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Matthew Hale

4775

Bold Points

12x

Nominee

2x

Finalist

Bio

Navigating life with a faded map and a broken compass isn’t easy. However, it is my life. I’ve spent the majority of my academic career finding ways to overcome ADHD and dyslexia, and while that battle hasn’t been easy, I am far from ready to throw in the towel. My entire life revolves around music. At college, I am a music technology major who spent a semester as a DJ at WSIA. Outside of my academic career, I have been producing my own music since 2015. I have released 11 albums over this time, and I’m currently working on my 12th. I have been lucky to learn from and share my creative abilities with multiple artists of varying prominence levels. Aside from music, I have a rapidly increasing skillset in media. In high school, I was an anchor, correspondent, editor, and part of the set-up crew member for the school's talk show, Good Morning Port Richmond. I also launched Port Richmond High School's biweekly podcast, the Raider Blast Podcast, and my roles included speaker, background music producer, host, and editor. In my free time, I am a professional wrestler. Despite being the smallest guy in the ring, I have put in the time and effort to perfect my craft and hope to one day make it to WWE. I am open to wherever life takes me. I aim to find my niche and focus on the skills and knowledge needed to pursue a career in that field. What makes me an excellent candidate is that I do not let my disabilities define my abilities. If there is a setback, I always find ways to put myself on an equal playing field with my peers.

Education

College of Staten Island CUNY

Bachelor's degree program
2021 - 2025
  • Majors:
    • Music
  • Minors:
    • Radio, Television, and Digital Communication

Miscellaneous

  • Desired degree level:

    Master's degree program

  • Graduate schools of interest:

  • Transfer schools of interest:

  • Majors of interest:

    • Music Management
  • Not planning to go to medical school
  • Career

    • Dream career field:

      Music

    • Dream career goals:

      Company Founder

    • Professional wrestler

      Independent
      2021 – Present3 years
    • Designer / Stylist

      Independent
      2019 – 2019
    • On air correspondent, editor and music producer for Good Morning Port Richmond and Raider Blast Podcast, Daily morning school announcer, Founder of The Raider Blast Podcast

      Port Richmond High School's Media Crew
      2018 – 20213 years
    • Parks and beach maintenance

      Student Youth Employment Program
      2018 – 2018
    • Fellow

      The Opportunity Network
      2019 – Present5 years

    Sports

    Track & Field

    Present

    Wrestling

    Present

    Kayaking

    Present

    Canoeing

    Present

    Archery

    Present

    Rhythmic Gymnastics

    Present

    Pool

    Present

    Parasailing

    Present

    Kickboxing

    Present

    Karate

    Present

    Climbing

    Present

    Boxing

    Present

    Bowling

    Present

    Aerobics

    2017 – Present7 years

    Bodybuilding

    2019 – Present5 years

    Arts

    • WSIA

      Music
      2021 – Present
    • Port Richmond High School Talent Show and Battle of the Bands

      Music
      2017 – Present
    • Music Career Mastermind

      Music
      2020 – Present
    • Projectivity Group, Future Music Project, Independent

      Music
      Project Yourself Album Release Party, Future Music Informal Performance at Carnegie Hall, Independent performances through the Projectivity Group
      2014 – Present

    Public services

    • Volunteering

      Friends of Thompkinsville Park/Partnerships For Parks — Planted daffodil bulbs and native saplings
      2021 – Present
    • Volunteering

      Freshkills Park Alliance — Unearthed harmful weeds that hinder a bee's ability to pollinate
      2021 – Present
    • Advocacy

      DoSomething.org — Participant
      2021 – Present
    • Volunteering

      Independent — Shoveled snow.
      2015 – Present
    • Advocacy

      Operation Gratitude — Participant
      2021 – 2021
    • Advocacy

      Gender Sexuality Alliance — Participant
      2021 – 2021
    • Advocacy

      St. Jude Children's Hospital — Participant
      2021 – 2021
    • Advocacy

      Respect For All — Participant
      2021 – 2021
    • Advocacy

      Rockin' For Autism Benefit Concert — Musical Performer
      2019 – 2019
    • Public Service (Politics)

      New York Giants // RISE Voting & Civic Engagement — Panel member
      2020 – 2020
    • Advocacy

      Making Strides Against Breast Cancer — participant/fundraiser
      2017 – 2019
    • Volunteering

      National Honor Society - Port Richmond High School Borough Fair — participant/information provider
      2018 – 2018
    • Advocacy

      Walk to End Alzheimer's — participant/fund-raiser
      2019 – 2019
    • Advocacy

      Mother's Against Drunk Driving — participant/fund-raiser
      2018 – 2018
    • Volunteering

      Penny Harvest — participant
      2017 – 2017
    • Advocacy

      Autism Speaks — participant/fund-raiser
      2017 – 2018

    Future Interests

    Volunteering

    Philanthropy

    Entrepreneurship

    John J. DiPietro COME OUT STRONG Scholarship
    I had no idea the magnitude of impact Christian Penn would have in my life that day I walked into Room B348. It was a Tuesday. I was already in a session downstairs, editing an audio file in our afterschool podcast program, when my friend whispered to me that he was slipping out early to attend a workshop that promoted a new music program. "Create an album with professional artists and producers. Learn songwriting and production techniques. Express yourself and perform for the community. Create a music video for your song. Learn how to release your music, get exposure, and plays. Meet DJs, tastemakers, and influencers that will get your music heard." How could I not be intrigued? I still have that flyer sitting on my desk because this was a pivotal chapter in my music career and a symbol to commemorate the beginnings of a rewarding connection. Christian Penn is not only the founder of the Projectivity Organization; he is also a role model, mentor, teacher, and friend. According to Study.com, "A role model is an individual whose example is looked up to and imitated by others whereas mentors are trusted individuals with more experience than another person who personally, in a one-on-one situation, helps guide that person. Mentors have a personal relationship with you, where they help you succeed." I found this and more with Chris. Passionate role models are committed to the community. Chris's mission is to pair children interested in pursuing the arts and media with professionals and industry-standard tools and technology that give them the multimedia resources to succeed in an art career, which provides resources, education, and opportunities to anyone in underserved communities. Chris is my hero because he fights for the underdog and shows that success is possible despite obstacles. I think back to that day. As a student with ADHD, I had to reread the promotion to ensure I didn't mix something up or skip over relevant information. And there it read, "Available for ages 16-24," Damn! I was only 14. My age disqualified me, but I chose to remain and listen to the presentation. Chris explained that his objective was to create a joint album with young New York musicians and give them opportunities to experience how professionals handle recording and releasing music. This program would end with an album release party where artists would be able to perform their tracks. I was excited and eager to sign up but felt bummed out by the age limitation. Luckily, Chris recognized my passion for music, made an exception, and I entered as the program's youngest student. Great role models see others' needs and act on them. As a mentor, Chris has challenged me to learn everything and anything about the music industry, whether it is the musical or business aspect, including marketing, producing, mixing and mastering songs, collaborating, writing lyrics, working on flow, recording, and performing. With Chris's constructive feedback, I improved my lyrical writing, which I have always struggled with due to my disability. I slowly became a stronger essay writer in school. My math skills also improved because beat-making and mathematics both require the use of formulas. Great mentors are happy to see you succeed. Devoted mentors are always available and support you. At the program's conclusion, our communication did not end. Chris would continue to inform me about every upcoming program and make exceptions until I was old enough to participate legitimately. Under Chris's lead, I attended networking events, cyphers, open mics, and classes. He helped me share my art and learn from other artists, most notably Grammy Award-winning producer, !llmind. I want to show Chris that his acts were not in vain. I am currently collaborating with some of these artists to help bring awareness to an underrecognized community, the Staten Island music scene. Outside of the Wu-Tang Clan, not many people are familiar with the forgotten borough's talented individuals. My goal is to uplift this community the same way Chris does. Overall, Christian is a man of morals, goals, and hard work. His love, care, and selflessness towards the local community are truly inspiring. Starting a non-profit organization with the sole intention of benefiting others who do not have the necessary resources to succeed demonstrates a role model's characteristics. I am thankful for everything Chris Penn has done for me, and he will forever be a prominent person in my life.
    Kap Slap "Find Your Sound" Music Grant
    If money wasn’t an issue, the possibilities of what I would do with my time are endless. First, I would abandon all of the responsibilities that prevent me from fully pursuing my creative ambitions. Second, I would buy a recording studio far away from anything and anyone, so I could avoid distractions that interrupt the flow of my ideas. Then, I would purchase every instrument, every plugin, and every possible upgrade to my recording system. After I have access to all of these resources, I would dedicate my time to gaining proficiency on as many instruments as possible, as well as all current digital recording and production technology. That way, I can diversify my musical talents and explore every avenue to become the best and most well-rounded musician I can be. After mastering these skills, I would create the best music of my life and expand my audience by promoting my music online through multiple social media platforms, music blogs, etc. Once I gain a vast enough fanbase, I would go on a world tour and share my music with as many people as possible. I would repeat the cycle of creating music, marketing, and touring until I am content with where I am. I don’t want to be the biggest name in the music industry because that would only interfere with my creative process within my chosen genre, trap metal/experimental. This style of music is not for everyone, and I take pride in the fact that most people can’t relate to it or understand it. Throughout this cycle of recording, releasing, and promoting, I would also collaborate with as many different artists as possible. Since one of my primary goals is to bring artists together and create a network, the artists’ level of skill and prominence wouldn’t matter. My end goal is not to turn music into a uniform collective but rather to make the music world stronger and more unified than ever, despite its stylistic differences. If money wasn’t an issue, I would unite this divided planet through the powerful drug known as music.
    A Sani Life Scholarship
    See link below
    Nikhil Desai "Perspective" Scholarship
    By definition, 2020 was not a year of perfection. It was the year of COVID, sickness, shutdowns, protesting, rioting, looting, and death. Quarantine kept us isolated. Quarantine kept us tied to our computers and television screens. Quarantine forced millions to witness the atrocity of a man’s life slowly get taken from him by a knee pressed into his neck for eight minutes and 46 seconds. Quarantine highlighted an “Us vs. Them” kind of world, as political leaders continued to divide our country. I am not perfect. I do not have “2020” vision; my eyes are “2021,” and while this year is no better than last, I am. I have found clarity, insight, and as hard as it is for me to believe – spirituality. Witnessing the current year’s atrocious events, I stay grounded. Watching the hate, the violence, and insurrection, I stay grounded. Seeing the leader of our country spiral out of control, I stay grounded. I stay grounded because I value my life and the lives of others. I stay grounded because it is the only way my generation can improve our society if we want a better future. I have learned that we need to work harder in 2021 to ensure that: 1) Black lives matter for real, not just in theory 2) Our two main political parties either work with one another to provide a model for tolerance or dismantle 3) Police officers hold themselves and their “brothers” accountable 4) Congress holds themselves and their fellow members accountable and have term limits 5) Looting, rioting, and violence stops and doesn’t cloud the purity of peaceful protesting 6) Our president-elect leads our divided country into a true “united” states 7) People stop using derogatory words like snowflake, libtard, deplorable, and Karen 8) People stop making this pandemic about politics 9) People use logic and consider the guidelines of doctors and scientists vs. fanatics with no medical experience 10) People understand the importance of wearing a mask, washing their hands, and maintaining a six-foot distance 11) Hypocrites stop touting the sacrifice of heroes such as first responders, nurses, and doctors, yet continue to ignore CDC recommendations, ultimately disrespecting a community they praise by putting them at more risk because they value individual freedom over public safety 12) Small businesses are treated as fairly as big businesses 13) Transgender people and other members of the LGBTQ+ community don’t have to fear losing their protection under the law 14) Women maintain the right to make decisions over their bodies 15) Schools reopen – seriously, we need in-person education 16) The world learns from its mistakes and pull together to make our future better for all generations I have also learned that without tolerance and acceptance, we can never truly unite. We need to start by listening to, learning about, and understanding people who are different from us. We may discover that the similarities outweigh the differences. By studying our history and educating ourselves, we are in a better position to make better choices. Compassion is key. I don’t want to settle for survival. I envision a happier and healthier life in my future, and these are the tools that will deliver me there.
    Scholarcash Role Model Scholarship
    I had no idea the magnitude of impact Christian Penn would have in my life that day I walked into Room B348. It was a Tuesday. I was already in a session downstairs, editing an audio file in our afterschool podcast program, when my friend whispered to me that he was slipping out early to attend a workshop that promoted a new music program. "Create an album with professional artists and producers. Learn songwriting and production techniques. Express yourself and perform for the community. Create a music video for your song. Learn how to release your music, get exposure and plays. Meet DJs, tastemakers and influencers that will get your music heard." How could I not be intrigued? I still have that flyer sitting on my desk because this was a pivotal chapter in my music career and a symbol to commemorate the beginnings of a rewarding connection. Christian Penn is not only the founder of the Projectivity Organization; he is also a role model, mentor, teacher, and friend. According to Study.com, "A role model is an individual whose example is looked up to and imitated by others whereas mentors are trusted individuals with more experience than another person who personally, in a one-on-one situation, helps guide that person. Mentors have a personal relationship with you, where they help you succeed." I found this and more with Chris. Passionate role models are committed to the community. Chris's mission is to pair children interested in pursuing the arts and media with professionals and industry-standard tools and technology that give them the multimedia resources to succeed in an art career, which provides resources, education, and opportunities to anyone in underserved communities. Chris is my hero because he fights for the underdog and shows that success is possible despite obstacles. I think back to that day. As a student with ADHD, I had to reread the promotion to ensure I didn't mix something up or skip over relevant information. And there it read, "Available for ages 16-24," Damn! I was only 14. My age disqualified me, but I chose to remain and listen to the presentation. Chris explained that his objective was to create a joint album with young New York musicians and give them opportunities to experience how professionals handle recording and releasing music. This program would end with an album release party where artists would be able to perform their track. I was excited and eager to sign up but felt bummed out by the age limitation. Luckily, Chris recognized my passion for music, made an exception, and I entered as the program's youngest student. Great role models see others' needs and act on them. As a mentor, Chris has challenged me to learn everything and anything about the music industry, whether it is the musical or business aspect, including marketing, producing, mixing and mastering songs, collaborating, writing lyrics, working on flow, recording, and performing. With Chris's constructive feedback, I improved my lyrical writing, which I have always struggled with due to my disability. I slowly became a stronger essay writer in school. My math skills also improved because beat making and mathematics both require the use of formulas. Great mentors are happy to see you succeed. Devoted mentors are always available and support you. At the program's conclusion, our communication did not end. Chris would continue to inform me about every upcoming program and make exceptions until I was old enough to participate legitimately. Under Chris's lead, I attended networking events, cyphers, open mics, and classes. He helped me share my art and learn from other artists, most notably Grammy Award-winning producer, !llmind. I want to show Chris that his acts were not in vain. I am currently collaborating with some of these artists to help bring awareness to an underrecognized community, the Staten Island music scene. Outside of the Wu-Tang Clan, not many people are familiar with the forgotten borough's talented individuals. My goal is to uplift this community the same way Chris does. Overall, Christian is a man of morals, goals, and hard work. His love, care, and selflessness towards the local community are truly inspiring. Starting a non-profit organization with the sole intention of benefiting others who do not have the necessary resources to succeed demonstrates a role model's characteristics. I am thankful for everything Chris Penn has done for me, and he will forever be a prominent person in my life.
    Evie Irie Misfit Scholarship
    “Honestly, if you don’t fit in, then you’re probably doing the right thing.” (Lights Poxleitner-Bokan, Canadian Musician) Throughout my life, I never felt like I truly fit in. I’ve never had many friends, and even in small friend groups, I’ve been the outcast. I was different from everyone else in almost every possible way. My mindset, fashion sense, and music taste were utterly different. While my peers were wearing Jordans and Yeezys and keeping up on the latest designer brands, I was putting chains, spikes, studs, and straps on my pants or wearing skirts/skirt pant combos while rocking a nice pair of black combat boots. My peers listened to Young Thug, Travis Scott, and Lil Uzi Vert. I preferred less mainstream bands and musicians like Rob Zombie, Nonpoint, and Three Days Grace. My aspirations didn’t align with everyone else. Monetary success seemed to be everyone’s main focus, but I found a higher worth in emotional and mental happiness. They wanted to pursue careers as doctors and athletes. I wanted to become a musician. I felt like music was a niche that not many had thought of as a dream career. People typically listen to music but forget that there is a process behind its creation. Throughout my life, music played a significant role. It helped me cope with issues healthily, whether I was creating the music or listening to it. I wanted my piece of the pie. For me, maintaining musical and personal integrity means being unique and standing out instead of blending in and sounding just like everyone else. I’ve noticed that when I’ve tried to “fit in” with the popular kids, I felt disgusted, fake, and disconnected. Something felt “wrong” despite gaining recognition, friends, and everything in between. I was trying to portray someone that I wasn’t. Once I decided to be myself, I felt satisfied and freer. It no longer phased me when others called me out or teased me. Phrases like, “Why can’t you just be normal?” from close-minded people stopped mattering. They didn’t understand. While the average person enjoys music with catchy hooks, clean instrumentals, and memorable melodies, I prefer to incorporate the exact opposite - gritty melodies, rough and imperfect vocals, and distorted drums. I want to show others who are confused about who they are that “normal” isn’t always right, for there are pride and value in the ability to identify yourself differently.
    Simple Studies Scholarship
    Have you heard the news? Jay-Z’s Roc Nation entertainment company is partnering with Brooklyn’s Long Island University to launch the Roc Nation School of Music, Sports & Entertainment this Fall 2021. The particular program I am interested in is known as MTEP. According to LIU’s website, “The B.F.A. in Music Technology, Entrepreneurship and Production, is a studio model program, designed to provide professional training for students who aim to succeed as creative entrepreneurs, performers, songwriters, engineers, and producers in the music industry. This program includes a modernized music curriculum that addresses the dynamic and changing landscape of the music profession. With advancements in technology impacting how music is performed, consumed, produced and marketed, there is an abundance of opportunity for today’s musician not addressed in traditional undergraduate and graduate music curriculum. The program is designed to serve the needs of musicians who do not fit the traditional classical and jazz offerings that are typical in most university music programs.” If there is one thing about me – I AM NOT TRADITIONAL! I AM NOT TYPICAL! I KNOW WHAT I WANT TO STUDY! Their website further states, “The program will feature an experiential teaching and learning approach, grounded in the real world of music production and marketing, and follow a learning community/cohort model that places peer collaboration at the center of the educational experience. The program is centered around four pillars that are vital to the success of the modern musician: Creation of music: songwriting, performance, improvisation and arranging Production of music: music technology, mixing and engineering Business of music: entrepreneurship, marketing, promotion, copyright and management Background of music: history, culture, and globalization of contemporary music.” These are the components that are going to shape me into the artist I aim to be. For six years, I have written, recorded, and released music. I am proficient in DAWs (Digital Audio Workstations) such as Garageband, FL Studio, Logic Pro, Ableton, Audacity, Reaper, and I am currently learning how to use Studio One. I have experience performing in front of audiences, and I am learning the creative and marketing process of making and releasing music, so I become self-sufficient. But I need more. I want to continue to evolve in this industry. Why music? Why not music. “Musick has Charms to sooth a savage Breast, To soften Rocks, or bend a knotted Oak.” – William Congreve, The Mourning Bride
    Sander Jennings Spread the Love Scholarship
    “In order to love who you are, you cannot hate the experiences that shaped you.” I’m not sure who said that, but its sentiment resonates deeply within me. I ask myself each morning, “How can I love myself when my father can’t even love me?” My mom says he does, but wouldn’t my father make an effort to call, visit, write a letter, or dedicate even a small ounce of his time if he truly loved me? To me, love is not just a feeling; it’s an action. True love requires time, patience, acceptance, dedication, compromise, hard work, and sacrifice. Anyone can say, “I love you.” Actions speak louder than words. On the flip side, I have a mother who has rooted for me my entire life. She reminds me that I have value, I have talent, I am smart, I am funny, and I am loved. I can screw up, and although she may not love my actions, she will always love me. I have learned that my hesitancy to love and accept myself has impacted my relationships. I hated that my head was too broad, my nose was too wide, and my hairline receded too much. I hated that my brain didn’t perform the way others did, and it took me longer to keep up with my peers. I hated being labeled disabled. I hated that school emphasized Father’s Day and father/son events, and mine was not in the picture. I was frustrated and desperate to find validation from anyone other than my mother because mothers are supposed to love their kids no matter what. I chose wrong. I did not know what a loving relationship looked like because when my parents were together, they couldn’t get past the insults and abuse. For a brief moment, I let a girl “love” me. At least it felt like love or the way I pictured love to be. I let this girl dominate and manipulate my emotions. She made me feel lousy about myself and reminded me that I was the worst mistake of her life. I wanted to kill myself. I am learning to come to terms with self-love. As much as I crave physical love, I am willing to wait for the right person, one who will see my value as I see theirs. I’m going to stop worrying about what others think of me because I know I am a kind person. I will embrace my mistakes and use them as opportunities to grow. I will try to process my insecurities and fears and not let my first instinct be that I deserve to die. I will be more kind to myself, and accept myself for who I am and not compare myself to others. I will eat better, work harder, exercise more, and not stay up all hours. I will rest my brain. I will lose myself in my music. But first, I will embrace the journey that has made me the person I am today.
    Little Bundle Supermom Scholarship — High School Award
    Laurie Hale may not be a name known to many people. She isn't famous, rich, or prominent and appears average to the world. To look at her, you will observe a petite, unglamorous, and unadorned woman. Her hair is a flimsy dull mess of brown and grey, her face is a tattoo of lines and wrinkles, and her eyes reflect pain, hope, and a whole lot of feistiness. In the same way you can determine the age of a tree by counting the rings in its trunk, you can count her years of struggle, frustration, exhaustion, and sacrifice by the lines across her forehead. I refer to them as washboard lines. She wears Walmart's finest, her home is nondescript, yet she is magnificent. She is my mom, a single mom, and I recognize her sacrifices and risk-taking so that I can be the person I am today. My mother endured abuse since the day I was born. My father repeatedly kicked her in the stomach or between her legs while I was in her belly. I have brief moments of clarity where I remember the deeply upsetting violence and terror subjected upon her. For this reason, she brought me to work with her precisely three weeks and one day after giving birth to me. She left me home once and only once with my father and quit her job the day she came home to discover me sitting in a swing all alone, plopped in front of the television while my father played with a blow torch in our backyard. Her priority was to make sure I safe and no longer neglected. Several restraining orders later and mutual perjury with the U.S. Army was what it took to get my father out of our household. You want to talk about bold – my mother is bold. When I become a husband and a parent, I will never abuse my spouse or neglect my children. In the third grade, we discovered that something was preventing me from succeeding in school. I could not read at the same speed as my peers. I did not understand directions despite believing that I did, and too many images on a single page would turn into one giant blur. I also lost my ability to focus. For the next several years, my mom lost job after job because she chose to advocate endlessly to find a diagnosis and accommodations for my shortcomings. When I say she fought for my rights, I say that she used every possible outlet within her means. My mom is a woman with zero dollars and a mouth of a million words. With her help, I was finally able to put a name to my disabilities – dyslexia and ADHD. My mom jokes that "teachers of schools past" have dartboards in their offices with her picture on them, or they burn candles and recite curses about her upon them. She advocates aggressively. I am now learning to do the same for myself, minus the attitude. I have more to lose than she. I can't even begin to go into the emotional and academic support my mother has given me. She would sit beside me for hours, trying to find ways to help me understand concepts and phrases. She presented me with colorful and animated scholarly videos that grabbed my interest. My mom made up weird songs and created specific body postures to get me to make associations. She even worked with me to conduct practical experiments in the house to help me grasp scientific concepts, and it all worked. My grades shot up, and I went from an Integrated Co-Teaching class in middle school, one step above special education, to a successful student in my high school's collegiate academy. I will not let her efforts go wasted in vain. My mom is not just my mom; she's also my dad. She has patiently sat through wrestling shows, celebrated concerts, and watched movies that are more appealing to me. To her, my happiness and well-being are the most important. Nightly, we chat about all of the things going on in my life. It can sometimes be uncomfortable having a female address specific issues that a son would typically look to discuss with his father. Luckily, my mom approaches these matters with confidence, grace, and a bit of humor. I like to think that I inherited her spirit. My mother could have been someone in the work industry. She skipped a year of high school, started college at the age of 16, and was an independent woman to its fullest extreme. Unfortunately, her marriage's downward spiral led to a divorce, and she has been raising me, both unemployed and single. My mom deserves more, and I try to show her every day that my goal is to make something of myself. I want to give back to her one day. There's currently $5,560 standing between me and my dream program, one that will provide a well-rounded foundation for my intended career. I am carefully considering my options – loans, work-study, or any other employment that I can use to invest in my future. My goal is to be a music industry leader, a recording artist, and a producer. I spend every spare moment perfecting my craft, both solo and with the participation of two afterschool music programs. However, being from a no-income household, I am considering what career path will keep me sustainable while pursuing my dream. I'd use this scholarship toward tuition, books, transportation, or sustenance. I would use it to help myself become a more versatile person. I still have a lot to learn to capitalize on my music. I will choose humbleness, knowledge, patience, passion, humor, creativity, happiness, kindness, and hard work to be the person my mom raised me to be – a strong, compassionate, and independent person. I will take care of my mom the way she took care of me.
    Nikhil Desai Reflect and Learn COVID-19 Scholarship
    “In the blink of an eye, everything can change.” The world has experienced ups and downs, booms and collapses - The Dark Ages, The Renaissance, WWI, The Roaring Twenties, The Great Depression, and WWII. The Irish died of starvation during the Great Famine. The crippling effects of Europe’s Spanish Flu in 1918 resulted in an estimated loss of 17 to 50 million people worldwide. NYC had 9/11. The last major economic collapse in the United States was the Great Recession in 2008. Our world started to flourish, and then, BOOM, we are amidst the COVID-19 Pandemic, with the worldwide number of deaths reaching 1,368,117. For me, COVID-19 is both a blessing and a curse. It has forced me to look at my priorities from a new perspective. Never in my life would I ever expect to hear myself say that I want to go to school. I mean, like physically WANT to go into a building in person. Never would I have dreamt that I’d miss the face to face interaction with my teachers and deans. Never would I realize that people are so AWFUL! In March 2020, when we first went into quarantine, I was like, hey, this is a vacation. God has answered my prayers. I no longer have to wake up early, I can work at my own pace, and I can take classes practically in my underwear. Okay, so Google Meet and Zoom prevented that from happening - cameras on, microphones turned up. Working at my own pace was vital because, as a student diagnosed with ADHD and dyslexia, time was one of my weak points. Now, I had tons of it. Ashamedly, I also admit that taking exams from home was a breeze because the answers were always at hand. It felt like an automatic cheat. My physical activity didn’t suffer because I was never one to exercise unless I had to. I’d rather sit in my chair for hours playing Grand Theft Auto from my PS4. Both fortunately and unfortunately, depending on how you look at it, my beloved mother forced me to take walks with her. Staten Island is known for its Greenbelt - miles of trails, paths, and greenery traversing throughout the borough. No, I did not want to ruin my pair of Nike Air Force 1’s in a lump of mud, but admittedly it felt refreshing to be outdoors, breathe the crisp scent of the oak and maple, and discover the wildlife that I never knew existed in my area. It was also better than being in isolation away from my friends. Isolation was the worst part. I could never imagine not wanting to watch TV. Who doesn’t appreciate a day of being able to binge-watch your favorite television programs? “Combat Zone Wrestling” and” ICW No Holds Barred” were my two favorites. Then suddenly came the day – CRASH. Collectively our spirits crumbled as we all witnessed the worst seven minutes and forty-six seconds of television’s recent history - a man named George Floyd being strangulated by a knee to his neck. With it came accusations, riots, and looting. But with it also came people joining together peacefully and embracing one another. It says a lot about how crappy our world is when even our politicians can’t get it together. Trump berates Cuomo, Cuomo bashes DeBlasio, DeBlasio reprimands Cuomo, and Cuomo antagonizes Trump – definitely not the wrestling match I showed up for. Don’t get me wrong. I was never under the pretense that they exist for our country’s benefit, but is it too much to ask that our leaders come together and present a “UNITED” States and resolve their differences between closed doors? It’s a pandemic, man! We’re frightened enough. Social media started revealing where friends stood politically and personally. One day I am happily discussing “Hurtworld ‘99” by City Morgue, and the next, I am blocked because of my ideologies. I am thankful for my small cluster of misfit friends, the tangible in the flesh friends – the ones who accept you despite minor differences. I learned the value of friendship and that it’s best to stick to a small group, both for sanity and safety. I also learned the value of human life, especially the weak and elderly. I know that it is my moral responsibility to stay cautious and diligent in protecting my 71-year-old grandmother. I have many more years to live, and I want my grandmother in my life. Lastly, I learned the meaning of a dollar and the value of an education. I am more mindful of my spending. I wouldn’t think twice about dropping a couple of hundred on a pair of Jordans in the past. Today, with practically no money at hand, that money is better spent on food and necessities. LIU Brooklyn just accepted me into their MTEP program and what excites me most is that Roc Nation is partnering with them come Fall 2021. I had a part-time job a few summers ago, and I’m currently a member of a fellowship program in NYC. My mother is unemployed and on Medicaid. Today, I filled out an online application for a possible internship because I need to earn money to make up the balance I would need to attend LIU. It is up to me to put in the work and find the resources to better my life. COVID-19 doesn’t seem to be going anywhere, at least not now. But again, “In the blink of an eye, everything can change.” I still have a FUTURE!
    Bold Moments No-Essay Scholarship
    "His palms are sweaty Knees weak, arms are heavy There's vomit on his sweater already Mom's spaghetti (he's nervous) But on the surface he looks calm and ready..." -Eminem, Lose Yourself. This is a photo of the first time I performed in front of a crowd at an album release party. It was a small crowd, but large enough for my nerves to kick in. I was rapping to a song I co-wrote and produced called "99." I was terrified, but I lost myself in the music and owned it.
    Giving Thanks Scholarship
    Sometimes our closest friends are right in front of us, and we are too blind to see it. My journey to thankfulness started at a local wrestling event. I was a little pipsqueak standing all alone yet feeling mightier than the world when some random awkwardly overly-hyped kid came hobbling over to me. "Can I hold your belt?" You see, I was the only person to own a genuine Warriors of Wrestling Championship belt, and it was their original. "Well, maybe for a second," I replied reluctantly handing over the belt. I was pleased that someone had noticed, and we spent that evening marveling over it, the show and each wrestler's astounding, yet sometimes ridiculous finishing moves. It was a short friendship - one day, to be exact, but I was grateful. Fast forward to the seventh grade. I had spent my entire elementary school career diligent and persevering, just like the wrestlers I had so admired, only to find myself powerslammed into an Integrated Co-Teaching class. "I didn't belong here," I said to myself, fumbling with my Childish Gambino shirt, my face throbbing red like a wrestler after being smashed into a turnbuckle. "Nice shirt," someone says to me as I look up to see a face I couldn't seem to place. "Killer music," and with that, we went back and forth singing lyric after lyric to "3005." I was thankful that I had someone to help ease the misery of seventh grade. Our friendship continued to grow with days spent talking in class, at lunch, in the library, during recess, and sometimes into the evening's late hours. On weekends and school breaks, we would FaceTime each other the entire day. Strangely, we would sometimes bond amidst arguments and physical fights. Here we were - two inseparable misfits who somehow fit perfectly together, and then suddenly, it all collapsed. Ouch! A kick to the gut like a Stone Cold Stunner. Eventually, we ended up at different high schools. With that came new friendships, differing goals, constant arguments, and finally, a lack of connection. I accidentally dialed Jonny's phone number one day, and he picked up. My birthday was approaching, and I hesitantly asked if he wanted to come, expecting him to say no. He showed up to the match, where we discovered we now had more in common than ever. Not only was a friendship revived, but so began a brothership of love, loyalty, compassion, acceptance, and trust. I can tell him my deepest secrets, as can he. About a year and a half later, I realized that Jonny was that kid I met at the wrestling show all those years ago, proof that our friendship was destined to be. We ended up finding each other every time we split apart. Our bond has further strengthened. We even started a band. I'm incredibly thankful that Jonny is in my life, and I'd do anything to repay him for the happiness he has brought me. Tag team partners for life!
    Austin Kramer Music Scholarship
    As a music fan, I like my listening experience to be like a rollercoaster in the dark. It has its ups, downs, and you don't know what you're signing up for until it's too late. Experimentation is a must when it comes to creating music. While there's a sense of comfort when music is predictable, there is a certain rush that builds within when you don't know what will happen next. The ten chosen songs in my playlist demonstrate how rewarding the unexpected can be. Each song varies in levels of experimentation.
    Low-Income Student Scholarship
    When you turn off a light, you put a switch in what is called an open position. You have a disconnected wire, and the current is unable to flow. When you turn a light back on, the switch is in what’s called a closed position. The wire is connected, and the current can flow. Since the age of seven, I have been walking around somewhere between open and closed. It is believed that resistance and heat lie within this stage. My greatest achievement occurred in middle school, where I chose to flip on the light, namely the light within me. I was always a high achiever. Perhaps because my mother insisted I be that way. I was an honor student in elementary school, yet there was a disconnection, like the wire in a light switch. Something was off, yet I was still able to perform. However, I noticed my light beginning to dim, and I was not keeping up with the rest of my class. I started reversing numbers. Too many objects on a page would blur into one gigantic blob. It took me three times as long to read a sentence as my classmates. I began to hold back, and this feeling of red poured through my body. Yet, I still kept going. Two years later, the slow burnout was too much, and I found myself placed in an Integrated Co-Teaching class. My insides continued to burn. How could I end up in a class that was one step above special ed? I knew all the answers. I knew all the words. I just needed more time. I needed to wrap my wires around me and think within my electrical cocoon. At this time, my pediatrician suspected dyslexia. I was diagnosed and received some of the accommodations I needed to put me on an even playing field with my peers. I noticed a small flicker in my light. From that day on, I decided that I would do whatever it took to show my teachers that they placed the right bulb in the wrong socket. I studied weeks in advance and practiced every possible experiment I could in my science textbooks. I drilled historical dates, facts, and figures into my head over and over and over again. What is that I feel? Forty watts of electricity pouring from my brain. I could do better. I learned that I am what they call an auditory learner. Listening helps me process better than looking unless what I am looking at is highly exciting. I started watching and listening to educational videos from various sources – Crash Course, Khan Academy, Tom Richey, Mr. Nicky. Facts upon facts illuminated my computer screen with brilliant colors, sounds, closed captioning, and bloopers. I was increasingly engaged with each mistake, laughing hysterically at how someone could get something so wrong. Is that sixty watts I feel? Brilliant. I can do more. I felt connected, alert, energetic. My light switch was on, and I was getting hundreds on most of my assignments. I was also feeling the burn from some of my teachers when I began to challenge specific ideas taught in the classroom. Their fuses were shorter than mine. Uh oh! Maybe reaching 100 watts wasn’t the best approach at this time. I didn’t care. I still shone on, and it landed me into the collegiate program of my current high school. What did this teach me? For starters, I learned that despite any label thrown at me, I could choose to define it instead of having it define me. I finally did find out what my actual diagnosis was in high school. I have ADHD, and even though my accommodations evolved or changed throughout the years, I learned that I had developed certain skills that helped me continue to perform equal to my classmates. More importantly, I realized that while it’s great to shine at 100 watts, people tend to like you better when you’re not trying to outshine them. I have found a happy medium at 75 watts, but inside I sometimes feel like I’m approaching 150. I plan on taking my light and continue pouring it into my music. I have been writing, recording, and producing music for the past six years, and I plan to continue with this path until I’ve reached what I define as my level of success. My dream is to become one of the biggest names in the music industry, but my definition of success is finding happiness, comfort, paying my bills, and feeling passionate about what I do. I aim to shine my light for the world to see.
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    Hustle Tech & Business News No-Essay Scholarship