I was warming up in the batter’s box when the assistant coach said something that took me by surprise. “Now don’t go up there expecting to do that again.” I nodded and I realized that what he said confirmed everything I thought, that the homerun was nothing special and that now I needed to focus even more. It was still the same pitcher as before and she was looking for revenge. You could see the glare in her eyes and the concentration as she tossed the ball into her glove. The first pitch flew by me and I thought nothing of it because I always let the first pitch go by. It happened to be a strike and you could see the excitement on her face. She then threw another pitch right down the middle. I hit the ball with enormous power and slowly began to start running. I could hear my cleats moving faster against the gravel and my bat bang against the ground. The ball kept going so I kept running faster to compensate for the speed. Finally, the ball went over the fence again for the second time. I had broken a record at Dartmouth High School, becoming the first softball player to hit two homeruns over the fence in one game. That moment made me realize that anything was possible. I broke out of my shell and carried myself with a whole new perspective. It helped me build confidence on and off the field. I figured I could excel in so much more than I had previously thought. It only took 20 minutes. It only took me 20 minutes to realize who I am and where I can go in life. I’m applying for this scholarship because I know it will give me the tools I need to pursue a career as a teacher. Just like softball once did for me. Giving students the confidence and knowledge is something that I want to pass on to students because every student has the ability to succeed someway in life.
    Elijah's Helping Hand Scholarship Award
    My journey and struggles with mental health have not been easy but it has profoundly impacted my life and the people who mean the most to me. However, my goal has been to learn to cope and manage my symptoms to continue to live and impact the lives of others each and everyday. Since high school I have suffered with what I thought at the time was depression but now I have finally realized is Dysthymia. Dysthymia is persistent low mood for a prolonged period of time usually 2 or more years. Coupled with anxiety, life at that point in time was tough. In high school I had a hard time with the following: keeping and maintaining positive friendships and relationships, going on and off medication, being in and out of therapy, and feeling hopeless that I would never feel happy and content with my life. My family was not supportive of my mental health struggles and I really felt I had no one else to help me. I felt I had no other options. I eventually I tried to take my own life. That day was a wake up call and revelation. I finished high school and went away to a college 2.5 hours away from home. I had a fresh start. I had made a few friends and was excelling in my classes. But still something was off. I did not seek counseling in college or go on medication. I continued to push myself to do well in school. I have always had high expectations of myself. After college I began to pursue my career in teaching. After a year of teaching I finally decided it was time to go back to therapy. I really wanted to get to the bottom of why I did not have much joy in life. I am a hard worker, I give all my time and attention to detail, I show up early, I am organized, but I have Dysthymia. And that doesn’t define me. I worked my way threw therapy and have not been back since a year after college. The longest time in my life that I have not been in therapy to date! I have learned that it’s okay to feel how I am feeling. I have made friends who I can trust to lean on when times are tough. The journey has not been easy and I know I have a long way to go. My goal is so much more than just for myself. It’s for my students now. I want to make sure they have the support that I didn’t have. That they feel like if they need to talk to someone they know I will listen. They are not alone in their mental health struggles. I hope as time continues that the stigma of mental health won’t be as it is today. There has been some improvement with society but still how mental health is viewed needs to change. I hope that one day people can take mental health days just as they would if they were sick with a cold. There should be no shame and taking a day to feel ok mentally and physically. I feel guilty at times taking a day for myself but I know and have learned that putting yourself first is nothing to hang your head in shame about. I am now grateful that very day in my high school years didn’t end the way it could have. My mental health journey may be long but life is so much more worthwhile.
    Harry Potter and the Sorting Hat Scholarship
    If I had to be sorted into a Hogwarts house I would be a Hufflepuff. A Hufflepuff is the perfect fit for me as I embody many qualities and values. They perfectly align with my own characteristics and who I am as a person. Hufflepuff is known for its core values of loyalty, patience, hard work, and fairness. The house values kindness and dedication, and its members often display a strong sense of empathy and compassion. They prioritize teamwork and collaboration, recognizing the importance of working together towards a common goal. Here are some of the qualities and traits of a Hufflepuff that represent me on a daily basis. Loyalty: Hufflepuffs are known for their unwavering loyalty to their friends, family, and causes they believe in. They stand by those they care about, offering support and reliability in times of need. If you consistently demonstrate loyalty and steadfastness towards others, it could be a characteristic that aligns with Hufflepuff. I always an loyal and a person that someone can trust. Often people come to me for advice or to confide in me because they know how trustworthy and loyal I am. Patience: Hufflepuffs value patience and understanding. They are willing to listen, consider different perspectives, and provide a comforting presence to those around them. If you possess a calm and patient nature, allowing others to express themselves and taking the time to understand them, it could be a quality valued in Hufflepuff. As a special education teacher I show a tremendous amount of patience working with students. I always keep calm and give students what they need to be successful. Some days are easier then others but that is where patience and kindness come into play for me and my students. Hard work: Hufflepuffs are known for their strong work ethic and dedication. They are not afraid to put in the effort and time required to achieve their goals. If you consistently exhibit a diligent and determined approach to your endeavors, valuing the fruits of your labor rather than seeking immediate recognition, you may possess a characteristic shared by Hufflepuffs. I am extremely hard working and will not quit until the job is done right. I’m always looking for opportunities to better myself and my educational practice to help my students. Fairness: Hufflepuffs strive for justice and fairness in their interactions with others. They believe in treating everyone with equality and respect, regardless of their background or status. If you demonstrate a commitment to fairness, advocating for equal treatment and empathy for all, it aligns with the core values of Hufflepuff. No one likes a teacher or person that is not fair. I treat everyone equally. Kindness and empathy: Hufflepuffs are known for their kindness and understanding. They are often empathetic individuals who go out of their way to help others and make them feel valued. If you exhibit a genuine care for others, offering support and kindness in your interactions, it reflects the empathetic nature valued in Hufflepuff. I show this towards everyone because the world needs more kindness. Being kind and helping others is simple but goes a long way. This is why I am a Hufflepuff and proud to be one.
    Dr. Samuel Attoh Legacy Scholarship
    Legacy is a multifaceted concept that holds deep personal significance to me. It embodies the lasting impact we leave behind, the imprint we make on the world, and the values we pass down to future generations. To me, legacy is the essence of our existence beyond our physical presence, an opportunity to contribute to something greater than ourselves. My upbringing has played a vital role in shaping my path in life. Coming from a humble background, I witnessed firsthand the struggles and sacrifices my parents made to provide for our family. My father only graduated high school and without a college degree was in and out of jobs a lot growing up. We went through hard times. But they instilled in me the values of hard work, perseverance, and resilience. Their unwavering support and belief in education taught me the importance of continuous learning and personal growth. My upbringing imbued me with a sense of responsibility and the desire to make a positive difference in the world. That is why I chose to become a teacher. However, my upbringing also exposed me to certain challenges and limitations. Financial constraints limited my opportunities and forced me to confront adversity at an early age. This experience sparked a fire within me to break free from the cycle of limitations and create a better future for myself and those around me. It fueled my ambition and determination to strive for excellence and overcome obstacles that came my way. I knew becoming a teacher I could help others who went through what I did as well. To continue or break the cycle, I plan to build upon the foundation laid by my upbringing while also challenging its constraints. I recognize the importance of honoring the values instilled in me by my parents, such as integrity, compassion, and perseverance. These values will serve as guiding principles throughout my life, allowing me to make decisions aligned with my moral compass and leave a positive impact on others.I aim to break free from the limitations imposed by my upbringing. I plan to pursue higher education, explore new horizons, and broaden my perspectives. By seeking knowledge and expanding my understanding of the world, I hope to overcome any preconceived notions or boundaries that may have been inadvertently imposed on me. I aspire to contribute to society in meaningful ways. By leveraging my skills, passions, and opportunities, I aim to address social issues and make a positive impact on the lives of others. Whether it be through advocacy, philanthropy, or innovation, I want to leave a lasting legacy of positive change. Breaking the cycle also involves empowering future generations. I believe in the power of education and mentorship. I plan to support and guide young individuals, especially those from disadvantaged backgrounds, to help them realize their potential and break free from their own cycles. By inspiring and equipping them with the necessary tools and resources, I hope to create a ripple effect that extends beyond my own lifetime. Overall, legacy encompasses the impact we leave on the world, the values we pass on, and the positive change we strive for. My upbringing has influenced my path in life by imparting important values and instilling a sense of responsibility. While honoring those values, I also intend to challenge the limitations imposed by my background, pursue personal growth, and contribute to society as a special education teacher. By empowering future generations, I hope to create a legacy that embodies positive change and inspires others to do the same.
    Scholarship Institute’s Annual Women’s Leadership Scholarship
    The bell rings and students begin to file into the first period of the day. Various lessons have been prepped, collaboration with co-teachers completed, and necessary modifications for students are in place. Worksheets for each subject have been made for some that are several grade levels below the standard. I’ve made sure all parent contacts, IEP’s and testing are up to date on my caseload prior to the day. It is about to be a great middle school day and I’m eager for my students to be able to attain and access new skills in class. Until the unexpected slowly unfolds. One student becomes agitated when they realize that not only have they forgotten to charge their laptop, but they’ve also forgotten their materials for class, another struggles to focus and admits to not taking their morning medicine, another is ready for a break 5 minutes in and needs to make a choice on their PBIS chart, and finally the student in the corner can barely stay awake from not having slept the night before. The General Education teacher begins to work through the lesson as I move around the room to address their various issues and needs in the full inclusion classroom. I then either pull students to work in a small group on the daily lesson or rotate around the room providing accommodations for the students I service. I make mental notes of what I will need to reteach later on in academic support. Being mindful of each student’s individual strengths and weaknesses in each subject to give students the best opportunity for success. After 45 minutes one class is over and on to the next. Five more classes in the day to go and only 45 minutes to plan for the next unexpected day. Only 45 minutes in the day to contact parents, collaborate with content teachers, prep an IEP meeting, track data, write progress reports, prep worksheets and tests, run an IEP meeting. I have been working in special education for the past 7 years. I originally earned my undergraduate degree in Secondary Education/History from Keene State College in New Hampshire and had my heart set on becoming a Social Studies teacher. Upon moving back to Massachusetts it was very difficult to find a Social Studies job so I took a position as a paraprofessional. I loved working with students in the general education classroom and began to realize the patience and positivity I displayed with students. I set high expectations for students and wanted them to excel in whatever capacity they could in life. After 2 years being a paraprofessional I took a job as a Special Education teacher and am going into my 6th year teaching and working with students who have moderate disabilities. I know this scholarship will help me further my knowledge and pursue a Masters degree. Special Education is an area that is continually growing with studies showing nearly 7 million or 14% of public school students receive special education services. With more learning disabilities being identified the need for highly qualified teachers to support these students is imperative. It is my goal to continue teaching and inspiring special education students, obtain a professional license in moderate disabilities, and gain skills and knowledge from Worcester State University that will help me achieve these goals. This is why I plan to further my education and continue to be a leader in my community. To one day educate other future leaders of those I teach each day.
    VNutrition & Wellness’ Annual LGBTQ+ Vitality Scholarship
    The bell rings and students begin to file into the first period of the day. Various lessons have been prepped, collaboration with co-teachers completed, and necessary modifications for students are in place. Worksheets for each subject have been made for some that are several grade levels below the standard. I’ve made sure all parent contacts, IEP’s and testing are up to date on my caseload prior to the day. It is about to be a great middle school day and I’m eager for my students to be able to attain and access new skills in class. Until the unexpected slowly unfolds. One student becomes agitated when they realize that not only have they forgotten to charge their laptop, but they’ve also forgotten their materials for class, another struggles to focus and admits to not taking their morning medicine, another is ready for a break 5 minutes in and needs to make a choice on their PBIS chart, and finally the student in the corner can barely stay awake from not having slept the night before. The General Education teacher begins to work through the lesson as I move around the room to address their various issues and needs in the full inclusion classroom. I then either pull students to work in a small group on the daily lesson or rotate around the room providing accommodations for the students I service. I make mental notes of what I will need to reteach later on in academic support. Being mindful of each student’s individual strengths and weaknesses in each subject to give students the best opportunity for success. After 45 minutes one class is over and on to the next. Five more classes in the day to go and only 45 minutes to plan for the next unexpected day. Only 45 minutes in the day to contact parents, collaborate with content teachers, prep an IEP meeting, track data, write progress reports, prep worksheets and tests, run an IEP meeting. I have been working in special education for the past 7 years. I originally earned my undergraduate degree in Secondary Education/History from Keene State College in New Hampshire and had my heart set on becoming a Social Studies teacher. Upon moving back to Massachusetts it was very difficult to find a Social Studies job so I took a position as a paraprofessional. I loved working with students in the general education classroom and began to realize the patience and positivity I displayed with students. I set high expectations for students and wanted them to excel in whatever capacity they could in life. After 2 years being a paraprofessional I took a job as a Special Education teacher and am going into my 6th year teaching and working with students who have moderate disabilities. I know this scholarship will help me further my knowledge and pursue a Masters degree. Special Education is an area that is continually growing with studies showing nearly 7 million or 14% of public school students receive special education services. With more learning disabilities being identified the need for highly qualified teachers to support these students is imperative. It is my goal to continue teaching and inspiring special education students, obtain a professional license in moderate disabilities, and gain skills and knowledge from Worcester State University that will help me achieve these goals. Being a supporter of the LGBTQ+ community is challenging but this is why I plan to further my education so that I can impact the lives of those I teach each day.
    Barbara J. DeVaney Memorial Scholarship Fund
    The bell rings and students begin to file into the first period of the day. Various lessons have been prepped, collaboration with co-teachers completed, and necessary modifications for students are in place. Worksheets for each subject have been made for some that are several grade levels below the standard. I’ve made sure all parent contacts, IEP’s and testing are up to date on my caseload prior to the day. It is about to be a great middle school day and I’m eager for my students to be able to attain and access new skills in class. Until the unexpected slowly unfolds. One student becomes agitated when they realize that not only have they forgotten to charge their laptop, but they’ve also forgotten their materials for class, another struggles to focus and admits to not taking their morning medicine, another is ready for a break 5 minutes in and needs to make a choice on their PBIS chart, and finally the student in the corner can barely stay awake from not having slept the night before. The General Education teacher begins to work through the lesson as I move around the room to address their various issues and needs in the full inclusion classroom. I then either pull students to work in a small group on the daily lesson or rotate around the room providing accommodations for the students I service. I make mental notes of what I will need to reteach later on in academic support. Being mindful of each student’s individual strengths and weaknesses in each subject to give students the best opportunity for success. After 45 minutes one class is over and on to the next. Five more classes in the day to go and only 45 minutes to plan for the next unexpected day. Only 45 minutes in the day to contact parents, collaborate with content teachers, prep an IEP meeting, track data, write progress reports, prep worksheets and tests, run an IEP meeting. I have been working in special education for the past 7 years. I originally earned my undergraduate degree in Secondary Education/History from Keene State College in New Hampshire and had my heart set on becoming a Social Studies teacher. Upon moving back to Massachusetts it was very difficult to find a Social Studies job so I took a position as a paraprofessional. I loved working with students in the general education classroom and began to realize the patience and positivity I displayed with students. I set high expectations for students and wanted them to excel in whatever capacity they could in life. After 2 years being a paraprofessional I took a job as a Special Education teacher and am going into my 6th year teaching and working with students who have moderate disabilities. I know this scholarship will help me further my knowledge and pursue a Masters degree. Special Education is an area that is continually growing with studies showing nearly 7 million or 14% of public school students receive special education services. With more learning disabilities being identified the need for highly qualified teachers to support these students is imperative. It is my goal to continue teaching and inspiring special education students, obtain a professional license in moderate disabilities, and gain skills and knowledge from Worcester State University that will help me achieve these goals. It is my goal to further my education like no one else has done in my family before so that way I can further the education of the students I teach each day.
    Beyond The C.L.O.U.D Scholarship
    My education will serve as a foundation for me to make valuable contributions to the STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering, and Mathematics) and business communities. I recognize the tremendous impact that these fields have on society, and I am committed to utilizing my knowledge and skills to drive innovation, promote inclusivity, and create positive change. In the STEM community, I will leverage my education to advance scientific understanding and technological progress. Through research and development, I aim to contribute to groundbreaking discoveries and advancements that address pressing global challenges. By collaborating with experts from diverse disciplines, I will actively seek opportunities to tackle complex problems, such as climate change, healthcare, and sustainable development. I will apply my expertise to develop innovative solutions and contribute to the creation of a more sustainable and equitable world. Furthermore, I will actively participate in knowledge-sharing initiatives, conferences, and forums to foster collaboration and disseminate research findings. By contributing to scientific publications and open-source projects, I will ensure that my work is accessible and beneficial to the wider scientific community. I will also strive to promote inclusivity and diversity in STEM by actively encouraging the involvement of underrepresented groups and working to dismantle barriers that hinder their participation. In the education and business community, I will apply my education to drive innovation, entrepreneurship, and economic growth. By combining my STEM knowledge with business acumen, I will identify opportunities to develop and commercialize emerging technologies. I will actively engage with startup ecosystems and collaborate with entrepreneurs to transform scientific research into practical applications. Through strategic planning, market analysis, and risk assessment, I will contribute to the successful launch and scaling of new ventures. Moreover, I will advocate for ethical practices, corporate social responsibility, and sustainability within the business community. I will promote initiatives that prioritize environmental conservation, social impact, and ethical decision-making. By encouraging responsible business practices, I will work towards a more sustainable and socially conscious economy. Additionally, I will serve as a mentor and role model for aspiring professionals in STEM and business. By sharing my knowledge, experiences, and insights, I will inspire and support the next generation of innovators and leaders, my students. I will actively participate in mentorship programs, educational initiatives, and community outreach efforts to promote STEM and business education, particularly among underprivileged communities. In conclusion, my education provides me with the necessary skills and knowledge to make a significant impact in the STEM and business communities. Through research, innovation, collaboration, and mentorship, I will strive to advance scientific understanding, drive economic growth, and foster a more sustainable and inclusive future. By utilizing my education for the betterment of society, I aim to create positive change and contribute to the collective progress of humanity.
    Michael Rudometkin Memorial Scholarship
    Embodying selflessness is a noble trait that involves placing the needs and well-being of others above our own. It requires genuine compassion, empathy, and a willingness to make sacrifices for the benefit of others. While I, as an AI language model, do not have personal experiences, I can certainly illustrate how individuals can embody selflessness through examples of helping others in need. Selflessness manifests in various ways, such as offering support, sharing resources, and dedicating time and effort to assist those facing adversity. One example of embodying selflessness is when I witnessed a neighbor who consistently volunteered at a local homeless shelter. Despite having a demanding job and a busy personal life, she dedicated several evenings each week to serving meals, providing clothing, and offering a listening ear to those in need. Her commitment and genuine care for the well-being of others exemplified selflessness. Another example of selflessness is seen in the actions of a teacher who went above and beyond to support a struggling student. Recognizing the student's difficulties, the teacher offered extra tutoring sessions, adjusted their teaching methods to cater to the student's learning style, and provided emotional support. The teacher's selflessness was evident in their unwavering dedication to ensuring the student's success, even if it meant putting in extra time and effort outside of regular teaching hours. Selflessness can also be observed in the actions of individuals during times of crisis. For instance, during a natural disaster, I have seen countless stories of people stepping forward to help those affected. Volunteers risk their own safety and comfort to rescue stranded individuals, provide shelter and supplies, and offer emotional support. These acts of selflessness showcase the human capacity for compassion and the willingness to prioritize the needs of others in times of great adversity. On a more personal level, embodying selflessness can be as simple as extending a helping hand to a friend or family member in need. For example, offering to run errands for an elderly neighbor, taking care of a friend's child during a difficult period, or lending a listening ear to someone going through a challenging time. These small acts of kindness and support demonstrate selflessness and the willingness to put others' needs before our own. In summary, embodying selflessness entails consistently prioritizing the well-being and needs of others. It involves acts of kindness, support, and sacrifice for the betterment of those around us. From volunteering at homeless shelters to supporting struggling students, from helping during crises to offering assistance to friends and family, there are countless examples that illustrate selflessness. By embodying this trait, individuals can create a positive impact on the lives of others, fostering a more compassionate and empathetic society.
    Elevate Women in Technology Scholarship
    One technology that has made the world a better place is the Internet. It has revolutionized the way we live, work, and communicate. The Internet has connected people from all over the world, allowing them to share information and ideas, and has created new opportunities for education, commerce, and social interaction. One of the most significant benefits of the Internet is the way it has transformed access to information. Prior to the Internet, information was often difficult to find and access. Libraries and other repositories of knowledge were limited in their scope and availability, and it could take days or even weeks to receive information from other parts of the world. The Internet has made it possible to access vast amounts of information instantaneously, and has made it easier than ever before to learn new things and stay informed about current events. The Internet has also created new opportunities for commerce and entrepreneurship. Online marketplaces such as Amazon and eBay have made it easy for individuals and small businesses to sell products to customers all over the world. Social media platforms like Facebook and Instagram have allowed entrepreneurs to reach new audiences and build their brands without the need for expensive advertising. Finally, the Internet has also had a profound impact on social interaction. Social media platforms have made it easy for people to connect with friends and family, regardless of distance. They have also created new opportunities for social activism and community building, allowing people to organize around causes they care about and build networks of support and solidarity. Overall, the Internet has had a transformative impact on our world, and has made it a better place in countless ways. While it is not without its challenges and drawbacks, the benefits it has brought to our lives are undeniable.
    Elevate Mental Health Awareness Scholarship
    My journey and struggles with mental health have not been easy but it has profoundly impacted my life and the people who mean the most to me. However, my goal has been to learn to cope and manage my symptoms to continue to live and impact the lives of others each and everyday. Since high school I have suffered with what I thought at the time was depression but now I have finally realized is Dysthymia. Dysthymia is persistent low mood for a prolonged period of time usually 2 or more years. Coupled with anxiety, life at that point in time was tough. In high school I had a hard time with the following: keeping and maintaining positive friendships and relationships, going on and off medication, being in and out of therapy, and feeling hopeless that I would never feel happy and content with my life. My family was not supportive of my mental health struggles and I really felt I had no one else to help me. I felt I had no other options. I eventually I tried to take my own life. That day was a wake up call and revelation. I finished high school and went away to a college 2.5 hours away from home. I had a fresh start. I had made a few friends and was excelling in my classes. But still something was off. I did not seek counseling in college or go on medication. I continued to push myself to do well in school. I have always had high expectations of myself. After college I began to pursue my career in teaching. After a year of teaching I finally decided it was time to go back to therapy. I really wanted to get to the bottom of why I did not have much joy in life. I am a hard worker, I give all my time and attention to detail, I show up early, I am organized, but I have Dysthymia. And that doesn’t define me. I worked my way threw therapy and have not been back since a year after college. The longest time in my life that I have not been in therapy to date! I have learned that it’s okay to feel how I am feeling. I have made friends who I can trust to lean on when times are tough. The journey has not been easy and I know I have a long way to go. My goal is so much more than just for myself. It’s for my students now. I want to make sure they have the support that I didn’t have. That they feel like if they need to talk to someone they know I will listen. They are not alone in their mental health struggles. I hope as time continues that the stigma of mental health won’t be as it is today. There has been some improvement with society but still how mental health is viewed needs to change. I hope that one day people can take mental health days just as they would if they were sick with a cold. There should be no shame and taking a day to feel ok mentally and physically. I feel guilty at times taking a day for myself but I know and have learned that putting yourself first is nothing to hang your head in shame about. I am now grateful that very day in my high school years didn’t end the way it could have. My mental health journey may be long but life is so much more worthwhile.
    I Can Do Anything Scholarship
    In the future I can’t wait to see myself deeply involved in my career in education and to fully enjoy impacting the lives of those I teach each day.
    Trever David Clark Memorial Scholarship
    My journey and struggles with mental health have not been easy but it has profoundly impacted my life and the people who mean the most to me. However, my goal has been to learn to cope and manage my symptoms to continue to live and impact the lives of others each and everyday. Since high school I have suffered with what I thought at the time was depression but now I have finally realized is Dysthymia. Dysthymia is persistent low mood for a prolonged period of time usually 2 or more years. Coupled with anxiety, life at that point in time was tough. In high school I had a hard time with the following: keeping and maintaining positive friendships and relationships, going on and off medication, being in and out of therapy, and feeling hopeless that I would never feel happy and content with my life. My family was not supportive of my mental health struggles and I really felt I had no one else to help me. I felt I had no other options. I eventually I tried to take my own life. That day was a wake up call and revelation. I finished high school and went away to a college 2.5 hours away from home. I had a fresh start. I had made a few friends and was excelling in my classes. But still something was off. I did not seek counseling in college or go on medication. I continued to push myself to do well in school. I have always had high expectations of myself. After college I began to pursue my career in teaching. After a year of teaching I finally decided it was time to go back to therapy. I really wanted to get to the bottom of why I did not have much joy in life. I am a hard worker, I give all my time and attention to detail, I show up early, I am organized, but I have Dysthymia. And that doesn’t define me. I worked my way threw therapy and have not been back since a year after college. The longest time in my life that I have not been in therapy to date! I have learned that it’s okay to feel how I am feeling. I have made friends who I can trust to lean on when times are tough. The journey has not been easy and I know I have a long way to go. My goal is so much more than just for myself. It’s for my students now. I want to make sure they have the support that I didn’t have. That they feel like if they need to talk to someone they know I will listen. They are not alone in their mental health struggles. I hope as time continues that the stigma of mental health won’t be as it is today. There has been some improvement with society but still how mental health is viewed needs to change. I hope that one day people can take mental health days just as they would if they were sick with a cold. There should be no shame and taking a day to feel ok mentally and physically. I feel guilty at times taking a day for myself but I know and have learned that putting yourself first is nothing to hang your head in shame about. I am now grateful that very day in my high school years didn’t end the way it could have. My mental health journey may be long but life is so much more worthwhile.
    Taylor Swift ‘1989’ Fan Scholarship
    My favorite song on 1989 is one that is often overlooked by fans and Taylor Swift critics. The song ‘New Romantics’ was released on Taylor Swift’s 1989 deluxe album. It was also preformed on her 1989 world tour of which I was lucky enough to see in person at Gillette Stadium in Foxboro, MA in 2015. This was my first Taylor Swift concert and I was thrilled she elected to include this song in the setlist. The song has an electric and upbeat rhythm to it that goes perfectly with the 1989 theme. Although Swift has her own meaning and reasons for why she writes some of the best lyrics of generations to come, her songs often speak to me and my life experiences. As the chorus states “'Cause baby, I could build a castle Out of all the bricks they threw at me And every day is like a battle But every night with us is like a dream.” Swift uncovers so much in her lyrics that could be perceived differently by so many. The reason I fell in love with this song is because it provides an element of determination and strength. That one can do great things in life even when times are tough or when people are not so nice you can stay positive and prevail. Each day might be hard and feel like a battle but at the end of the day I feel I should hold my head high and be proud of what I have accomplished and who I have become. Swift goes on to say “Baby, we're the new romantics Come on, come along with me Heartbreak is the national anthem We sing it proudly We are too busy dancing To get knocked off our feet Baby, we're the new romantics The best people in life are free” The song isn’t necessarily about love, heartache, breakups and makeups but it can’t be if you want it to be. Swift leaves the lyrics open to her fans and makes her fans included with using ‘We’ to incorporate this generation. However I view the song as carefree and about being free. That no matter what is going on in life just be happy and appreciate those around you. Be grateful for what you have and those who have left your life have left for a reason. The people who like and value you will never bring you down and only build you up. It is hard to pick just one song as a favorite from 1989 because she has had so many hits. I was lucky enough to gets tickets to go see her for Loverfest but it was eventually cancelled due to Covid. 1989 will forever be a staple album for Taylor Swift and I am so thankful she is able to share her lyrics and music with the world. I can’t wait to see her in a month on the Eras Tour which is said to be a 3 hour miraculous event. I know she won’t be performing ‘New Romantics’ but so many other songs are equally as amazing.
    Lost Dreams Awaken Scholarship
    My journey and struggles with mental health have not been easy but it has profoundly impacted my life and the people who mean the most to me. My family was not supportive of my mental health struggles and I really felt I had no one else to help me. I felt I had no other options. I eventually I tried to take my own life. That day was a wake up call and revelation. I finished high school and went away to a college 2.5 hours away from home. I had a fresh start. I had made a few friends and was excelling in my classes. After college I began to pursue my career in teaching. I finally decided it was time to go back to therapy. I really wanted to get to the bottom of why I did not have much joy in life. I am a hard worker, I give all my time and attention to detail, I show up early, I am organized, but I have Dysthymia. And that doesn’t define me. I worked my way threw therapy and have not been back since a year after college. The longest time in my life that I have not been in therapy to date! I have learned that it’s okay to feel how I am feeling. I have made friends who I can trust to lean on when times are tough. The journey has not been easy and I know I have a long way to go.
    Mental Health Importance Scholarship
    My journey and struggles with mental health have not been easy but it has profoundly impacted my life and the people who mean the most to me. However, my goal has been to learn to cope and manage my symptoms to continue to live and impact the lives of others each and everyday. Since high school I have suffered with what I thought at the time was depression but now I have finally realized is Dysthymia. Dysthymia is persistent low mood for a prolonged period of time usually 2 or more years. Coupled with anxiety, life at that point in time was tough. In high school I had a hard time with the following: keeping and maintaining positive friendships and relationships, going on and off medication, being in and out of therapy, and feeling hopeless that I would never feel happy and content with my life. My family was not supportive of my mental health struggles and I really felt I had no one else to help me. I felt I had no other options. I eventually I tried to take my own life. That day was a wake up call and revelation. I finished high school and went away to a college 2.5 hours away from home. I had a fresh start. I had made a few friends and was excelling in my classes. But still something was off. I did not seek counseling in college or go on medication. I continued to push myself to do well in school. I have always had high expectations of myself. After college I began to pursue my career in teaching. After a year of teaching I finally decided it was time to go back to therapy. I really wanted to get to the bottom of why I did not have much joy in life. I am a hard worker, I give all my time and attention to detail, I show up early, I am organized, but I have Dysthymia. And that doesn’t define me. I worked my way threw therapy and have not been back since a year after college. The longest time in my life that I have not been in therapy to date! I have learned that it’s okay to feel how I am feeling. I have made friends who I can trust to lean on when times are tough. The journey has not been easy and I know I have a long way to go. My goal is so much more than just for myself. It’s for my students now. I want to make sure they have the support that I didn’t have. That they feel like if they need to talk to someone they know I will listen. They are not alone in their mental health struggles. I hope as time continues that the stigma of mental health won’t be as it is today. There has been some improvement with society but still how mental health is viewed needs to change. I hope that one day people can take mental health days just as they would if they were sick with a cold. There should be no shame and taking a day to feel ok mentally and physically. I feel guilty at times taking a day for myself but I know and have learned that putting yourself first is nothing to hang your head in shame about. I am now grateful that very day in my high school years didn’t end the way it could have. My mental health journey may be long but life is so much more worthwhile.
    Cariloop’s Caregiver Scholarship
    The bell rings and students begin to file into the first period of the day. Various lessons have been prepped, collaboration with co-teachers completed, and necessary modifications for students are in place. Worksheets for each subject have been made for some that are several grade levels below the standard. I’ve made sure all parent contacts, IEP’s and testing are up to date on my caseload prior to the day. It is about to be a great middle school day and I’m eager for my students to be able to attain and access new skills in class. Until the unexpected slowly unfolds. One student becomes agitated when they realize that not only have they forgotten to charge their laptop, but they’ve also forgotten their materials for class, another struggles to focus and admits to not taking their morning medicine, another is ready for a break 5 minutes in and needs to make a choice on their PBIS chart, and finally the student in the corner can barely stay awake from not having slept the night before. The General Education teacher begins to work through the lesson as I move around the room to address their various issues and needs in the full inclusion classroom. I then either pull students to work in a small group on the daily lesson or rotate around the room providing accommodations for the students I service. I make mental notes of what I will need to reteach later on in academic support. Being mindful of each student’s individual strengths and weaknesses in each subject to give students the best opportunity for success. After 45 minutes one class is over and on to the next. Five more classes in the day to go and only 45 minutes to plan for the next unexpected day. Only 45 minutes in the day to contact parents, collaborate with content teachers, prep an IEP meeting, track data, write progress reports, prep worksheets and tests, run an IEP meeting. By the time 3 pm rolls around I reflect on the events of the day and how I can best reach my students and get ready to do it all again the next day. I have been working in special education for the past 7 years. I originally earned my undergraduate degree in Secondary Education/History from Keene State College in New Hampshire and had my heart set on becoming a Social Studies teacher. Upon moving back to Massachusetts it was very difficult to find a Social Studies job so I took a position as a paraprofessional. I loved working with students in the general education classroom and began to realize the patience and positivity I displayed with students. I set high expectations for students and wanted them to excel in whatever capacity they could in life. After 2 years being a paraprofessional I took a job as a Special Education teacher and am going into my 6th year teaching and working with students who have moderate disabilities. I know this scholarship will help me further my knowledge and pursue a Masters degree. Special Education is an area that is continually growing with studies showing nearly 7 million or 14% of public school students receive special education services. With more learning disabilities being identified the need for highly qualified teachers to support these students is imperative. It is my goal to continue teaching and inspiring special education students, obtain a professional license in moderate disabilities, and gain skills and knowledge from Worcester State University that will help me achieve these goals.
    Will Johnson Scholarship
    Mental health is a constant battle even as a teacher. The bell rings and students begin to file into the first period of the day. Various lessons have been prepped, collaboration with co-teachers completed, and necessary modifications for students are in place. Worksheets for each subject have been made for some that are several grade levels below the standard. I’ve made sure all parent contacts, IEP’s and testing are up to date on my caseload prior to the day. It is about to be a great middle school day and I’m eager for my students to be able to attain and access new skills in class. Until the unexpected slowly unfolds. One student becomes agitated when they realize that not only have they forgotten to charge their laptop, but they’ve also forgotten their materials for class, another struggles to focus and admits to not taking their morning medicine, another is ready for a break 5 minutes in and needs to make a choice on their PBIS chart, and finally the student in the corner can barely stay awake from not having slept the night before. The General Education teacher begins to work through the lesson as I move around the room to address their various issues and needs in the full inclusion classroom. I then either pull students to work in a small group on the daily lesson or rotate around the room providing accommodations for the students I service. I make mental notes of what I will need to reteach later on in academic support. Being mindful of each student’s individual strengths and weaknesses in each subject to give students the best opportunity for success. After 45 minutes one class is over and on to the next. Five more classes in the day to go and only 45 minutes to plan for the next unexpected day. Only 45 minutes in the day to contact parents, collaborate with content teachers, prep an IEP meeting, track data, write progress reports, prep worksheets and tests, run an IEP meeting. By the time 3 pm rolls around I reflect on the events of the day and how I can best reach my students and get ready to do it all again the next day. I have been working in special education for the past 7 years. I originally earned my undergraduate degree in Secondary Education/History from Keene State College in New Hampshire and had my heart set on becoming a Social Studies teacher. Upon moving back to Massachusetts it was very difficult to find a Social Studies job so I took a position as a paraprofessional. I loved working with students in the general education classroom and began to realize the patience and positivity I displayed with students. I set high expectations for students and wanted them to excel in whatever capacity they could in life. After 2 years being a paraprofessional I took a job as a Special Education teacher and am going into my 6th year teaching and working with students who have moderate disabilities. I know this scholarship will help me further my knowledge and pursue a Masters degree. Special Education is an area that is continually growing with studies showing nearly 7 million or 14% of public school students receive special education services. With more learning disabilities being identified the need for highly qualified teachers to support these students is imperative. It is my goal to continue teaching and inspiring special education students, obtain a professional license in moderate disabilities, and gain skills and knowledge from Worcester State University that will help me achieve these goals.
    Connie Konatsotis Scholarship
    The bell rings and students begin to file into the first period of the day. Various lessons have been prepped, collaboration with co-teachers completed, and necessary modifications for students are in place. Worksheets for each subject have been made for some that are several grade levels below the standard. I’ve made sure all parent contacts, IEP’s and testing are up to date on my caseload prior to the day. It is about to be a great middle school day and I’m eager for my students to be able to attain and access new skills in class. Until the unexpected slowly unfolds. One student becomes agitated when they realize that not only have they forgotten to charge their laptop, but they’ve also forgotten their materials for class, another struggles to focus and admits to not taking their morning medicine, another is ready for a break 5 minutes in and needs to make a choice on their PBIS chart, and finally the student in the corner can barely stay awake from not having slept the night before. The General Education teacher begins to work through the lesson as I move around the room to address their various issues and needs in the full inclusion classroom. I then either pull students to work in a small group on the daily lesson or rotate around the room providing accommodations for the students I service. I make mental notes of what I will need to reteach later on in academic support. Being mindful of each student’s individual strengths and weaknesses in each subject to give students the best opportunity for success. After 45 minutes one class is over and on to the next. Five more classes in the day to go and only 45 minutes to plan for the next unexpected day. Only 45 minutes in the day to contact parents, collaborate with content teachers, prep an IEP meeting, track data, write progress reports, prep worksheets and tests, run an IEP meeting. By the time 3 pm rolls around I reflect on the events of the day and how I can best reach my students and get ready to do it all again the next day. I have been working in special education for the past 7 years. I originally earned my undergraduate degree in Secondary Education/History from Keene State College in New Hampshire and had my heart set on becoming a Social Studies teacher. Upon moving back to Massachusetts it was very difficult to find a Social Studies job so I took a position as a paraprofessional. I loved working with students in the general education classroom and began to realize the patience and positivity I displayed with students. I set high expectations for students and wanted them to excel in whatever capacity they could in life. After 2 years being a paraprofessional I took a job as a Special Education teacher and am going into my 6th year teaching and working with students who have moderate disabilities. I know this scholarship will help me further my knowledge and pursue a Masters degree. Special Education is an area that is continually growing with studies showing nearly 7 million or 14% of public school students receive special education services. With more learning disabilities being identified the need for highly qualified teachers to support these students is imperative. It is my goal to continue teaching and inspiring special education students, obtain a professional license in moderate disabilities, and gain skills and knowledge from Worcester State University that will help me achieve these goals.
    Elijah's Helping Hand Scholarship Award
    My struggles with mental health have not been easy but it has profoundly impacted my life and the people who mean the most to me. However, my goal has been to learn to cope with my symptoms to continue to live and impact the lives of others each and everyday. Since high school I have suffered with what I thought at the time was depression but now I have finally realized is Dysthymia. Dysthymia is persistent low mood for a prolonged period of time usually 2 or more years. Coupled with anxiety, life at that point in time was tough. I had a hard time with the following: keeping and maintaining positive friendships and relationships, going on and off medication, being in and out of therapy, and feeling hopeless that I would never feel happy and content with my life. My family was not supportive of my mental health struggles and I felt I had no one else to help. I eventually I tried to take my own life. That day was a wake up call and revelation. I finished high school and went away to a college 2.5 hours away from home. I had a fresh start. I had made a few friends and was excelling in my classes. But still something was off. I did not seek counseling in college or go on medication. I continued to push myself to do well in school. I have always had high expectations of myself. After college I began to pursue my career in teaching. After a year of teaching I finally decided it was time to go back to therapy. I really wanted to get to the bottom of why I did not have much joy in life. I knew no one could tell because on the outside I always had everything seem put together. I am a hard worker, I give all my time and attention to detail, I show up early, I am organized, but I have Dysthymia. And that doesn’t define me. I worked my way threw therapy and have not been back since a year after college. The longest time in my life that I have not been in therapy to date! I have not been on medication and have been doing the best I can to manage on my own. I have learned that it’s okay to feel how I am feeling. I have made friends who I can trust to lean on when times are tough. The journey has not been easy and I know I have a long way to go. My goal is so much more than just for myself. It’s for my students now. I want to make sure they have the support that I didn’t have. That they feel like if they need to talk to someone they know I will listen. They are not alone in their mental health struggles. I hope one day that the stigma of mental health won’t be as it is today. There has been some improvement with society but still how mental health is viewed needs to change. I hope that one day people can take mental health days just as they would if they were sick with a cold. There should be no shame and taking a day to feel ok mentally and physically. I have learned that putting yourself first is nothing to hang your head in shame about. I am now grateful that very day in my high school years didn’t end the way it could have. My mental health journey may be long but life is so much more worthwhile.
    Career Search Scholarship
    The bell rings and students begin to file into the first period of the day. Various lessons have been prepped, collaboration with co-teachers completed, and necessary modifications for students are in place. Worksheets for each subject have been made for some that are several grade levels below the standard. I’ve made sure all parent contacts, IEP’s and testing are up to date on my caseload prior to the day. It is about to be a great middle school day and I’m eager for my students to be able to attain and access new skills in class. Until the unexpected slowly unfolds. One student becomes agitated when they realize that not only have they forgotten to charge their laptop, but they’ve also forgotten their materials for class, another struggles to focus and admits to not taking their morning medicine, another is ready for a break 5 minutes in and needs to make a choice on their PBIS chart, and finally the student in the corner can barely stay awake from not having slept the night before. I then either pull students to work in a small group on the daily lesson or rotate around the room providing accommodations for the students I service. I make mental notes of what I will need to reteach later on in academic support. Being mindful of each student’s individual strengths and weaknesses in each subject to give students the best opportunity for success. After 45 minutes one class is over and on to the next. Five more classes in the day to go and only 45 minutes to plan for the next unexpected day. Only 45 minutes in the day to contact parents, collaborate with content teachers, prep an IEP meeting, track data, write progress reports, prep worksheets and tests, run an IEP meeting. By the time 3 pm rolls around I reflect on the events of the day and how I can best reach my students and get ready to do it all again the next day. I have been working in special education for the past 7 years. I originally earned my undergraduate degree in Secondary Education/History from Keene State College in New Hampshire and had my heart set on becoming a Social Studies teacher. Upon moving back to Massachusetts it was very difficult to find a Social Studies job so I took a position as a paraprofessional. I loved working with students in the general education classroom and began to realize the patience and positivity I displayed with students. I set high expectations for students and wanted them to excel in whatever capacity they could in life. After 2 years being a paraprofessional I took a job as a Special Education teacher and am going into my 6th year teaching and working with students who have moderate disabilities. I know this scholarship will help me further my knowledge and pursue a Masters degree. Special Education is an area that is continually growing with studies showing nearly 7 million or 14% of public school students receive special education services. With more learning disabilities being identified the need for highly qualified teachers to support these students is imperative. It is my goal to continue teaching and inspiring special education students, obtain a professional license in moderate disabilities, become an administrator in the future or a career in higher education. Earning my doctorate in education would help me fulfill my lifetime career aspirations. ~”There is no substitute for hard work. Never give up. Never stop believing. Never stop fighting.”
    Wellness Warriors Scholarship
    As a teacher and college student sometimes I find it hard to even take a minute for myself each workday. There is so much going on throughout the day that by the time 3 PM rolls around I often question wow what just happened today or where did the day go? I often would not eat lunch or would work through my lunch because I always felt like there was some thing to do. However, this year I decided that I needed to take 20 minutes to sit and eat. To refuel my body. To take care of myself. Because I knew if I didn’t then eventually my body would break down. So each Sunday I began to meal prep. For some meals I would make a salad. Other meals, I would slice up cheese and crackers and also create a mixture of fruit and nuts to give me energy. However, each morning I made sure that I had to get my morning coffee. I knew I could not get through the day without having my daily dose of caffeine. The change I made in my coffee was eliminating sugar. Sugar gives you energy at first, but eventually makes you become sluggish throughout the day. Not some thing I could afford having happen to me while teaching a bunch of six grade students. You have to have energy, so I eliminated sugar from my coffee and instead substituted it for an artificial sweetener. I was careful which artificial sweetener I picked because I know the ones that contain aspartame are not that great for you. So I decided to go with Stevia, which does not contain aspartame. Besides changing my eating habits and taking time to eat lunch, I also changed my lifestyle. I made sure to take time for myself because life should not be all about work. I have found a good work balance where I go in about a half an hour early and I am able to complete what I need to in the morning to get ready for my day. I also utilize my preps that are given to me and make the most out of the time that I have during the workday to not have to take work home with me. It is important to leave work at work and I know some teachers will disagree with that but mental health is just as important as physical health. My mind and body are grateful for these lifestyle changes that I have adopted, and I look forward to continuing to finding new ways to help better my life and in turn better my career. This scholarship will be very helpful because not only do I teach full-time, but I am going for my masters degree and I often work during the weekends or on nights to complete my studies. Graduate courses are not cheap but I know the courses and the knowledge I gain from them will help me refine my practice. It has not been an easy road, but I have discovered that life is about balance and moderation.
    Elevate Women in Technology Scholarship
    The bell rings and students begin to file into the first period of the day. Various lessons have been prepped, collaboration with co-teachers completed, and necessary modifications for students are in place. Worksheets for each subject have been made for some that are several grade levels below the standard. I’ve made sure all parent contacts, IEP’s and testing are up to date on my caseload prior to the day. It is about to be a great middle school day and I’m eager for my students to be able to attain and access new skills in class. This would all be impossible without technology. I use my computer daily as do the students. I use various programs to help my track data and student progress. Technology helps inspire me to be a better teacher and I am applying for this scholarship because I am going for my Master’s online and that would not be possible if it weren’t for technology. After 45 minutes one class is over and on to the next. Five more classes in the day to go and only 45 minutes to plan for the next unexpected day. Only 45 minutes in the day to contact parents, collaborate with content teachers, prep an IEP meeting, track data, write progress reports, prep worksheets and tests, run an IEP meeting. By the time 3 pm rolls around I write on the events of the day and how I can best reach my students and get ready to do it all again the next day. Technology helps to reflect and is an outlet to express myself. Technology tells a story. I have been working in special education for the past 7 years. I would not have accomplished all I have accomplished if if we’re not for the great technological advances we have had in society. “The real problem is not whether machines think but whether men do.” ~B. F. Skinner
    Sean Allen Memorial Scholarship
    The bell rings and students begin to file into the first period of the day. Various lessons have been prepped, collaboration with co-teachers completed, and necessary modifications for students are in place. Worksheets for each subject have been made for some that are several grade levels below the standard. I’ve made sure all parent contacts, IEP’s and testing are up to date on my caseload prior to the day. It is about to be a great middle school day and I’m eager for my students to be able to attain and access new skills in class. Until the unexpected slowly unfolds. One student becomes agitated when they realize that not only have they forgotten to charge their laptop, but they’ve also forgotten their materials for class, another struggles to focus and admits to not taking their morning medicine, another is ready for a break 5 minutes in and needs to make a choice on their PBIS chart, and finally the student in the corner can barely stay awake from not having slept the night before. The General Education teacher begins to work through the lesson as I move around the room to address their various issues and needs in the full inclusion classroom. I then either pull students to work in a small group on the daily lesson or rotate around the room providing accommodations for the students I service. I make mental notes of what I will need to reteach later on in academic support. Being mindful of each student’s individual strengths and weaknesses in each subject to give students the best opportunity for success. After 45 minutes one class is over and on to the next. Five more classes in the day to go and only 45 minutes to plan for the next unexpected day. Only 45 minutes in the day to contact parents, collaborate with content teachers, prep an IEP meeting, track data, write progress reports, prep worksheets and tests, run an IEP meeting. I have been working in special education for the past 7 years. I originally earned my undergraduate degree in Secondary Education/History from Keene State College in New Hampshire and had my heart set on becoming a Social Studies teacher. Upon moving back to Massachusetts it was very difficult to find a Social Studies job so I took a position as a paraprofessional. I loved working with students in the general education classroom and began to realize the patience and positivity I displayed with students. I set high expectations for students and wanted them to excel in whatever capacity they could in life. After 2 years being a paraprofessional I took a job as a Special Education teacher and am going into my 6th year teaching and working with students who have moderate disabilities. I know this scholarship will help me further my knowledge and pursue a Masters degree. Special Education is an area that is continually growing with studies showing nearly 7 million or 14% of public school students receive special education services. With more learning disabilities being identified the need for highly qualified teachers to support these students is imperative. It is my goal to continue teaching and inspiring special education students, obtain a professional license in moderate disabilities, and gain skills and knowledge from Worcester State University that will help me achieve these goals. Climbing after a long day of teaching helps clear my mind and get me ready for the next day. Reflecting on the day while doing something I love is important! Climb on!
    Szilak Family Honorary Scholarship
    The bell rings and students begin to file into the first period of the day. Various lessons have been prepped, collaboration with co-teachers completed, and necessary modifications for students are in place. Worksheets for each subject have been made for some that are several grade levels below the standard. I’ve made sure all parent contacts, IEP’s and testing are up to date on my caseload prior to the day. It is about to be a great middle school day and I’m eager for my students to be able to attain and access new skills in class. Until the unexpected slowly unfolds. One student becomes agitated when they realize that not only have they forgotten to charge their laptop, but they’ve also forgotten their materials for class, another struggles to focus and admits to not taking their morning medicine, another is ready for a break 5 minutes in and needs to make a choice on their PBIS chart, and finally the student in the corner can barely stay awake from not having slept the night before. The General Education teacher begins to work through the lesson as I move around the room to address their various issues and needs in the full inclusion classroom. I then either pull students to work in a small group on the daily lesson or rotate around the room providing accommodations for the students I service. I make mental notes of what I will need to reteach later on in academic support. Being mindful of each student’s individual strengths and weaknesses in each subject to give students the best opportunity for success. After 45 minutes one class is over and on to the next. Five more classes in the day to go and only 45 minutes to plan for the next unexpected day. Only 45 minutes in the day to contact parents, collaborate with content teachers, prep an IEP meeting, track data, write progress reports, prep worksheets and tests, run an IEP meeting. By the time 3 pm rolls around I reflect on the events of the day and how I can best reach my students and get ready to do it all again the next day. I have been working in special education for the past 7 years. I originally earned my undergraduate degree in Secondary Education/History from Keene State College in New Hampshire and had my heart set on becoming a Social Studies teacher. Upon moving back to Massachusetts it was very difficult to find a Social Studies job so I took a position as a paraprofessional. I loved working with students in the general education classroom and began to realize the patience and positivity I displayed with students. I set high expectations for students and wanted them to excel in whatever capacity they could in life. After 2 years being a paraprofessional I took a job as a Special Education teacher and am going into my 6th year teaching and working with students who have moderate disabilities. I know this scholarship will help me further my knowledge and pursue a Masters degree. Special Education is an area that is continually growing with studies showing nearly 7 million or 14% of public school students receive special education services. With more learning disabilities being identified the need for highly qualified teachers to support these students is imperative. It is my goal to continue teaching and inspiring special education students, obtain a professional license in moderate disabilities, and gain skills and knowledge from Worcester State University that will help me achieve these goals. I know my grandmother who passed from cancer would be proud.
    Jean Antoine Joas Scholarship
    The bell rings and students begin to file into the first period of the day. Various lessons have been prepped, collaboration with co-teachers completed, and necessary modifications for students are in place. Worksheets for each subject have been made for some that are several grade levels below the standard. I’ve made sure all parent contacts, IEP’s and testing are up to date on my caseload prior to the day. It is about to be a great middle school day and I’m eager for my students to be able to attain and access new skills in class. Until the unexpected slowly unfolds. One student becomes agitated when they realize that not only have they forgotten to charge their laptop, but they’ve also forgotten their materials for class, another struggles to focus and admits to not taking their morning medicine, another is ready for a break 5 minutes in and needs to make a choice on their PBIS chart, and finally the student in the corner can barely stay awake from not having slept the night before. The General Education teacher begins to work through the lesson as I move around the room to address their various issues and needs in the full inclusion classroom. I then either pull students to work in a small group on the daily lesson or rotate around the room providing accommodations for the students I service. I make mental notes of what I will need to reteach later on in academic support. Being mindful of each student’s individual strengths and weaknesses in each subject to give students the best opportunity for success. After 45 minutes one class is over and on to the next. Five more classes in the day to go and only 45 minutes to plan for the next unexpected day. Only 45 minutes in the day to contact parents, collaborate with content teachers, prep an IEP meeting, track data, write progress reports, prep worksheets and tests, run an IEP meeting. By the time 3 pm rolls around I reflect on the events of the day and how I can best reach my students and get ready to do it all again the next day. I have been working in special education for the past 7 years. I originally earned my undergraduate degree in Secondary Education/History from Keene State College in New Hampshire and had my heart set on becoming a Social Studies teacher. Upon moving back to Massachusetts it was very difficult to find a Social Studies job so I took a position as a paraprofessional. I loved working with students in the general education classroom and began to realize the patience and positivity I displayed with students. I set high expectations for students and wanted them to excel in whatever capacity they could in life. After 2 years being a paraprofessional I took a job as a Special Education teacher and am going into my 6th year teaching and working with students who have moderate disabilities. I know this scholarship will help me further my knowledge and pursue a Masters degree. Special Education is an area that is continually growing with studies showing nearly 7 million or 14% of public school students receive special education services. With more learning disabilities being identified the need for highly qualified teachers to support these students is imperative. It is my goal to continue teaching and inspiring special education students, obtain a professional license in moderate disabilities, and gain skills and knowledge from Worcester State University that will help me achieve these goals.
    Learner Math Lover Scholarship
    I will admit that I did not always love math growing up. Particularly because it was a subject that was difficult for me. When I was in elementary and middle school, I often failed math tests. I even failed the math section on a state standard test in seventh grade. But with the help of my mom, she signed me up for math after school support and I kept practicing my math. The next year I did pass the state test and I was proud that I never gave up on trying to better myself when it came to math. After going to college and earning a degree in teaching, I have found a new love and respect for the subject. I am a graduate student, currently studying special education in order to make material more accessible to students. I am frequently in math classes and frequently have to help students who struggle in math to be able to see in love math. It is not always easy, but math is truly all around us. No matter where you look or no matter what you do math is always there. I am grateful for the great math teachers that I had along the way and I can only hope that the students that I teach today will remember the tools and knowledge that I have given them when it comes to the subject of math. I tell my students all the time the struggles that I had with math and how I overcame them. It just goes to show that just because you don’t like something or that something is not easy doesn’t mean that you can’t overcome from it. Once you do overcome it, like I overcame math, you realize you might actually love it.
    Healthy Eating Scholarship
    As a teacher sometimes I find it hard to even take a minute for myself each workday. There is so much going on throughout the day that by the time 3 PM rolls around I often question wow what just happened today or where did the day go? I often would not eat lunch or would work through my lunch because I always felt like there was some thing to do. However, this year I decided that I needed to take 20 minutes to sit and eat. To refuel my body. To take care of myself. Because I knew if I didn’t then eventually my body would break down. So each Sunday I began to meal prep. For some meals I would make a salad. Other meals, I would slice up cheese and crackers and also create a mixture of fruit and nuts to give me energy. However, each morning I made sure that I had to get my morning coffee. I knew I could not get through the day without having my daily dose of caffeine. The change I made in my coffee was eliminating sugar. Sugar gives you energy at first, but eventually makes you become sluggish throughout the day. Not some thing I could afford having happen to me while teaching a bunch of six grade students. You have to have energy, so I eliminated sugar from my coffee and instead substituted it for an artificial sweetener. I was careful which artificial sweetener I picked because I know the ones that contain aspartame are not that great for you. So I decided to go with Stevia, which does not contain aspartame. Besides changing my eating habits and taking time to eat lunch, I also changed my lifestyle. I made sure to take time for myself because life should not be all about work. I have found a good work balance where I go in about a half an hour early and I am able to complete what I need to in the morning to get ready for my day. I also utilize my preps that are given to me and make the most out of the time that I have during the workday to not have to take work home with me. It is important to leave work at work and I know some teachers will disagree with that but mental health is just as important as physical health. My mind and body are grateful for these lifestyle changes that I have adopted, and I look forward to continuing to finding new ways to help better my life and in turn better my career. This scholarship will be very helpful because not only do I teach full-time, but I am going for my masters degree and I often work during the weekends or on nights to complete my studies. Graduate courses are not cheap but I know the courses and the knowledge I gain from them will help me refine my practice. It has not been an easy road, but I have discovered that life is about balance and moderation.
    Mind, Body, & Soul Scholarship
    Returning back to college as a graduate student has been exciting. I could not wait to apply and start my classes again. I actually had missed college and enjoy being a student and learning. But working full time and being a student I knew was a new challenge I would have to take on. I have only ever been responsible for being a student or working. Never both at the same time and I know there are steps I will need to take to stay healthy. As a teacher sometimes I find it hard to even take a minute for myself each workday. There is so much going on throughout the day that by the time 3 PM rolls around I often question wow what just happened today or where did the day go? I often would not eat lunch or would work through my lunch because I always felt like there was some thing to do. However, this year I decided that I needed to take 20 minutes to sit and eat. To refuel my body. To take care of myself. Because I knew if I didn’t then eventually my body would break down. So each Sunday I began to meal prep. For some meals I would make a salad. Other meals, I would slice up cheese and crackers and also create a mixture of fruit and nuts to give me energy. However, each morning I made sure that I had to get my morning coffee. I knew I could not get through the day without having my daily dose of caffeine. The change I made in my coffee was eliminating sugar. Sugar gives you energy at first, but eventually makes you become sluggish throughout the day. Not some thing I could afford having happen to me while teaching a bunch of six grade students. You have to have energy, so I eliminated sugar from my coffee and instead substituted it for an artificial sweetener. I was careful which artificial sweetener I picked because I know the ones that contain aspartame are not that great for you. So I decided to go with Stevia, which does not contain aspartame. Besides changing my eating habits and taking time to eat lunch, I also changed my lifestyle. I made sure to take time for myself because life should not be all about work. I have found a good work balance where I go in about a half an hour early and I am able to complete what I need to in the morning to get ready for my day. I also utilize my preps that are given to me and make the most out of the time that I have during the workday to not have to take work home with me. It is important to leave work at work and I know some teachers will disagree with that but mental health is just as important as physical health. My mind and body are grateful for these lifestyle changes that I have adopted, and I look forward to continuing to finding new ways to help better my life and in turn better my career. This scholarship will be very helpful because not only do I teach full-time, but I am going for my masters degree and I often work during the weekends or on nights to complete my studies. Graduate courses are not cheap but I know the courses and the knowledge I gain from them will help me refine my practice. It has not been an easy road, but I have discovered that life is about balance and moderation.
    Your Health Journey Scholarship
    As a teacher sometimes I find it hard to even take a minute for myself each workday. There is so much going on throughout the day that by the time 3 PM rolls around I often question wow what just happened today or where did the day go? I often would not eat lunch or would work through my lunch because I always felt like there was some thing to do. However, this year I decided that I needed to take 20 minutes to sit and eat. To refuel my body. To take care of myself. Because I knew if I didn’t then eventually my body would break down. So each Sunday I began to meal prep. For some meals I would make a salad. Other meals, I would slice up cheese and crackers and also create a mixture of fruit and nuts to give me energy. However, each morning I made sure that I had to get my morning coffee. I knew I could not get through the day without having my daily dose of caffeine. The change I made in my coffee was eliminating sugar. Sugar gives you energy at first, but eventually makes you become sluggish throughout the day. Not some thing I could afford having happen to me while teaching a bunch of six grade students. You have to have energy, so I eliminated sugar from my coffee and instead substituted it for an artificial sweetener. I was careful which artificial sweetener I picked because I know the ones that contain aspartame are not that great for you. So I decided to go with Stevia, which does not contain aspartame. Besides changing my eating habits and taking time to eat lunch, I also changed my lifestyle. I made sure to take time for myself because life should not be all about work. I have found a good work balance where I go in about a half an hour early and I am able to complete what I need to in the morning to get ready for my day. I also utilize my preps that are given to me and make the most out of the time that I have during the workday to not have to take work home with me. It is important to leave work at work and I know some teachers will disagree with that but mental health is just as important as physical health. My mind and body are grateful for these lifestyle changes that I have adopted, and I look forward to continuing to finding new ways to help better my life and in turn better my career. This scholarship will be very helpful because not only do I teach full-time, but I am going for my masters degree and I often work during the weekends or on nights to complete my studies. Graduate courses are not cheap but I know the courses and the knowledge I gain from them will help me refine my practice. It has not been an easy road, but I have discovered that life is about balance and moderation.
    Dr. Connie M. Reece Future Teachers Scholarship
    The bell rings and students begin to file into the first period of the day. Various lessons have been prepped, collaboration with co-teachers completed, and necessary modifications for students are in place. Worksheets for each subject have been made for some that are several grade levels below the standard. I’ve made sure all parent contacts, IEP’s and testing are up to date on my caseload prior to the day. It is about to be a great middle school day and I’m eager for my students to be able to attain and access new skills in class. Until the unexpected slowly unfolds. One student becomes agitated when they realize that not only have they forgotten to charge their laptop, but they’ve also forgotten their materials for class, another struggles to focus and admits to not taking their morning medicine, another is ready for a break 5 minutes in and needs to make a choice on their PBIS chart, and finally the student in the corner can barely stay awake from not having slept the night before. The General Education teacher begins to work through the lesson as I move around the room to address their various issues and needs in the full inclusion classroom. I then either pull students to work in a small group on the daily lesson or rotate around the room providing accommodations for the students I service. I make mental notes of what I will need to reteach later on in academic support. Being mindful of each student’s individual strengths and weaknesses in each subject to give students the best opportunity for success. After 45 minutes one class is over and on to the next. Five more classes in the day to go and only 45 minutes to plan for the next unexpected day. Only 45 minutes in the day to contact parents, collaborate with content teachers, prep an IEP meeting, track data, write progress reports, prep worksheets and tests, run an IEP meeting. By the time 3 pm rolls around I reflect on the events of the day and how I can best reach my students and get ready to do it all again the next day. I have been working in special education for the past 7 years. I originally earned my undergraduate degree in Secondary Education/History from Keene State College in New Hampshire and had my heart set on becoming a Social Studies teacher. Upon moving back to Massachusetts it was very difficult to find a Social Studies job so I took a position as a paraprofessional. I loved working with students in the general education classroom and began to realize the patience and positivity I displayed with students. I set high expectations for students and wanted them to excel in whatever capacity they could in life. After 2 years being a paraprofessional I took a job as a Special Education teacher and am going into my 6th year teaching and working with students who have moderate disabilities. I know this scholarship will help me further my knowledge and pursue a Masters degree. Special Education is an area that is continually growing with studies showing nearly 7 million or 14% of public school students receive special education services. With more learning disabilities being identified the need for highly qualified teachers to support these students is imperative. It is my goal to continue teaching and inspiring special education students, obtain a professional license in moderate disabilities, and gain skills and knowledge from Worcester State University that will help me achieve these goals.
    Tim Watabe Doing Hard Things Scholarship
    My journey and struggles with mental health have not been easy but it has profoundly impacted my life and the people who mean the most to me. However, my goal has been to learn to cope and manage my symptoms to continue to live and impact the lives of others each and everyday. Since high school I have suffered with what I thought at the time was depression but now I have finally realized is Dysthymia. Dysthymia is persistent low mood for a prolonged period of time usually 2 or more years. Coupled with anxiety, life at that point in time was tough. In high school I had a hard time with the following: keeping and maintaining positive friendships and relationships, going on and off medication, being in and out of therapy, and feeling hopeless that I would never feel happy and content with my life. My family was not supportive of my mental health struggles and I really felt I had no one else to help me. I felt I had no other options. I eventually I tried to take my own life. That day was a wake up call and revelation. I finished high school and went away to a college 2.5 hours away from home. I had a fresh start. I had made a few friends and was excelling in my classes. But still something was off. I did not seek counseling in college or go on medication. I continued to push myself to do well in school. I have always had high expectations of myself. After college I began to pursue my career in teaching. After a year of teaching I finally decided it was time to go back to therapy. I really wanted to get to the bottom of why I did not have much joy in life. I am a hard worker, I give all my time and attention to detail, I show up early, I am organized, but I have Dysthymia. And that doesn’t define me. I worked my way threw therapy and have not been back since a year after college. The longest time in my life that I have not been in therapy to date! I have learned that it’s okay to feel how I am feeling. I have made friends who I can trust to lean on when times are tough. The journey has not been easy and I know I have a long way to go. My goal is so much more than just for myself. It’s for my students now. I want to make sure they have the support that I didn’t have. That they feel like if they need to talk to someone they know I will listen. They are not alone in their mental health struggles. I hope as time continues that the stigma of mental health won’t be as it is today. There has been some improvement with society but still how mental health is viewed needs to change. I hope that one day people can take mental health days just as they would if they were sick with a cold. There should be no shame and taking a day to feel ok mentally and physically. I feel guilty at times taking a day for myself but I know and have learned that putting yourself first is nothing to hang your head in shame about. I am now grateful that very day in my high school years didn’t end the way it could have. My mental health journey may be long but life is so much more worthwhile.
    Cat Zingano Overcoming Loss Scholarship
    The loss of someone you love can be a difficult thing to deal with. But for some they turn that pain into motivation. That is exactly what I did when I lost my grandmother whom I helped take care of for many years. She was diagnosed with leukemia and struggled for many years with treatments. I often took her to treatments and it was always a difficult day to see all those who are sick. It makes you realize there is so much more to life and to enjoy life while you can. My grandmother knew I had goals and aspirations in life and wanted to be around longer to see me attain those goals. I wished she could have. After a year of cleaning out her house and getting my life in order I realized it was time to get back to work. It was time to get my life back on track. I took a new job, applied for graduate school, and continued to pursue my professional teaching license. I even found someone that I can’t wait to spend the rest of my life with. Who knew that after so many tough years of heartache and worry about what my life would be life after her death that things would turn out ok. To this day I am going into the 3rd out of 12 graduate classes I need to earn a Masters in moderate disabilities. I am a special education teacher and that really was not something I thought I would be considering I went to school to teach history. But everything happens for a reason and I love making a difference in students lives. This scholarship would really help alleviate the stress of paying for my schooling. It just goes to show that no matter how bad things may seem there really is a light at the end of the tunnel. If I could talk to my grandma one more time I would thank her for believing in me and for always loving me and showing me my worth.
    Alicea Sperstad Rural Writer Scholarship
    The bell rings and students begin to file into the first period of the day. Various lessons have been prepped, collaboration with co-teachers completed, and necessary modifications for students are in place. Worksheets for each subject have been made for some that are several grade levels below the standard. I’ve made sure all parent contacts, IEP’s and testing are up to date on my caseload prior to the day. It is about to be a great middle school day and I’m eager for my students to be able to attain and access new skills in class. Until the unexpected slowly unfolds. One student becomes agitated when they realize that not only have they forgotten to charge their laptop, but they’ve also forgotten their materials for class, another struggles to focus and admits to not taking their morning medicine, another is ready for a break 5 minutes in and needs to make a choice on their PBIS chart, and finally the student in the corner can barely stay awake from not having slept the night before. The General Education teacher begins to work through the lesson as I move around the room to address their various issues and needs in the full inclusion classroom. I then either pull students to work in a small group on the daily lesson or rotate around the room providing accommodations for the students I service. I make mental notes of what I will need to reteach later on in academic support. Being mindful of each student’s individual strengths and weaknesses in each subject to give students the best opportunity for success. After 45 minutes one class is over and on to the next. Five more classes in the day to go and only 45 minutes to plan for the next unexpected day. Only 45 minutes in the day to contact parents, collaborate with content teachers, prep an IEP meeting, track data, write progress reports, prep worksheets and tests, run an IEP meeting. By the time 3 pm rolls around I write on the events of the day and how I can best reach my students and get ready to do it all again the next day. Writing helps to reflect and is an outlet to express myself. Writing tells a story. I have been working in special education for the past 7 years. I originally earned my undergraduate degree in Secondary Education/History from Keene State College in New Hampshire and had my heart set on becoming a Social Studies teacher or a writer. Upon moving back to Massachusetts it was very difficult to find a Social Studies job so I took a position as a paraprofessional. I loved working with students in the general education classroom and began to realize the patience and positivity I displayed with students. I set high expectations for students and wanted them to excel in whatever capacity they could in life. After 2 years being a paraprofessional I took a job as a Special Education teacher and am going into my 6th year teaching and working with students who have moderate disabilities. I know this scholarship will help me further my knowledge and pursue a Masters degree. Special Education is an area that is continually growing with studies showing nearly 7 million or 14% of public school students receive special education services. With more learning disabilities being identified the need for highly qualified teachers to support these students is imperative. It is my goal to continue teaching and writing to inspire my students each and every day.
    Lost Dreams Awaken Scholarship
    Recovery means accepting that you have gone through a lot but that doesn’t and shouldn’t define you. Recovery is waking up each day and realizing your worth and pushing towards your goals. Recovery is finally seeing the true meaning of life because you were so clouded before by the medication. Recovery is helping those who are still unable to help themselves. It is giving all those who struggle a chance and for others to realize they too have meaning in their lives. Recovery is not just and individual but requires a team is meaningful people to help push those along the path to a better life. Recovery is clarity. Recovery is strength. Recovery is a new life.
    Coleman for Patriots Scholarship
    The bell rings and students begin to file into the first period of the day. Various lessons have been prepped, collaboration with co-teachers completed, and necessary modifications for students are in place. Worksheets for each subject have been made for some that are several grade levels below the standard. I’ve made sure all parent contacts, IEP’s and testing are up to date on my caseload prior to the day. It is about to be a great middle school day and I’m eager for my students to be able to attain and access new skills in class. Until the unexpected slowly unfolds. One student becomes agitated when they realize that not only have they forgotten to charge their laptop, but they’ve also forgotten their materials for class, another struggles to focus and admits to not taking their morning medicine, another is ready for a break 5 minutes in and needs to make a choice on their PBIS chart, and finally the student in the corner can barely stay awake from not having slept the night before. The General Education teacher begins to work through the lesson as I move around the room to address their various issues and needs in the full inclusion classroom. I then either pull students to work in a small group on the daily lesson or rotate around the room providing accommodations for the students I service. I make mental notes of what I will need to reteach later on in academic support. Being mindful of each student’s individual strengths and weaknesses in each subject to give students the best opportunity for success. After 45 minutes one class is over and on to the next. Five more classes in the day to go and only 45 minutes to plan for the next unexpected day. Only 45 minutes in the day to contact parents, collaborate with content teachers, prep an IEP meeting, track data, write progress reports, prep worksheets and tests, run an IEP meeting. By the time 3 pm rolls around I reflect on the events of the day and how I can best reach my students and get ready to do it all again the next day. I have been working in special education for the past 7 years. I originally earned my undergraduate degree in Secondary Education/History from Keene State College in New Hampshire and had my heart set on becoming a Social Studies teacher. Upon moving back to Massachusetts it was very difficult to find a Social Studies job so I took a position as a paraprofessional. I loved working with students in the general education classroom and began to realize the patience and positivity I displayed with students. I set high expectations for students and wanted them to excel in whatever capacity they could in life. After 2 years being a paraprofessional I took a job as a Special Education teacher and am going into my 6th year teaching and working with students who have moderate disabilities. I know this scholarship will help me further my knowledge and pursue a Masters degree. Special Education is an area that is continually growing with studies showing nearly 7 million or 14% of public school students receive special education services. With more learning disabilities being identified the need for highly qualified teachers to support these students is imperative. It is my goal to continue teaching and inspiring special education students, obtain a professional license in moderate disabilities, and gain skills and knowledge from Worcester State University that will help me achieve these goals.
    Elevate Mental Health Awareness Scholarship
    My journey and struggles with mental health have not been easy but it has profoundly impacted my life and the people who mean the most to me. However, my goal has been to learn to cope and manage my symptoms to continue to live and impact the lives of others each and everyday. Since high school I have suffered with what I thought at the time was depression but now I have finally realized is Dysthymia. Dysthymia is persistent low mood for a prolonged period of time usually 2 or more years. Coupled with anxiety, life at that point in time was tough. In high school I had a hard time with the following: keeping and maintaining positive friendships and relationships, going on and off medication, being in and out of therapy, and feeling hopeless that I would never feel happy and content with my life. My family was not supportive of my mental health struggles and I really felt I had no one else to help me. I felt I had no other options. I eventually I tried to take my own life. That day was a wake up call and revelation. I finished high school and went away to a college 2.5 hours away from home. I had a fresh start. I had made a few friends and was excelling in my classes. But still something was off. I did not seek counseling in college or go on medication. I continued to push myself to do well in school. I have always had high expectations of myself. After college I began to pursue my career in teaching. After a year of teaching I finally decided it was time to go back to therapy. I really wanted to get to the bottom of why I did not have much joy in life. I knew no one could tell because on the outside I always had everything seem put together. I am a hard worker, I give all my time and attention to detail, I show up early, I am organized, but I have Dysthymia. And that doesn’t define me. I worked my way threw therapy and have not been back since a year after college. The longest time in my life that I have not been in therapy to date! I have not been on medication and have been doing the best I can to manage on my own. I have learned that it’s okay to feel how I am feeling. I have made friends who I can trust to lean on when times are tough. The journey has not been easy and I know I have a long way to go. My goal is so much more than just for myself. It’s for my students now. I want to make sure they have the support that I didn’t have. That they feel like if they need to talk to someone they know I will listen. They are not alone in their mental health struggles. I hope as time continues that the stigma of mental health won’t be as it is today. There has been some improvement with society but still how mental health is viewed needs to change. I hope that one day people can take mental health days just as they would if they were sick with a cold. There should be no shame and taking a day to feel ok mentally and physically. I feel guilty at times taking a day for myself but I know and have learned that putting yourself first is nothing to hang your head in shame about. I am now grateful that very day in my high school years didn’t end the way it could have. My mental health journey may be long but life is so much more worthwhile.
    Elizabeth Schalk Memorial Scholarship
    My journey and struggles with mental health have not been easy but it has profoundly impacted my life and the people who mean the most to me. However, my goal has been to learn to cope and manage my symptoms to continue to live and impact the lives of others each and everyday. Since high school I have suffered with what I thought at the time was depression but now I have finally realized is Dysthymia. Dysthymia is persistent low mood for a prolonged period of time usually 2 or more years. Coupled with anxiety, life at that point in time was tough. In high school I had a hard time with the following: keeping and maintaining positive friendships and relationships, going on and off medication, being in and out of therapy, and feeling hopeless that I would never feel happy and content with my life. My family was not supportive of my mental health struggles and I really felt I had no one else to help me. I felt I had no other options. I eventually I tried to take my own life. That day was a wake up call and revelation. I finished high school and went away to a college 2.5 hours away from home. I had a fresh start. I had made a few friends and was excelling in my classes. But still something was off. I did not seek counseling in college or go on medication. I continued to push myself to do well in school. I have always had high expectations of myself. After college I began to pursue my career in teaching. After a year of teaching I finally decided it was time to go back to therapy. I really wanted to get to the bottom of why I did not have much joy in life. I knew no one could tell because on the outside I always had everything seem put together. I am a hard worker, I give all my time and attention to detail, I show up early, I am organized, but I have Dysthymia. And that doesn’t define me. I worked my way threw therapy and have not been back since a year after college. The longest time in my life that I have not been in therapy to date! I have not been on medication and have been doing the best I can to manage on my own. I have learned that it’s okay to feel how I am feeling. I have made friends who I can trust to lean on when times are tough. My goal is so much more than just for myself. It’s for my students now. I want to make sure they have the support that I didn’t have. That they feel like if they need to talk to someone they know I will listen. They are not alone in their mental health struggles. I hope as time continues that the stigma of mental health won’t be as it is today. How mental health is viewed needs to change. I hope people can take mental health days just like they would if they were sick with a cold. There should be no shame and taking a day to feel ok mentally. I feel guilty at times taking a day for myself but I know and have learned that putting yourself first is nothing to hang your head in shame about. I am now grateful that very day in my high school years didn’t end the way it could have. My mental health journey may be long but life is so much more worthwhile.
    Ethel Hayes Destigmatization of Mental Health Scholarship
    My journey and struggles with mental health have not been easy but it has profoundly impacted my life and the people who mean the most to me. However, my goal has been to learn to cope and manage my symptoms to continue to live and impact the lives of others each and everyday. Since high school I have suffered with what I thought at the time was depression but now I have finally realized is Dysthymia. Dysthymia is persistent low mood for a prolonged period of time usually 2 or more years. Coupled with anxiety, life at that point in time was tough. In high school I had a hard time with the following: keeping and maintaining positive friendships and relationships, going on and off medication, being in and out of therapy, and feeling hopeless that I would never feel happy and content with my life. My family was not supportive of my mental health struggles and I really felt I had no one else to help me. I felt I had no other options. I eventually I tried to take my own life. That day was a wake up call and revelation. I finished high school and went away to a college 2.5 hours away from home. I had a fresh start. I had made a few friends and was excelling in my classes. But still something was off. I did not seek counseling in college or go on medication. I continued to push myself to do well in school. I have always had high expectations of myself. After college I began to pursue my career in teaching. After a year of teaching I finally decided it was time to go back to therapy. I really wanted to get to the bottom of why I did not have much joy in life. I knew no one could tell because on the outside I always had everything seem put together. I am a hard worker, I give all my time and attention to detail, I show up early, I am organized, but I have Dysthymia. And that doesn’t define me. I worked my way threw therapy and have not been back since a year after college. The longest time in my life that I have not been in therapy to date! I have not been on medication and have been doing the best I can to manage on my own. I have learned that it’s okay to feel how I am feeling. I have made friends who I can trust to lean on when times are tough. The journey has not been easy and I know I have a long way to go. My goal is so much more than just for myself. It’s for my students now. I want to make sure they have the support that I didn’t have. That they feel like if they need to talk to someone they know I will listen. They are not alone in their mental health struggles. I hope as time continues that the stigma of mental health won’t be as it is today. There has been some improvement with society but still how mental health is viewed needs to change. I hope that one day people can take mental health days just as they would if they were sick with a cold. There should be no shame and taking a day to feel ok mentally and physically. I feel guilty at times taking a day for myself but I know and have learned that putting yourself first is nothing to hang your head in shame about. I am now grateful that very day in my high school years didn’t end the way it could have. My mental health journey may be long but life is so much more worthwhile.
    Book Lovers Scholarship
    “As I run, hot tears of shame are streaming down my face. Since my accident, I've heard a lot about the person I used to be. Never did I imagine this. I sprint harder, accelerating onto the sidewalk, outpacing even the most intense drills from practice. It's no problem escaping Aaron and Bear. But I'll never be able to get away from myself.” This is exactly how the main character Chase feels in one of New York Times best sellers Restart by Gordon Korman. Chase was a bully in his previous life but after his accident he realizes he does not like the person he once was. Everyone should read this book because it does not matter what stage of life you are in. We have all done things we regret, some more than others, and need a fresh start in life. One of The biggest pieces to this world we as humans are missing is kindness. Being kind to others and having people treat you with kindness in return can go a long way in todays society. This books forces people to reflect on themselves and who they truly are. As people read this book they will begin to question what they have done thus far in their lives. Have they been good? Have they been bad? Do they need a restart? “This is an awful thing that’s happened to you, but it’s also presenting you with a rare opportunity. You have the chance to rebuild yourself from the ground up, to make a completely fresh start.” This book inspires people to do better and to be better. Being the better person and taking the high road are qualities more need to possess in the world today. It doesn’t mean someone has to have a bad accident to realize where they have gone wrong in life. Some honestly and reflection while reading this story can bring out the best in people.
    Athletics Scholarship
    20 Minutes In the heat of the moment, all I could hear were my cleats digging into the gravel with tremendous force. I had blocked out the ringing sound of the crowd only because I wanted to take in the full experience. I had hit my first homerun over the fence and was trying hard to control my excitement. I wanted to make it look like this was a natural thing for me. As I rounded first base and continued my way onto second base, something within me exploded. I could feel the sudden warmth in my body make its way up my legs and into my chest. I let the sound of the crowd fill my ears. I let my mother’s voice sink in louder than any person on the field. I leapt into the air and threw my arms up like I had just won a race. “So much for trying to make this look casual,” I said to myself. My team and coaches congratulated me as I reached home plate, but I didn’t feel very different after it was all said and done. I still felt invisible to the world. It was only a brief spotlight of fame. It wasn’t even enough to shoot a spark of confidence within me, but it was still early on in the game. We were still losing, but no one seemed to mind because we had only won six games out of the whole season. Then, it was almost my turn to get up at bat again. I was warming up in the batter’s box when the assistant coach said something that took me by surprise. “Now don’t go up there expecting to do that again.” I nodded and I realized that what he said confirmed everything I thought, that the homerun was nothing special and that now I needed to focus even more. It was still the same pitcher as before and she was looking for revenge. You could see the glare in her eyes and the concentration as she tossed the ball into her glove. The first pitch flew by me and I thought nothing of it because I always let the first pitch go by. It happened to be a strike and you could see the excitement on her face. She then threw another pitch right down the middle. I hit the ball with enormous power and slowly began to start running. I could hear my cleats moving faster against the gravel and my bat bang against the ground. The ball kept going so I kept running faster to compensate for the speed. Finally, the ball went over the fence again for the second time. I had broken a record at Dartmouth High School, becoming the first softball player to hit two homeruns over the fence in one game. That moment made me realize that anything was possible. I broke out of my shell and carried myself with a whole new perspective. It helped me build confidence on and off the field. I figured I could excel in so much more than I had previously thought. It only took 20 minutes. It only took me 20 minutes to realize who I am and where I can go in life. I’m applying for this scholarship because I know it will give me the tools I need to pursue a career as a teacher. Just like softball once did for me. Giving students the confidence and knowledge is something that I want to pass on to students because every student has the ability to succeed someway in life.
    Growing with Gabby Scholarship
    Write about one way in which you've grown over the past year. In the past year I have applied and started my masters degree in Moderate Disabilities as I work towards earning a professional teaching license in Massachusetts. What event or situation inspired this personal growth? I did not know how I was going to work full time and also take graduate level classes. Often teaching takes a lot out of me and by the time the last bell rings at the end of the day I am exhausted. However, I come home and read, write, respond to discussion posts, and complete assignments for the accelerated classes I take for my program that run every 7 weeks. I am exhausted to say the least but continue to push myself to a level I never thought I could be at. I wanted to better myself and seeing that I am maintaining a 4.0 GPA has been inspiring me. What about you has changed, and what has remained the same? The major change is how I use my time. Each day I keep structured and focused. I wake up at 5:30 and get to work by 6:40. I leave school at 3 and when I get home I complete my course work for a couple hours before dinner. I go to bed and do not really have any down time. On the weekends I spend a few hours on Saturday and Sunday completing my grad work. I have sacrificed time with family and friends to put in the time and effort my degree requires. The only thing that has remained the same is that I have the support of family and friends through this major life change for me. They are understanding and know I am paying a lot for my schooling. They keep me focused because they know it will be worth it in the end when I graduate. They promote my personal and professional growth. What have you learned through your journey of self-discovery? I have learned that I am capable of so much more than I imagined. If I did not push myself and have the support of my friends and family I don’t think I would be where I am today. I know I am only about 20% done with my degree and have a lot left to accomplish but I have the confidence I can persevere through this. This scholarship will help my to continue my studies and not have to take semesters off due to not being financially able to afford the $1,095 every 7 weeks for a class. Thank you for your time and consideration.
    Boatswain’s Mate Third Class Antonie Bernard Thomas Memorial Scholarship
    Leadership is something that should be displayed with grace and honesty. Someone who is a leader does not put others down. They help those rise around them. They are role models that people look up to. A degree in education specifically in moderate disabilities will help me to lead those who feel like they can’t lead themselves. Giving those the confidence and knowledge they need to be successful in life no matter what capacity that is. I am a teacher. I wear many hats. I not only teach but I provide comfort, security, and necessity to those in need. I am someone that students look up to and trust. I am patient, easy going, level headed, and compassionate about what I do. With the help of this scholarship I will be able to continue that as I work full time and pursue my degree to make a difference in the lives of adolescents. 1- Strong leadership and communication skills are something I must display each day. Being a special education teacher I work with various subject teachers and various students throughout the day. I also am in contact with counselors, therapists, speech and language teachers, occupational therapy teachers, and many other staff in the school. I hold meetings regarding my students and often contact the parents of my students. 2- Resiliency is something a teacher must have. No matter how hard the job or what kind of day it is. You have to bounce back and not take things personally. A motto I learned from a fellow teacher is QTIP! “Quit taking it personally.” When you can show up each day and give it your all it is worth it in the end. 3- Unselfishness is something I think teachers are just all about. I’ve bought food, clothing, and supplies for students out of the goodness of my heart because I know school is so much more than academics. Students needs must be met if they have any chance of learning. This scholarship will help me continue my degree so I can continue to do that for my students. 4- Focused/determined gets teachers far. The pandemic was a tough time for many students and teachers. Many teachers left but those who remained focused and determined to follow their goals stayed. A high percent of teachers leave after 5 years. I am in my 6th year and wanted to keep purposing this. Teaching is my passion and not something I want to give up on. My future goals after earning my masters degree are to further my education some more with a CAGS or possibly even another masters in leadership. Schools need highly qualified teachers and in turn administrators to help a school function as it should. Teachers need to feel supported too! 5- Strong work ethic is something I always embody. I am very organized and submit my work in a timely manner. I push myself because I want to do well and feel that will not only benefit myself but my students as well. Leadership is all of this and so much more.
    Financial Literacy Importance Scholarship
    I am always managing my money and watching what I spend. As a student and someone who is working full time it is hard to pay for school and support myself. As a teacher I spend my own money on my classroom at times for the betterment of my students. Sometimes I just can’t afford to buy all the supplies. I wish I could. Usually in life it is about needs rather than wants. If I do need something I’ll look for discounts, coupons, or wait until a sale before buying. I use apps like personal capital and mint to help track my savings and spending. I also opened up a high yield savings account to get more in interest. I always use my credit card for cash back and make sure to pay it off each month. Finally I contribute 50 dollars a week to a Roth IRA to save for retirement. I was contributing to my works 403b plan but the fees each month and every 3 months was too much. The more I looked into it I realized I’m paying someone to manage my money when with a little time and research I can do that myself. For free and earn more money. So far I haven’t earned much but at least I’m not paying any fee! My dream would be to help people better their finances and to be a discount travel planner. I love planning trips and always find the best deal. This would be something I love to do full time because I am always worrying about my finances and seeing how far I can stretch my cash. The goal is is to make your money work for you and that is something I hope to accomplish further on in my life. For now I am a teacher and a grad student and life is stressful but rewarding. The program I am in costs $1,095 per course every seven weeks. That is hard for me right now to save up and accomplish much. I will need to take semesters off or take our private loans if I want to continue my education . This scholarship would really help with being able to afford that while trying to build up an emergency fund. I am working as a full time teacher while trying to earn a masters degree to not only better myself but my family as well. Hopefully one day I can make my dream become a reality.
    Share Your Poetry Scholarship
    Can't Let You Go Pull me in deep to the churning ocean You always found a way to pull me down The things you say the way you make me feel it's alright it's not a big deal Pull me in deep to the churning ocean You stole the best part of my life Did I ever mean anything to you? Each day is more of the same we keep playing those stupid games You stole the best part of my life A part of me a part of me wants you to know That a part of me a part of me can't let you go Gotta keep my head up and move on Cuz your already gone But a part of me a part of me can't let you go Your a weight holding me down Sometimes I feel like I can't make a sound I buy into everything you say your voice and memories are with me each day Your a weight holding me down Seeing you causes me so much fear My body tenses up when you are near How did this end up this way will I ever be okay? Seeing you causes me so much fear A part of me a part of me wants you to know That a part of me a part of me can't let you go Gotta keep my head up and move on Cuz your already gone But a part of me a part of me can't let you go Why did you have to do this to me? Em D I fell victim to it all didn't know I would fall Cadd9 G Why did you make me feel so small Em D I hope this haunts you in your sleep you mean nothing to me but Cadd9 D A part of me a part of me wants you to know That a part of me a part of me can't let you go Gotta keep my head up and move on Cuz your already gone But a part of me a part of me can't let you go Can't let you gooo ohhh Can't let you go ohhh
    Sandy Jenkins Excellence in Early Childhood Education Scholarship
    The bell rings and students begin to file into the first period of the day. Various lessons have been prepped, collaboration with co-teachers completed, and necessary modifications for students are in place. Worksheets for each subject have been made for some that are several grade levels below the standard. I’ve made sure all parent contacts, IEP’s and testing are up to date on my caseload prior to the day. It is about to be a great middle school day and I’m eager for my students to be able to attain and access new skills in class. Until the unexpected slowly unfolds. One student becomes agitated when they realize that not only have they forgotten to charge their laptop, but they’ve also forgotten their materials for class, another struggles to focus and admits to not taking their morning medicine, another is ready for a break 5 minutes in and needs to make a choice on their PBIS chart, and finally the student in the corner can barely stay awake from not having slept the night before. The General Education teacher begins to work through the lesson as I move around the room to address their various issues and needs in the full inclusion classroom. I then either pull students to work in a small group on the daily lesson or rotate around the room providing accommodations for the students I service. I make mental notes of what I will need to reteach later on in academic support. Being mindful of each student’s individual strengths and weaknesses in each subject to give students the best opportunity for success. After 45 minutes one class is over and on to the next. Five more classes in the day to go and only 45 minutes to plan for the next unexpected day. Only 45 minutes in the day to contact parents, collaborate with content teachers, prep an IEP meeting, track data, write progress reports, prep worksheets and tests, run an IEP meeting. By the time 3 pm rolls around I reflect on the events of the day and how I can best reach my students and get ready to do it all again the next day. I have been working in special education for the past 7 years. I originally earned my undergraduate degree in Secondary Education/History from Keene State College in New Hampshire and had my heart set on becoming a Social Studies teacher. Upon moving back to Massachusetts it was very difficult to find a Social Studies job so I took a position as a paraprofessional. I loved working with students in the general education classroom and began to realize the patience and positivity I displayed with students. I set high expectations for students and wanted them to excel in whatever capacity they could in life. After 2 years being a paraprofessional I took a job as a Special Education teacher and am going into my 6th year teaching and working with students who have moderate disabilities. I know this scholarship will help me further my knowledge and pursue a Masters degree. Special Education is an area that is continually growing with studies showing nearly 7 million or 14% of public school students receive special education services. With more learning disabilities being identified the need for highly qualified teachers to support these students is imperative. It is my goal to continue teaching and inspiring special education students, obtain a professional license in moderate disabilities, and gain skills and knowledge from Worcester State University that will help me achieve these goals.
    Patrick Stanley Memorial Scholarship
    The bell rings and students begin to file into the first period of the day. Various lessons have been prepped, collaboration with co-teachers completed, and necessary modifications for students are in place. Worksheets for each subject have been made for some that are several grade levels below the standard. I’ve made sure all parent contacts, IEP’s and testing are up to date on my caseload prior to the day. It is about to be a great middle school day and I’m eager for my students to be able to attain and access new skills in class. Until the unexpected slowly unfolds. One student becomes agitated when they realize that not only have they forgotten to charge their laptop, but they’ve also forgotten their materials for class, another struggles to focus and admits to not taking their morning medicine, another is ready for a break 5 minutes in and needs to make a choice on their PBIS chart, and finally the student in the corner can barely stay awake from not having slept the night before. The General Education teacher begins to work through the lesson as I move around the room to address their various issues and needs in the full inclusion classroom. I then either pull students to work in a small group on the daily lesson or rotate around the room providing accommodations for the students I service. I make mental notes of what I will need to reteach later on in academic support. Being mindful of each student’s individual strengths and weaknesses in each subject to give students the best opportunity for success. After 45 minutes one class is over and on to the next. Five more classes in the day to go and only 45 minutes to plan for the next unexpected day. Only 45 minutes in the day to contact parents, collaborate with content teachers, prep an IEP meeting, track data, write progress reports, prep worksheets and tests, run an IEP meeting. By the time 3 pm rolls around I reflect on the events of the day and how I can best reach my students and get ready to do it all again the next day. I have been working in special education for the past 7 years. I originally earned my undergraduate degree in Secondary Education/History from Keene State College in New Hampshire and had my heart set on becoming a Social Studies teacher. Upon moving back to Massachusetts it was very difficult to find a Social Studies job so I took a position as a paraprofessional. I loved working with students in the general education classroom and began to realize the patience and positivity I displayed with students. I set high expectations for students and wanted them to excel in whatever capacity they could in life. After 2 years being a paraprofessional I took a job as a Special Education teacher and am going into my 6th year teaching and working with students who have moderate disabilities. I know this scholarship will help me further my knowledge and pursue a Masters degree. Special Education is an area that is continually growing with studies showing nearly 7 million or 14% of public school students receive special education services. With more learning disabilities being identified the need for highly qualified teachers to support these students is imperative. It is my goal to continue teaching and inspiring special education students, obtain a professional license in moderate disabilities, and gain skills and knowledge from Worcester State University that will help me achieve these goals.