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Nadeige Fontaine

2565

Bold Points

5x

Nominee

4x

Finalist

3x

Winner

Bio

Hello! I'm Nadeige. I'm an animator and comics artist looking to make my mark. My biggest goal is to work with studios such as Disney, Dreamworks, and Netflix to produce stories that will inspire generations to come. I also aspire to produce my independent projects as well. Being in the industry also allows me to give more BIPOC representation, which I find to be very important for our youth in today's society. I believe everyone should be included in the media they enjoy. To reach these goals, I enrolled in the School of the Art Institute of Chicago to learn important techniques and skills necessary for an impressive portfolio. I am always proud to be of service to others. I hope the work I do in life can help make the world a better place. I frequently volunteered for many projects and events such as concerts for youth orchestras, community festivals, and beautification projects around my neighborhood. More recently at the beginning of the Covid-19 pandemic, I put my education aside and took the position of a caregiver at home. Now I am happy to report I have returned to school! I am seeking the help of scholarships and grants to continue to complete my education and pursue my lifelong dream of bringing people together through art.

Education

School of the Art Institute of Chicago

Bachelor's degree program
2019 - 2024
  • Majors:
    • Film/Video and Photographic Arts
    • Fine and Studio Arts
  • Minors:
    • Visual and Performing Arts, General

Klein Forest H S

High School
2015 - 2019

Miscellaneous

  • Desired degree level:

    Bachelor's degree program

  • Graduate schools of interest:

  • Transfer schools of interest:

  • Majors of interest:

    • Fine and Studio Arts
    • Business, Management, Marketing, and Related Support Services, Other
  • Not planning to go to medical school
  • Career

    • Dream career field:

      Animation

    • Dream career goals:

      Creative Director

    • Apprentice Permanent Makeup Technician

      Mpressive Faces
      2022 – Present2 years

    Sports

    Golf

    Varsity
    2016 – 20193 years

    Arts

    • Funny Weird Money

      Conceptual Art
      Chovie and Chito
      2022 – Present
    • Independent

      Graphic Art
      Staywokesa , Primerica, Jericho Soldiers, This Dungeon is Occupied
      2019 – Present
    • Independent

      Animation
      SAIC Animation Station
      2020 – Present
    • Independent

      Drawing
      Texas Rodeo Art Show , Texas French Symposium , SAIC Art Bash
      2011 – Present
    • Independent

      Illustration
      Texas Rodeo Art Show, Texas French Symposium
      2011 – Present
    • Klein ISD Music Program

      Music
      Klein ISD Orchestra Concerts, Klein ISD Holliday Tour, Klein ISD Fifth Grade Strings Tour
      2011 – 2019

    Public services

    • Volunteering

      Klein Forest Orchestra — Washer
      2016 – 2019
    • Volunteering

      French Honor Society — member
      2018 – 2019
    • Volunteering

      Klein Forest Golf — Station Attendent
      2016 – 2018
    • Volunteering

      Klein Forest High School French Cub — President
      2018 – 2019
    • Volunteering

      National Honor Society — member
      2018 – 2019

    Future Interests

    Advocacy

    Volunteering

    Philanthropy

    Entrepreneurship

    Janean D. Watkins Overcoming Adversity Scholarship
    As a kid, I often rode my bike to school alone. I remember some of those rides being rather drab and exhausting, especially in the sticky humidity of suburban Houston, Texas. I had only my thoughts to myself, and soon my imagination would take over. As I pedaled away, I pretended to race dragons flying high above houses, or try to outrun the cars turned gruesome monsters to snatch me up. Some days my bike would sprout rockets and I’d launch into outer space to wave good morning to smiling aliens who would just be my neighbors. Every bike ride was just one of my many ways to venture into another grand adventure before school. Nowadays, my adventures take on a different form. As a cartoonist, I strongly emphasize narrative in my work. Whether it’s animation, comics, or illustration, I value being able to tell a story that can pull you into an immersive and fantastical world. I like working in the realm of fiction, taking inspiration from works of high-fantasy and science fiction, but I have found a liking for memoirs as well this past year. I feel narratives have the power to unite people through the fantastical. It can take people's imaginations to greater heights and help them find a community. I currently attend the School of the Art Institute of Chicago and I am determined to finish my education and move on to a successful career in the animation industry as a story artist for television and film to share the joy of visual storytelling. In recent years, navigating grief has been the most challenging topic I’ve explored in my work. Although it's difficult, it helped me piece my thoughts and emotions into something tangible for me to come to terms with and grow from. Between 2020 and 2022, I had to return home from school which I could no longer afford at the time. During my time home, my family suffered the sudden loss of my aunt recovering from cancer, our family dogs, my great-grandmother, and my grandfather who battled heart complications. Between their passing, my mother’s long-awaited kidney transplant immediately failed after the operation. As a caregiver to most of them, I didn’t handle these tragedies well, turning to unhealthy habits like emotional eating and isolating myself to cope. There were many nights where I stayed awake questioning my purpose in life, if everything seemed out of my control. The scariest part was watching my goal of being a successful cartoonist drift farther and farther away as my peers advanced in their education without me. Around February 2022, My other aunt offered to take me under her wing with a job working for her permanent makeup business. Initially, I was hesitant about such a drastic change, little did I know she would help me see the beauty in the world once more. Together we traded new skills and hobbies, traveled with our family, and started our wellness journeys with the goal of improving our physical and mental health. I was even reminded of my passion for art when she asked me to donate some of my work to be auctioned off to fund research for The Leukemia and Lymphoma Society. I couldn’t see the worth in my art until I witnessed firsthand how my work had the capacity to help other families save the lives of their loved ones. Art has the power to heal in a literal and figurative sense, and I want to continue to give back to my community this way to ensure art can continue to help others.
    Xavier M. Monroe Heart of Gold Memorial Scholarship
    Last year I moved back to Chicago to continue my education. In all honesty, I was overjoyed to come back. Finally, I could reunite with old friends, explore the city once more, and improve my artistic abilities to better prepare me for my dream job as an animator. However, the day of my flight I got a message that my grandfather passed away. This call would officially mark the fifth family member to have passed away during my two-year stay home. I really believed that once I moved back to Illinois, I would have finally escaped the bounds of grief I left behind in Texas, but it somehow followed me here too. Coming back was an interesting adjustment. I didn’t immediately pick up where I left off. In my freshly moved-in apartment, I watched my grandfather’s funeral from my phone. It was surreal watching from the perspective of the camera. It looked down above the pews as if I were floating like a ghost. In some ways, I actually felt more like a ghost during this time in my life. I hadn’t had a chance to be myself in about two years. I put my education and aspirations aside to help care for the family members who would have ultimately passed away. Relieved of this responsibility, I was free now to do whatever I wanted, but I still struggled to pull myself out of bed to do so. I felt like an imposter at times, barely clinging onto a dream I believed for a long time was just out of reach. This was supposed to be my time to bounce back as a better version of myself, but looking in the mirror, I still saw a person who was still uncertain about what life had in store for her. I have to admit though, I was not a lost cause. The summer I had prior to moving back to Chicago gave me the tools to pull myself out of my depressive hole. That summer my aunt took me under her wing and taught me how to take back control of my life. This incredible woman gave me my first job in her permanent make-up studio, teaching me new lucrative skills. She encouraged me to focus on my physical and mental health by getting active and using my talents as an artist to help others. She gave me a chance to enjoy some of the finer things in life and to see the beauty of the world again. With her, I eventually learned to heal by focusing my energy on things to improve myself and my outlook on life. When she first invited me to stay with her, I remember her telling me “Life is not going to wait.” Those words have stuck with me since. Now I understand them to mean no matter what happens to bring me down, I shouldn’t dwell on the pain too long, or else I’ll miss out on brighter opportunities. For the past year, I have been more in tune with myself, growing from my experiences and putting healthier habits into practice. I feel stronger, more confident, and excited to go outside of my comfort zone whenever I’m stuck in a rut. No longer am I a ghost viewing myself from afar. I stand before you with both feet firmly planted as me. And although I miss my family dearly, grieving their passing is a chapter in my life I am ready to close. And with how far I have come along, I’m sure they would agree and cheer me on to keep going forward.
    Ethel Hayes Destigmatization of Mental Health Scholarship
    Last year I moved back to Chicago to continue my education. In all honesty, I was overjoyed to come back. Finally, I could reunite with old friends, explore the city once more, and improve my artistic abilities to better prepare me for my dream job as an animator. However, the day of my flight I got a message that my grandfather passed away. This call would officially mark the fifth family member to have passed away during my two-year stay home. I really believed that once I moved back to Illinois, I would have finally escaped the bounds of grief I left behind in Texas, but it somehow followed me here too. Coming back was an interesting adjustment. I didn’t immediately pick up where I left off. In my freshly moved-in apartment, I watched my grandfather’s funeral from my phone. It was surreal watching from the perspective of the camera. It looked down above the pews as if I were floating like a ghost. In some ways, I actually felt more like a ghost during this time in my life. I hadn’t had a chance to be myself in about two years. I put my education and aspirations aside to help care for the family members who would have ultimately passed away. Relieved of this responsibility, I was free now to do whatever I wanted, but I still struggled to pull myself out of bed to do so. I felt like an imposter at times, barely clinging onto a dream I believed for a long time was just out of reach. This was supposed to be my time to bounce back as a better version of myself, but looking in the mirror, I still saw a person who was still uncertain about what life had in store for her. I have to admit though, I was not a lost cause. The summer I had prior to moving back to Chicago gave me the tools to pull myself out of my depressive hole. That summer my aunt took me under her wing and taught me how to take back control of my life. This incredible woman gave me my first job in her permanent make-up studio, teaching me new lucrative skills. She encouraged me to focus on my physical and mental health by getting active and using my talents as an artist to help others. She gave me a chance to enjoy some of the finer things in life and to see the beauty of the world again. With her, I eventually learned to heal by focusing my energy on things to improve myself and my outlook on life. When she first invited me to stay with her, I remember her telling me “Life is not going to wait.” Those words have stuck with me since. Now I understand them to mean no matter what happens to bring me down, I shouldn’t dwell on the pain too long, or else I’ll miss out on brighter opportunities. For the past year, I have been more in tune with myself, growing from my experiences and putting my healthier habits into practice. I feel stronger, more confident, and excited to go outside of my comfort zone whenever I’m stuck in a rut. No longer am I a ghost viewing myself from afar. I stand before you with both feet firmly planted as me. And although I miss my family dearly, grieving their passing is a chapter in my life I am ready to close. And with how far I have come along, I’m sure they would agree and cheer me on to keep going forward.
    Valorena Publishing & Cocoa Kids Collection Scholarship
    As an adult I still find myself wandering through the children’s book section of stores. Quickly I’m taken by beautifully illustrated cover art and fresh stories urging me to crack them open and read. As I browse, I reflect on how far we’ve come in illustrated storytelling. As a kid, I was enamored of the artwork and immersive stories of the picture books I’ve read, but there’s something a little different about these books nowadays that excites me yet again. Not only are these books tackling more complex themes and lessons, but they are becoming more diverse. I didn’t grow up with a lot of books that focused on characters I could relate to, but now I'm seeing a lot more backgrounds being embraced as far as race, culture, familial status, and more. Some of these new books I wish I could’ve had as a child; books on separated parents, coming from a multicultural family, and of course celebrating my blackness, but I’m happy knowing other children today can grow up with these stories and cherish their messages. The books of my childhood inspired me to become a storyteller and illustrator. In my attendance at the School of the Art Institute of Chicago, I have printed two autobiographical zines. One is about overcoming my low self-esteem and the other is about my relationship with my great-grandmother. I’ve learned that the process of making these zines is just as important as the stories I wanted to tell with them. Writing and drawing both of these stories allowed me to take the time and reflect on those experiences. In doing so, I found a common theme between them: grief. Five family members of mine, including my great-grandmother, passed away between 2020 and 2022 due to illness or old age. Never in my life had I experienced such heavy losses of family members so close to me before. Grieving their deaths I found it harder to take better care of myself, thus arose my difficulty in loving and accepting myself. I’ve gotten better since, but grief sure was a difficult thing to navigate. Nowadays it seems everyone is grieving something or someone, even children. I can’t imagine what it’s like for a child to grieve the loss of a loved one. It’s probably a much more confusing, frightening, and painful experience than I had. All I know is on those especially painful days, I just wanted to feel like I wasn’t alone. I wanted to feel seen and comforted. Maybe grieving children would want the same thing, especially if they can’t quite put their feelings into words yet. When I think about future projects, I have seriously considered writing and illustrating a children’s picture book about losing a loved one and navigating grief. Picture books, after all, have always had a special way of allowing children to feel seen and comforted. I think this will be a perfect medium to explore this topic since it’s simple and tactile to bring a sense of groundedness. If the child feels lonely, a book can keep them company, or may even help them feel closer to their guardians if they read together. And even if a child can get lost in the illustrations to help them escape their grief for just a moment, I think the effort might as well be worth it. However, I still have much to learn and my school provides resources to help my book-making. I hope to use this award to finish my education and improve my skills in illustration and creative writing to make this dream book a reality.
    Mcristle Ross Minority Painter's Scholarship
    In high school, it seemed everyone already had a vision for their future. My peers were enthusiastically gearing up to pursue medicine or law, but I struggled to see where my life would lead after graduation. I struggled so much because at the time I didn’t think my passion was an acceptable career. I am a cartoonist who primarily focuses on animation and comics. When I’d talk to people about my interest in pursuing a career in these arts, I would often be told that it's not worth pursuing them and that my passion should just stay a hobby if I know what’s good for me. But art is the world I’ve always known. It’s not something I do, it’s something that has grown with me. I remember the days as a kid I spent sifting through the large collections of DVDs to find the perfect animated film to keep me entertained for hours. If I wasn’t watching animation, I read comic books and manga I found tucked away in my local library or bookstore to immerse myself in fantastical worlds of action and adventure. Although many of my peers thought it was weird or childish, these storytelling mediums reigned supreme to me since they are the perfect combination of writing, illustrations, and film. These mediums allow us to push the bounds of reality and enhance our stories in ways novels and live-action films cannot. I would draw what I saw from these movies and books, and pretty soon I was making stories of my own. However, for a long time, I didn’t have many people to share this passion with aside from a handful of friends and family who loosely understood, but that all changed when my little brother was born. Not only did I have an opportunity to share my passion with a new set of eyes, but I also got to watch firsthand what it is like to see a child fall in love with storytelling like I have. When he was a couple of years old, he loved films like Tangled and Meet the Robinson and played them on repeat for days on end. However, I never saw him more excited about animation and comics when Black Panther started hitting mainstream media. I had introduced this Marvel character to my brother before his debut in the film Captain America: Civil War, but seeing this powerful black superhero for the first time on the big screen absolutely rocked his world. He couldn’t get enough. Later in 2018, The first Black Panther film and the animated feature, Into the Spider-Verse, featuring Miles Morales, an Afro-Latino Spider-man, finally premiered. I saw both of these films with my brother and each time my heart would melt seeing his wide smile and pouring excitement for the characters on screen that looked like him. Characters and stories like these are very important to us and many other black people in the world. Everyone deserves to feel seen in the media they enjoy, so after those two films, I understood I needed to pursue art to ensure I could spread that much-needed representation and excitement for other BIPOC. Talent and insight from black women are especially rare in these fields. I graduated high school with a better understanding of what I was capable of and since then I’ve grown into my future as an artist. I wish to continue to study comics, animation, and film to make an impact on the industry and continue to tell meaningful stories for my brother and other black kids passionate about art and film.
    Cat Zingano Overcoming Loss Scholarship
    It's almost ironic that as an artist, I have a hard time expressing myself. It shouldn’t be something to be ashamed of, but part of me growing up felt as if I had no place for strong emotions like sadness or grief. For some reason, a younger me had this perception that I was a girl who couldn’t be shaken. I believed I had to be the outgoing and confident one in any setting. I believed I had to flourish in everything I did because nothing was too difficult for me. If it was a struggle I couldn't laugh off, I quietly managed it behind closed doors. However, a couple of years ago that door was shattered. Between 2020 and 2022, my family suffered the sudden loss of my aunt recovering from cancer, our family dogs, my great-grandmother, and my grandfather who battled heart complications. Between their passing, my mother’s long-awaited kidney transplant immediately failed after the operation. I didn’t handle these tragedies well, turning to unhealthy habits like emotional eating and isolating myself to cope. My family and friends saw plain as day how far I was spiraling and all I could do was hold on to my spirits for dear life to keep myself somewhat adrift in my grief. In 2020, I moved back home to San Antonio, Texas, because I couldn’t afford to continue to pay for school in Chicago. At the time, my mother, aunt, grandparents, and great-grandmother all lived under the same roof with our two family dogs. I simply thought this was just a short pause in my education while I tried to find other means to pay my way through school, but I had become a full-time caregiver to my family members instead. I did everything I could to ensure I helped them improve their health, but somehow I kept finding myself choking back tears at yet another one of their funerals. In addition, seeing my mother in pain from a faulty kidney operation broke me. I felt as if anything I did wasn’t enough anymore for them or myself. I was eating absurd amounts of food to hush my emotions to the point where I’d feel utterly sick. I stayed awake at night questioning my purpose in life, if I had one at all. The scariest part was watching my goal of being a successful cartoonist drift farther and farther away as my peers advanced in their education without me. Thankfully, I mustered the energy to continue to draw, but sometimes I struggled to see its worth in the long run as if I was wasting my time on a dream that was never meant to be. Around February 2022, I got a text from my other aunt who lived in Houston. She offered to take me under her wing with a job working for her permanent makeup business. Initially, I was hesitant about such a drastic change, but I realized it was time to start my life again. Little did I know she would help me see the beauty in the world once more. Together we traded new skills and hobbies, traveled with our family, and started our wellness journeys with the goal of improving our physical and mental health. I was even reminded of my passion for art when she asked me to donate some of my work to be auctioned off for The Leukemia and Lymphoma Society. For a while, I couldn’t see the worth in my art until I witnessed firsthand how my work had the capacity to help other families save the lives of their loved ones. A new fire was lit within my heart and I recognized my purpose in life is to unite and inspire others through my work. Needless to say, I never want to lose sight of that goal again. I’m a cartoonist that strongly emphasizes narrative in my work. Whether it’s animation, comics, or illustration, I value being able to tell a story that matters to me in hopes that it can inspire others. My journey to overcome adversity and navigate grief has been the most challenging topic I’ve explored in my work, but naturally, art has always been a part of my healing. It helped me piece my thoughts and emotions into something tangible for me to come to terms with and grow from. My family cheered me on to pursue my passion and I don’t want their wishes to be in vain. I am determined to finish my education and to move on to a successful career in the animation industry for them; to uplift their love and their stories in their memory. And when I finally see my name scroll up the credits on the big screen, I will know my accomplishments would have made them proud.
    GojiCenter Animation Scholarship
    When I decided I wanted to pursue animation, I couldn’t fully explain why I was so enthralled by the medium, nor could I understand why people discredited its narrative capabilities as something just for kids. When I watched Spider-Man: Into the Spider-Verse for the first time in theaters, I finally realized what I had been trying to explain to others who doubted the power of animation. In order for phenomenal animated narratives to work, talented animators have had to understand how to trick the human eye into perceiving a series of two-dimensional images as dynamic moving sequences in a three-dimensional space. The art of animation is an optical illusion called persistence of vision. Persistence of vision has fascinated me for what it describes about the human eye. Thanks to optical studies, we understand how our retinas process light for our visual cortex to form images in our brains. Working in tandem with sensory memory, we are able to see the moving world around us. However, it's been discovered that our brains may hold onto these images we see a bit longer after the stimuli end for up to a fifteenth of a second. Understanding the basis of how our eyes function, animators have established that animating a sequence of twelve images per second, also known as animating on “twos”, can reliably trick the human eye to perceive it as real motion. Animating on twenty-four-frames-per-second, or “ones”, can achieve a more fluid and realistic effect that can become almost mesmerizing. What is also fascinating about animation is how we animators find solutions for what our brains can and cannot process in a three-dimensional space. When trying to create the illusion of speed, removing so many frames between a moving object’s start and end point can only go so far without it seemingly disappearing and reappearing in another location. When an object moves too fast for our brains to process, we would see the object turn into a blur. In animation, we can represent this in a couple of ways. Drawing smear frames, multiples, or adding motion blurs in between frames has become another nifty way to trick the brain into perceiving realistic motion. I mention Spider-Man: Into the Spider-Verse because it was the first film I could clearly recognize these principles working to tell a story so inspiring, it grew my passion for animation tenfold. Right away I was pleasantly surprised by the “choppy” animation style the filmmakers decided to use to characterize certain characters and scenes. As many animated films nowadays are animated on ones, selected parts of this film are animated on twos to exaggerate actions. Throughout the film, this technique had become strongly associated with the main character, Mile Morales’ journey to become Spider-Man. When we see him struggle with his new abilities, he’s animated on twos to emphasize his clumsiness, but once he gains his confidence, he is animated on ones to show more fluid and graceful movements that affirm his newly found strength. Filmmakers also decided to use smear techniques instead of motion blurs to call back to classic animation techniques and motion lines in comics. This stylish approach maintains the exciting aesthetic language they build throughout the film. The science of animation is just as sophisticated as the studies made in an effort to understand how we perceive the world and is deserving of this recognition. That's why I strive to use my understanding of persistence of vision and perceived motion as a tool to expand on the stories I want to tell and inspire others just as this beautiful film has done for me.
    Isaac Yunhu Lee Memorial Arts Scholarship
    Every time I revisit this piece I made of my best friend, I’m reminded of how grief made me see art-making from a new perspective. I’m grateful to have explored my feelings through this digital painting because I nearly lost sight of the wonderful years I got to share with my first dog. In August of 2021, I lost Mr. Rimmy in a way I could have never imagined. Even though he was a senior dog, my boy was as spry and giddy as a spring chicken. Never could I ever imagine that something wrong was going on inside his little chest of white fur. Rimmy had developed congestive heart failure and quickly declined. Soon he was barely the dog I used to know. I couldn't afford his treatment, but I had promised myself I wouldn’t let him suffer in his old age. I had to make the painful decision to ask that he be put down. I feel guilty sending him off the way I did. After all, Rimmy wasn’t just a pet, he was my pal I raised from a little puppy. Words could not describe how empty the world felt without Rimmy by my side, but for some reason, I felt I had to force myself to speak about it. I had always fallen back on art to express my deepest emotions, but when I tried to pick up my iPad to draw a tribute to Rimmy, I could barely see through the stinging, wobbly haze of teary eyes. Something that came so instinctively was blocked by the thought of him. I couldn't bring myself to draw for what seemed like weeks. Eventually, I stopped pressuring myself and allowed myself the time to get settled into a life without Rimmy. After several days, I picked up my iPad again and just took my time to draw something that would do my Rimmy justice. I found one of my favorite pictures of him and decided to try to digitally paint him. I saw this as an opportunity to not just try something new but to have a moment with my dog again. I blocked out the general shapes with the colors I saw. I remember Rimmy having very rigid features while having the mushiest face. I began to place some details. I could feel his slightly coarse and shiny fur with every stroke of my pen. I remember how his lashes and whiskers caught the sun when he slept by my brother’s window. Pretty soon the pen and pad had disappeared and I was there with him laying on the slightly shaggy carpet. I could smell him, hear his gentle snores, and feel the warmth of the room. The rest of the painting came a lot easier once I found a little peace in that memory. This bitter-sweet release of my feelings helped me see that though Rimmy was gone, he was still alive within me. If I had tried to draw him sooner, I don’t think I would have had the right mind to allow my feelings to flow from my heart to my hand. This piece wasn’t easy, but I learned to have patience with myself. I learned patience is what I need to grieve. It’s what I needed to recall my time with Rimmy so vividly. I set this piece as my phone screensaver to keep the memory of my best friend alive and to encourage myself to take my time with creativity.
    Femi Chebaís Scholarship
    My dream is to use my artistic talent to bring people together by showing more BIPOC representation in the animation, comics, and video game industries or by encouraging my community to get in touch with their creative sides. I hope to make art that enriches a community by not only bringing people together but also by supporting the less fortunate. I know art is powerful enough to rock a nation, so I am certain it has a chance to shake down our nation's homelessness epidemic and fund life-saving medical research for leukemia and other cancers.
    Ms. Susy’s Disney Character Scholarship
    I remember Halloween was quickly approaching and I wanted to make my costume that year. The best fabrics available to me, a three-year-old, were plastic grocery bags. A small child with these materials seems scary, but what came out of it was my best attempt at a bathing suit. I punched two holes at the bottom of the bag, threaded my legs through them, and pulled the handle pieces over my shoulder. At that moment I truly believed I recreated the iconic swimwear look of my favorite Disney character, Lilo from "Lilo and Stitch". I have always seen myself as Lilo. She was one of the first animated characters I’d seen that looked like me; A little girl with dark hair and brown skin. If I was Lilo, then my mother was Nani, the hard-working young woman in my life who did everything to support me. The only thing I was missing was an alien-looking dog to call my Stitch. Seven years later came my Boston Terrier, Mr. Rimmy. Some would say his short snout and tail, big eyes, and long pointed ears, make him a spitting image of Stitch. To my surprise, the movie even makes that point too. As I matured, I came to realize how Lilo had left a lasting impact on me beyond appearances. I understood how she was outcasted for her unique interests, and thus had a hard time socializing with the larger crowd and making friends. As a kid, I ran into this same problem. I was the eccentric type often called weird by the other girls for liking cartoons, comic book heroes, and video games. No matter how hard I tried to fit into their image of cool, I stuck out like a sore thumb. What I love most about Lilo is how she is unapologetic about being herself. She held her head high and was fine doing her own thing no matter what people said. Eventually, she found people who loved and accepted her, even though some of those people came from lightyears away. She showed me that it’s okay to walk confidently to my own beat if it means being true to myself. That mindset has helped me grow into the woman I am today and I’m happy to report I have found my "Ohana"; my family and unlikely friends who love me for who I am.
    Superfood Lover Scholarship
    Exploring superfoods has taken me a long way on my wellness journey. They have saved me a lot of trouble when it came to my unhealthy and excessive eating habits that spiraled my health out of control. Before I depended on processed and fried foods as they were the easy solution to meal times between my duties as a caregiver at home. I used to dread every meal I ate fearing I would become nauseous from the grease and bread with nothing fresh to cut through the dense and large portion sizes. I can say without a doubt that superfoods saved my diet when I found ways to incorporate them into my meals just as quickly and easily as passing through a drive-thru. I love superfoods for the versatility and balance they bring to a meal. I consider myself a pretty good cook and I enjoy experimenting in the kitchen with superfoods. With each new recipe, I discover the potential of superfoods in excitingly delicious ways that I can add to my arsenal of healthy cooking habits. Some of my favorite foods include strawberries, bananas, mushrooms, sweet potatoes, avocados, and salmon. They are tasty on their own, but especially immaculate when put together. Strawberries have always been one of my favorite fruits, but for a long time, I only saw bananas as underwhelming. However, to eat more vitamin-rich fruits to replace sugary high carb breakfasts like pancakes and biscuits with jam, I found eating a simple fruit salad of strawberries and bananas is enough to squash my hunger and satisfy my sweet tooth. The strawberries and bananas provide a bright and fresh awakening to the morning that processed jellies, syrups, and juices can’t match, all while being anti-inflammatory and packed with antioxidants. Mushrooms are my number one alternative to red meats. Large portobellos make for the perfect steaks to baste in a little butter, garlic, and rosemary. They work wonders for taco night when seasoned like fajitas topped with a little hot salsa. Sweet potatoes have also left a long-lasting impression on me for their versatility. Their ability to fill a sweet and savory role in meals amazes me. I recently found a way to use wide-cut sweet potatoes as a replacement for bread for avocado toast. Including mushrooms and sweet potatoes in a scramble offers a lighter and easier-to-digest meal that fatty bacon, sausages, and starchy white potatoes can’t offer. Avocado and salmon provide good fats for the body. Salmon especially has been a reliable source of protein when I couldn’t stomach poultry or beef. With so many ways to prepare salmon, baking it with a sweet, garlicky glaze and eating it wrapped in lettuce is one of my favorite methods. Avocados do a great job of adding a smooth and creamy texture to my recipes. If I ever have the taste for a hamburger, I don’t hesitate on making salmon burgers to satisfy the craving. Topping the burger with mashed avocado is the best way to add a tasty contrast of texture from the crunchy veggies to go with it. Superfoods have changed my whole outlook on my relationship with food. I now feel more confident in making healthier decisions about what I put into my body. These foods have contributed a lot to my recent eating habits by helping me feel more energized, settling my gut, and helping me lose weight. I hope to learn more interesting ways to use superfoods in my cooking to maintain a colorful and nutritious menu to keep me feeling stronger and happier for days on end.
    MJM3 Fitness Scholarship
    As I gaze at my reflection, I see my body morphing right before my eyes, as if I’m one big undulating mass of flesh. I can say with utmost certainty that I don’t know what I look like. It’s hard for me to look at a mirror or photo of myself and believe I’m looking at the correct body. Sometimes I see a girl curvy in all the right places, and sometimes she’s a bloated and swollen walking corpse. Unfortunately, I am most familiar with the sickening feeling I get when I see some other body with my face on it. Throughout childhood, I maintained a fuller figure and was considered the “big girl”, but it wasn’t until my mother was diagnosed with kidney disease did my weight spiral out of control. Barely being five years old, I couldn’t comprehend why my mother was sick, but seeing her in and out of hospitals was enough to know something was wrong. I quickly turned to food for comfort when her arms couldn’t hold me and let me know everything was going to be okay. Growing up, I was also subjected to the constant commentary on my body from family members. I remember being told to “cover up” from predatory eyes and to “suck it in” when I walk, but the advice did nothing more than lower my self-esteem. Food, on the other hand, had nothing to say. It just took me for who I am. By 2020, I noticed my diet was physically making me ill. After any meal, I would feel nauseated and sluggish, with no other desire than to crawl into bed and sleep. I wanted to maintain a healthier diet, but my time and energy were spent being a caregiver to my family. Meals had to be quick, easy, and to the liking of others, so take-out was often the answer. By January of 2022, I lost four of the family members I spent the past couple of years caring for, and to cope with the pain, I turned to food and reached my heaviest weight of 220 pounds. Finally free from my duties as a caregiver, I’ve decided enough was enough. It was time to work on myself and lose 50 pounds by the end of the year, but first I had to confront my relationship with food. Recognizing my emotional eating, I severed my dependence on red meats and sweets. I became a pescatarian, eating more vegetables and fruits, and started drinking more water. Doing this alone for four months allowed me to drop 20 pounds; the “depression” weight I gained. In addition, I spend an hour a day exercising at least five times a week by walking, weight training, and most recently kickboxing. I learned the hardest part about weight loss is trusting the process. There have been many times I would want to quit if I don’t see results. In those moments, I remind myself that the journey doesn’t have to focus on weight loss, I can simply focus on enjoying the journey. I love feeling the burn of a good workout. I love discovering and eating nutritious meals that make me feel whole again. I get this feeling of satisfaction from these healthier habits that encourages me to keep them up, and when I start to see results, I will be even more enthused to push forward knowing my hard work paid off. It may take me a couple of years of sweat and dedication, but I cannot wait to recognize the happier and healthier version of me smiling back in the mirror.
    @ESPdaniella's Gap Year Scholarship
    Winner
    WCEJ Thornton Foundation Music & Art Scholarship
    Winner
    Drawing has always been my favorite form of expression and communication. Unfortunately, I could show my work to very few people who would understand my displays of creativity. It wasn’t until I had access to the internet, I was first introduced to an artistic community. Together we shared, collaborated, and helped each other grow into stronger creators, but these interactions still felt distant and cold through a screen. When I attended The School of the Art Institute of Chicago, I finally found the warmth of an art community that was living and breathing before my eyes. There I learned a crucial lesson about art that broadened my view on the subject, and to my surprise, I didn’t even have to pick up a paintbrush. I learned art is a way to bring people together. Since the cavemen drew on walls, we have come together to create art that shares our narratives, identities, interests, cultures, etc. Anyone can create art because art is not exclusive, instead, art is infinite. In my artistic career, I want to show people art is for everyone. Every day I practice and build a portfolio needed to be successful in the animation industry and bring better BIPOC representation in film and television. I have seen firsthand the wonder in people’s eyes when they see a character that looks like them on screen. It is a sight to be cherished and more people, especially our youth, deserve that experience to feel more connected to the art and media they enjoy daily. I’m working to grow my platforms enough to reach my community and introduce them to projects that encourage folks to get in touch with their creative sides. In the future, I hope to host events like art classes in my neighborhood that allow people to hone in on their talents or just try something new. While that goal hasn’t been met yet, I’m proud to say I’m using my art to give back to the community. I’m currently preparing to auction prints of my art to raise funds for the Leukemia and Lymphoma Society’s research toward ending blood cancers. I'm excited to see another gracious opportunity like this come again. I have dedicated my work to bring people together through art. Hopefully, my efforts will show others how powerful of a tool art can be for nourishing and enriching a community for generations to come.
    Bold Art Matters Scholarship
    During one of my first visits to The Art Institute of Chicago, I stumbled upon a painting that I didn't think was possible. In the modern art exhibit is a painting called “The Eventuality of Destiny”. Made in 1927 by Giorgio de Chirico, this painting was a call back to traditional art techniques inspired by artworks of ancient Greece, ancient Rome, the Renaissance, and the Neoclassical era. Going back to these older artistic practices and motifs was a way to bring back stability to a world recovering after World War I, but seeing this painting from the perspective of someone living in the 21st century, I saw something new and futuristic about it. I was blown away by the opalescent coloration of the painting. It made me wonder how such an effect could be achieved with oil paints. The colors dance in the light like shimmering metal and bring a vibrant vividness to the three female figures that model Greco-roman statues. This immediately reminded me of the electronic vaporwave aesthetic popularized around the early 2010s. Though the female figures closely resemble marble statues, the way light is conveyed in some areas of the painting, especially where the opal coloration is heaviest, gives them a more flesh-like appearance. The use of cross-hatching gives the painting a depth and sketchy quality that adds another layer to the complexity of the piece. It's like Chirico sculpted a 3D image from paint on canvas and rendered it as a pencil drawing. When I walk by this image, I’m inspired to experiment with my art. Chirico's blending of newer artistic styles with traditional studies encourages me to seek ways to give my own art a lively twist. Since then, I’ve been open to playing with dynamic colors during my figure drawing studies and digital illustrations.
    Hulede Collegiate Golf Scholarship
    I haven’t seriously practiced golf since my senior year of high school, but recently I’ve been invited to practice at a driving range. I didn’t think much of it at first, but just getting an iron in my hand again brought back sweet memories of the unlikely family I’ve made on my old golf team. I chose to play golf my freshman year of high school, having no prior experience with the sport. Wanting to try something new to avoid taking physical education, I figured it wouldn’t hurt to try. On the first day of practice, I made my way to a small hole-in-the-wall architecture classroom lined with computers and a couple of 3D printers. I would have thought I found the wrong place if it weren't for the golf bags that rested on the tops of cabinets close to the ceiling. There might have been just over ten students in the room with four of us being girls. There was an awkwardness in the air as many of us didn’t know each other and stayed relatively reserved in our seats. A man rose from his large desk in the center of the room and introduced himself as Coach Collins. He took roll and I learned the quiet girl next to me was named Jessie. Jessie and I stuck close together for the entirety of our time on the team. We bonded over the two of us being beginners and slowly began to reveal our extroverted sides. Pretty soon we became inseparable. Together we learned many truths about playing golf thanks to Coach Collins. He showed us the importance of practice and how to utilize a number of strategies to be successful on and off the course. As we got a few new girls on our team, he encouraged us to practice as one. Though golf can be considered an individual sport, he stressed the importance of being there for one another, and we girls soon understood why. We were the underdogs compared to the other massive teams in our district. At any given year, Jessie and I made up half of our team, barely meeting the minimum requirement of four players. Other schools had on average 15 girls with way more experience than us. Being on such a small team instilled a great amount of drive between us as we realized our greatest strength is our ability to push and lift each other up. It was us against the world and we formed a sisterhood with Coach Collins being the glue that held us together. We were his other set of daughters in addition to the three he already had. Coach Collins made sure we were happy and healthy and wasn’t shy about giving solid advice on life and relationships through a slew of cheesy dad jokes. Outside of school, the team and I would regularly hang out, attend each other's sweet sixteens and quinceaneras, study, or do volunteer work, laughing our heads off through it all. We watched each other grow into our better selves, taking on life's challenges and excelling in our personal interests. Our golf family ultimately gave us a place to belong and we cherished every moment we shared on the team. After graduation we all seemed to part our separate ways, moving to different cities and states, but the distance never stopped us from regularly checking on each other’s well-being and catching up like the little family we have always been. I miss my team dearly, but it's the memories of our time together that keep my passion for golf alive.
    Bold Books Scholarship
    In my sophomore year of college, I read comedian and television personality Trevor Noah’s autobiography "Born A Crime", and it gave me a new perspective on life. Gaining insight into Noah’s background not only gave me an even greater appreciation for his work but showed me that in life’s darkest moments, laughter can shine through the shadows. Recently I have struggled greatly with the passing of four family members. It was hard to find any good in life as my loved ones were unceremoniously stripped from me, but I have learned from Noah to look at life through a lens of comedy to help me cope. Noah approaches his life with a sense of humor that is admirable. In his book, Noah tells how his very existence was dangerous for him and his family as he was a mixed child living through apartheid in South Africa. He struggled with his identity, low income, and domestic violence, yet he retells these hardships with a lighthearted tone that keeps his book sincere and lively. He also includes a great selection of his silly shenanigans between the darker themes that have me cracking up two years later. With both elements combined, "Born A Crime" is a stellar novel that shows life through a dual lens of comedy and tragedy. If Noah can share his life with a bit of laughter, I figured I could too. The more I share my hardships, the easier it is to weave lighthearted quips in its retelling. Doing so allows me to stay positive and remember the best times I’ve had with my family instead of their absence. Perhaps one day I can share my story with the world just as Noah has to show it is possible to smile brightly after a prolonged season of sadness.
    Bold Wisdom Scholarship
    “Unless you are willing to be a fool, you can’t learn something new.” I heard this quote while scrolling through social media one day and it perfectly puts my sentiment towards learning into words. Some people are obsessed with perfection. They believe everything must be done right the first time or else it's not worth doing at all. I admit at times I am guilty of thinking this way. I often convince myself that I cannot afford failure. When approaching something new, I get caught up in trying to be an expert on the subject immediately to escape the embarrassment of doing or saying something wrong. I lose sight of the fact that learning takes time and part of learning comes from making mistakes. When I spend so much time and energy preparing to be perfect and still manage to make a mistake, I feel like an even greater fool. Failure shouldn’t be something to fear, because sometimes it's your best teacher. It is scientifically proven that people retain and understand information better if they make a mistake in learning it. We may look silly or dumb when we mess up, but once we become comfortable with a brief moment of embarrassment, the way we are perceived shouldn’t matter if we ultimately learned something from our fault. As humans, we are bound to make mistakes, but we have the ability to correct ourselves or find better solutions to our shortcomings. If we can’t figure things out on our own, we come together to share our knowledge and experiences to help each other grow. Although we may look like a fool pursuing knowledge, we are truly sage for acknowledging and embracing our foolishness for the sake of learning.
    Bold Passion Scholarship
    If there’s anything that excites me the most, It’s a good story told with amazing visuals. If that narrative stars a person of color, I would be blown out of the water. Sure, I’ve seen my fair share of animated movies and comics that have black characters like myself in them, but more often than not, they are the supporting cast or used solely to shed light on the "black struggle”. It would be a miracle if they didn’t turn into some non-human creature within 10 minutes of the story and remain as such for its majority. Considering these concerns, I'm left with a handful of representations that don't fall in those categories. I want to see more stories where someone who looks like me can embark on an epic adventure without worrying about the color of their skin. I want to see stories about people of color whose main conflict or identity isn't completely overshadowed by a non-human transformation. I want to see our cultures and heritages woven seamlessly into narratives to showcase that we can positively exist in these media. I’m a cartoonist and storyteller because I want to be the change I’m tired of waiting for. Nowadays, studios are getting better with their POC representation, but there is still some shady resistance. I applaud animated films like Spider-Man: Into The Spider-Verse, Encanto, and Turning Red for showing that it is possible to tell a beautiful story that addresses my thoughts above. It feels amazing to be accurately represented and we can see that excitement and gratitude in others experiencing it, especially our youth. The voices of the people show representation truly matters, and I will do all I can to ensure proper representation stays in the cartooning and animation industry to inspire generations to come.
    Bold Legacy Scholarship
    I can’t think of a moment where I didn’t draw. It has always been my way of self-expression and communication. Unfortunately, I could show my work to very few people who would understand my expressions of creativity. It wasn’t until I had access to the internet, I was first introduced to an artistic community. We shared, collaborated, and helped each other grow into stronger creators. When I attended art school, I found that community was living and breathing in front of me. It was a place I truly felt I belonged and I want to share that world with others. I learned art is a way to bring people together. We can always find ourselves in art, whether it be our identities, interests, cultures, etc. That is why art is not exclusive, instead, art is infinite. Anyone can create art so long as it is a form of expression. In my artistic career, I want to show people art is for everyone. I aim towards better representing BIPOC in animation as I believe everyone deserves to be involved in the media they enjoy. Every day I practice and build a portfolio needed to be successful in the animation industry. I’m working to grow my platform enough to get my online and real-life community involved in projects that encourage them to get in touch with their creative sides. I always wanted my art to be a way to give back to my community, and finally, that moment has come. I’m currently preparing to auction my art to raise money for the Leukemia and Lymphoma Society and I hope to see another opportunity like this in the future. When I leave this earth, hopefully, I have shown others that art is a powerful tool for nourishing and enriching a community.
    Bold Simple Pleasures Scholarship
    Clouds have always captivated me. On a sunny and breezy day, I like to sit outside and watch them. They are large majestic creatures and I enjoy their company. Though massive, they float gently above me in a seemingly endless expanse of blue. Ever shifting and ever-changing, clouds become unique artworks that can’t be replicated twice. I always look up in amazement when the wide-open sky is plentiful with these fluffy white masses, especially when the sky transitions to magnificent pinks, purples, and ambers. It's like witnessing a vibrant and expressive painting made by the hands of God. The longer I gaze at them, the more they seem to come to life. The way they are ever so slowly pushed by the wind makes it seem as though they are breathing. The longer I gaze at them, the closer I feel to their soft bodies. I want to reach out and touch them, be enveloped in a plush hug suspended in the air. I could watch clouds for hours and feel a sense of comfort in them. They remind me that though I am small, I too am a living creature living in a big world. I am unique and over time I shift and change. When life becomes overwhelming and chaotic, clouds remind me I can allow myself to take life slowly and breathe for once. I am refreshed by the sight of a beautiful cloud. Clouds will forever and always be a simple pleasure of mine so long I have a delightful moment to enjoy them.
    Bold Driven Scholarship
    I can’t think of a moment where I didn’t draw. It has always been my way of self-expression and communication. Unfortunately, I could only show my work to very few people who would understand my expressions of creativity. It wasn’t until I had access to the internet, I was first introduced to an artistic community. We shared, collaborated, and helped each other grow into stronger creators. When I attended art school, I found that community was living and breathing in front of me. It was a place I truly felt I belonged and I want to share that world with others. I learned art is a way to bring people together. We can always find ourselves in art, whether it be our identities, interests, cultures, etc. That is why art is not exclusive, instead, art is infinite. Anyone can create art so long as it is a form of expression. In my artistic career, I want to show people art is for everyone. I aim towards better representing BIPOC in animation as I believe everyone deserves to be involved in the media they enjoy. Every day I practice and build a portfolio needed to be successful in the animation industry. I’m working to grow my platform enough to get my online and real-life communities involved in projects that encourage them to get in touch with their creative sides. I always wanted my art to be a way to give back to my community, and finally, that moment has come. I’m currently preparing to auction my art to raise money for the Leukemia and Lymphoma Society and I hope to see another opportunity like this in the future. When I leave this earth, hopefully, I have shown others that art is a powerful tool for nourishing and enriching a community.
    Bold Make Your Mark Scholarship
    I can’t think of a moment where I didn’t draw. It has always been my way of self-expression and communication. Unfortunately, I could only show my work to very few people who would understand my expressions of creativity. It wasn’t until I had access to the internet, I was first introduced to an artistic community. We shared, collaborated, and helped each other grow into stronger creators. When I attended art school, I found that community was living and breathing in front of me. It was a place I truly felt I belonged and I want to share that world with others. I learned art is a way to bring people together. We can always find ourselves in art, whether it be our identities, interests, cultures, etc. That is why art is not exclusive, instead, art is infinite. Anyone can create art so long as it is a form of expression. In my artistic career, I want to show people art is for everyone. I aim towards better representing BIPOC in animation as I believe everyone deserves to be involved in the media they enjoy. Every day I practice and build a portfolio needed to be successful in the animation industry. I’m also working to grow my platform enough to get my online and real-life communities involved in projects that encourage them to get in touch with their creative sides. I always wanted my art to be a way to give back to my community, and finally, that moment has come. I’m currently preparing to auction my art to raise money for the Leukemia and Lymphoma Society and I hope to see another opportunity like this in the future. When I leave this earth, hopefully, I have shown others that art is a powerful tool for nourishing and enriching a community.
    Youssef University’s College Life Scholarship
    Today I learned what a Roth IRA is and I’m pretty excited about it. I never thought that I would be enthusiastic about concepts I regarded as complicated and boring adult talk. I don’t believe many 20-something-year-olds even consider these types of long-term investments, yet here I am learning about the fascinating world of retirement accounts. For my 21st birthday, my father gave me a gift of $1,000 to start a retirement account. He stressed that it is important to start an investment like this to benefit my future. I wholeheartedly agree with his sentiment, because I also believe in the importance of steadily building wealth over time. I sat down with my father and our financial coach to discuss options for what I should do with this generous gift. Our financial coach recommended I start a Roth IRA now while I’m young so my $1,000 could grow nearly 500 times its worth during a 40 year period. If I had another $1,000, I would use it towards my $100 contribution per month and grow my wealth for retirement. Having another $1,000 readily at hand alleviates the concern of having to find ways to maintain my contributions monthly when my first sum of money runs out. This would at least keep my contributions on track for the majority of a year to get me started on my road towards financial freedom.
    Bold Turnaround Story Scholarship
    Some believe life is destined to remain still, but in reality, life moves constantly. These movements are sudden, rapid, and swift, and all you could do is hold on tightly or be left in the dust. Whether these changes are wonderous or grim, they certainly do not wait for anyone. At the end of 2020, life whipped directions like a raging wind and violently swept me off my feet. I was living my best life going to school to follow my passion for art, but Covid-19, the lack of financial aid, and the need to help my family sent me home when I least expected it. The years that followed were devastating as four of my family members I dedicated myself to care for unceremoniously passed away. Life seemed to crumble around me and at times I felt I could never recover from such losses. My great-grandmother was the last to pass. By then my mental and physical health had been shot to pieces, but I knew it was time to make a change. This was the end of my chapter as a caretaker and the start of me pursuing my life again. To start, I apply for scholarships at least twice a week, I’m working on healthier habits, and I got an awesome job to help pay off my debt. I know the journey back to school may be a long one, but I have learned a crucial lesson on patience and commitment over the past two years. Though life showed its vicious nature to me, I’m beginning to see my worth, and the fruits of my labor are coming to fruition. I feel healthier, more mentally sound, and it seems my return to school may come quicker than anticipated through life's unpredictable gifts called opportunities.
    Bold Music Scholarship
    Playing Vanishing Point by Richard Meyer was an eye-opening moment that made me realize how exciting orchestra was going to be in high school. When the sheet music was passed to me in my freshman year, I looked at the pages pleasantly surprised by the complex rhythms and melodies in my part alone. It wasn't anything I couldn't handle, but It was a challenge I was happy to take on. This piece was to be performed by the top two orchestras combined, and when we made our first sort of rocky but good-spirited attempt to play through it together, I couldn't believe my ears. The piece begins with is a high E played with piercing clarity from the violins. It sets the stage for a smooth and graceful melody shared between violins and viola. the sound drops to pianississimo and each instrument's section joins in a series of 16th notes that grows louder and bolder until it suddenly transitions to a playful exchange between sections playing in pizzicato and arco. This piece is full of dynamic contrasts between sections majestic and robust which makes for an exhilarating 7-minute performance. I always imagine this piece being the theme song to an epic adventure featuring heroes traversing lands of danger and wonder. As I played my cello, my mind would often wander, imagining the narrative being told by this amazing piece. I finished high school with this piece being one of my all-time favorites over the four years. I revisit this piece when I need to boost my creativity or need to put myself in an energized mood. I don't think I'll ever get tired of this piece because it always takes me to a place of fresh beginnings and reminds me of my undying passion for orchestral and instrumental music.
    Bold Art Scholarship
    During one of my first visits to The Art Institute of Chicago, I stumbled upon a painting that I didn't think was possible. In the modern art exhibit is a painting called “The Eventuality of Destiny”. Made in 1927 by Giorgio de Chirico, this painting was a call back to traditional art techniques inspired by the art of ancient Greece, ancient Rome, the Renaissance, and the Neoclassical era. Going back to these older artistic practices and motifs was a way to return to stability in a world recovering from World War I, but seeing this painting from the perspective of someone living in the 21st century, I saw something new and futuristic about it. I was blown away by the opalescent coloration of the painting. It made me wonder how such an effect could be achieved with oil paints. The colors danced in the light like shimmering metal and brought a vibrant vividness to the three female figures that model Greco-roman statues. This immediately reminded me of the electronic vaporwave aesthetic popularized around the early 2010s. Though the female figures closely resemble marble statues, the way light is conveyed in some areas of the painting, especially where the opal coloration is heaviest, gives them a more flesh-like appearance. The use of cross-hatching gives the painting a depth and sketchy quality that adds another layer to the complexity of the piece. It's like Chirico sculpted a 3D image from paint on canvas and rendered it as a pencil drawing. When I walk by this image, I’m inspired to experiment with my art. Chirico's blending of newer artistic styles with traditional studies encourages me to seek ways to give my art a lively twist. Since then, I’ve been open to playing with dynamic colors during my figure drawing and digital illustration practices.
    Bold Longevity Scholarship
    The key to living a long and healthy life is of course to live a sustainable and healthy lifestyle. That could mean eating healthy, exercising regularly, and maintaining good mental health. By those standards, I would probably not be considered to be the healthiest person. For the past couple of years, I have struggled to keep up a healthy diet, exercise, or check my mental health. Now I'm starting to put more effort into achieving a healthier lifestyle to benefit my quality of life in the long run. I’m starting small by exercising for at least 15 minutes a day to get my heart pumping. I watch what I eat by cutting out red meat, eating smaller portions, and consuming more vegetables. Sometimes I express my pent-up emotions through art when I don’t feel I can talk about them. Doing so helps better than keeping those negative thoughts inside to fester. I believe the key to living a long and healthy life is to put effort into healthier habits. Results will eventually show, but if an attempt is never made, there will be no progress. These new habits don’t have to be extreme either. Something as simple as drinking more water can help remove waste from the body, regulate blood pressure, and prevent kidney damage, but the only way to receive these benefits is if there is an attempt to consume more water. It’s also important to have patience when trying to be healthier. Some people may not get it right the first time and give up, but they must have that drive to learn from mistakes, get help, and try again. Attaining a longer life is a long-term goal, so it is important to always try your best and be mindful that these results are going to take time.
    Matthews Overcoming Adversity Scholarship
    Since November of 2020, I have been living with my family. Under one roof were my mother, grandparents, great-grandmother, great aunt, our beloved two dogs, and myself. When my grandparents moved out, I had dedicated my time to focus on being the caretaker to my aunt, mother, great-grandmother, and pets. I never regret my decision to stay and help my family, but the months that followed my return were devastating. The first to leave us was my aunt’s dog, Noble. He was a gentle German shepherd that forever stuck to my aunt’s side. Due to his old age, I was responsible for taking care of him when my aunt couldn’t. The good boy lived a very long life, but couldn’t hold on anymore. We had to put him down in November of 2020. My aunt passed after him in December of 2020. She developed throat cancer years before and struggled to recover from it. The loss of her Noble took an even worse toll on her health. We had tried our best to help, but it was too late. My mother received her second kidney transplant in July of 2021. We were overjoyed that she received the surgery, and it seemed as if things were looking up after the loss of our aunt and family dog, however, something went wrong. The kidney given to my mother never functioned in her body, thus resulting in a failed operation. I helped my mother recover fine from the surgery and she’s now in the tedious process of getting back on the transplant list. Stuck in a bout of frustration we were barely ready for the next to fall. My dog and best friend, Mr. Rimmy, had suddenly fallen ill. He was struggling to breathe and coughing constantly and it seemed every day his condition would get worse. After a multitude of emergency vet visits, it got to a point where we couldn’t afford to save him. We feared that even if we could treat him, he would have a very poor quality of life afterward and not live much longer. We had to say goodbye and put him down in August of 2021. My mother and I were left to take care of my great-grandmother in a house nearly empty. Over the course of a year, we watched her health decline. When I first moved in back in 2020, Granny was independent for the most part, but her memory was quickly fading. It was difficult to watch a woman you looked to for her strength and poise forget one moment to the next. She had become completely dependent on me once she lost her strength to do simple tasks. Liver failure ultimately and ruthlessly took Granny on November 6, 2021. Though my emotions and mental health couldn’t catch a break, I had the support of my surviving family and friends to get me through the copious amount of loss. They’ve helped me navigate my grief and shown me a brighter side to life when I struggled to see it. Having a good support system is essential for every chapter of life, and as my chapter as a caretaker comes to an end, I begin a new one continuing my education not only for me, but for my mother, the family I lost, and those who have cheered me on. They have showered me with generosity, prayers, and encouragement when I was at my lowest. No matter if I’m home or away at school, I will happily reach out and show them that love in return regardless of the distance that sets us apart.
    William M. DeSantis Sr. Scholarship
    I empty a package of peaches and cream oatmeal into an old cracked bowl. Granny waits in her usual place at the dinner table and watches me prepare her breakfast. She reminds me she likes a peach cup mixed in her oatmeal and stresses that I don’t forget it. I let her know that I never forgot. I’ve been making her breakfast the same way for the past five months. Her cuts of bacon must have little to no fat and cooked to a near-black crisp so it may be crumbled to bits for her to gum. Her meal absolutely must be served with fresh coffee, creamer, and two Sweet’N’ Low packets, or else she cannot fathom eating it. I check her blood sugar and it's concerning how high it is. I scrunch my nose to the icky-sweet smell of insulin I draw for her. I set Granny’s breakfast before her then turned to make my own. She remarks for the hundredth time that my curvaceous figure reminds her of a relative I have never met. I can’t stand it when she calls attention to my body, especially to compare me to someone I share no resemblance to. I’m tired of hearing it. I’m tired of reminding her to stop. I could feel venom on my tongue as every inch of me wanted to turn around and snap but I remind myself; Granny’s memory is failing her. She has trouble recalling her day, let alone the things she says. She can’t help it and it’s my job to be patient with her. No matter how tedious her breakfast is, how much I hate the smell of insulin, and how many times she says I look like Aunt Connie-May, I must not get upset and lose myself to something outside of my control. As her memory was rapidly declining so was her general health. She was getting weaker, barely able to walk on her own. I could tell she was frustrated with her aching body but didn’t know how to express it. She would take her frustration out on others, and convince herself of the worse. Often she would blame family members for stealing from her when she would misplace her money, or claim items were switched in her room when she couldn’t remember where they came from. Being confined to her bed most days she would complain the springs of her new mattress were stabbing her back. No one could tell her anything different than what she believed. That would either paint her as a “liar” or we’d be disrespectful for talking back. I had to realize that this is just another reason I should remain patient with Granny. There was no sense in fighting these matters if she would forget any point made in less than an hour. Sometimes I just had to nod along and try to satisfy her the best I could to ease her mind and calm the tension. Eventually, Granny’s body gave up on her and she passed. I miss her dearly, but over the past two years I cared for her, she taught me the importance of having patience with my elders. Getting to a certain age requires a certain type of care. Aside from physical aid, it’s important to take your time with them, especially when you don’t know how much time you have left together. I will forever remember to be mindful of my elders' situations and act appropriately even if it’s hard for me to understand. I believe this is what I owe the people who once patiently cared for me.
    Ginny Biada Memorial Scholarship
    I thank God daily for my mother. I know that I'm blessed to have a woman like her in my life because there are people who don’t have a close relationship like we have. We can joke together, speak openly around each other, and cheer each other towards our dreams and ambitions. For all of my life, My mother has been a symbol of strength to me. Life for her has not been easy by any means, but she has powered through every life-threatening obstacle that came her way. So I thank God for not only allowing my mother and me to have a beautiful bond, but I thank him for my mother’s life. When I was born in 2001, doctors were able to detect a genetic disorder that affected my mother’s kidneys. A year after my birth, my mother was diagnosed with kidney disease. She was still a relatively young woman at the time of her diagnosis, still being in her early twenties. Around 2005, she started dialysis. Being a young child, I wasn’t entirely sure what was happening to my mother. All I knew was that something awful was making my mother dangerously ill. I believe I blocked out a lot of the trauma that came with seeing her unwell because I can only recall vague memories of my mother’s hospitalizations. Fortunately, my mother received her first kidney transplant in 2007 and life seemed to return back to normal. I want to emphasize the phrase “first kidney transplant”, because, on New Year’s Eve of 2015, her transplanted kidney failed. Then I was 14 and had a firm grasp of what this meant for our lives. She had to return to dialysis, undergo many exams and doctor’s visits just to be put back on the transplant list, and wait years for any news on an available kidney. My mother had to wake up in the early hours of the morning or rush after work to go to dialysis multiple times a week, leaving me to take care of my little brother and the house. Her treatments cause severe and frequent muscle spasms and fatigue, but unfortunately without treatment, she could suffocate from the fluid that builds up in her body. With her dependence on dialysis, she lost the ability to experience the finer things in life. In June of 2021, my mother received a call from the hospital informing us that there was a kidney available for her. Finally, after six long years, my mother could reclaim her life. We hoped for a successful surgery and speedy recovery, but in a month's time, the doctors informed us of the worst. The kidney they gave my mother seemed off from the start, and though they were confident it would work, they never saw any progress on it fully functioning in my mother’s body. This was a crushing blow for my mother, especially since she had to start the screening process all over again. For my entire life, I have watched my mother struggle with the worst of kidney disease, but it amazes me that she still manages to laugh, sing, dance, and find beauty in life, no matter how depressing it gets. I believe God gives his hardest battles to his strongest soldiers, and he made my mother pretty tough. Watching my mother endure so much shows me true strength comes from faith, patience, and hope for a better tomorrow. She has not given up on attaining freedom in the slightest, and I learned that no matter what obstacles I face, I can power through them with grace.
    Charles R. Ullman & Associates Educational Support Scholarship
    Community is all about coming together. We form communities in our neighborhoods, schools, churches, and even online. Though these scenes are all strikingly different, what they have in common are people who are there for one another. While in high school I have done a lot of volunteer work associated with different clubs and groups I was a part of. During my time in my high school's orchestra, I frequently volunteered to help the 5th-grade strings program of our school district. Other students and I would demonstrate and introduce instruments for the 5th-graders to choose from, as well as get them excited about the joys of learning music. Sometimes I would help during the 5th-grader's concerts either facilitating or playing along with them. My orchestra and I would also tour during the holidays to play Christmas music for elementary schools in our area and give free concerts at our local Chic-Fil-A. When it got warmer, we would host an annual car wash to say thank you to the community that supports us. Around the fall, my golf team and I would lend a hand to the local country club for their fall festival by tending to different activity stations. It was always a treat to show families a fun and wholesome time. While in National Honor's Society, I volunteered at local beautification projects and marathons. For French Club and French Honor Society, I found myself often tutoring students having trouble with the language during homeroom or after school. FHS and I have also volunteered at elementary school-related events such as field days. Being a part of so many organizations definitely created a hectic schedule, but the times I volunteered with these groups made some of my most memorable moments in high school life. My service to my community was well worth it, especially when helping puts a lot of smiles on people's faces. I believe it is important to be a part of a community as they can act as a support system. Due to the Covid-19 pandemic, I haven’t been in a position to do many things hands-on like I used to, but I found a way to give back to my community by being a part of an emotional support system. Especially during trying times, people have a lot of thoughts and anxieties pinned up inside. Fear and frustration can eat away at someone’s mental health and ultimately wear down their body. My friends and I have made a practice of creating a safe space for people to speak freely. Whether online or in-person, we let people who are going through adversity know that we are here to listen and help them work through it. We have reached out to family, friends, classmates, and coworkers, and learned that sometimes they just need to vent to put themselves in a better mental space. I’m not a trained therapist by any means, but I enjoy sitting down and giving my undivided attention to allow someone to express themselves. These same people were there to hear me out too. Within the last year, I have lost my aunt, two family dogs, and great-grandmother. I felt like I couldn't have a break from emotional turmoil, but I had the support of my family, friends, and neighbors to get me through my grief. I feel this practice of empathy strengthens my community by allowing us to communicate better and forming lasting bonds. Listening is honestly the least I could do. I want to leave a greater impact on my community by giving back through my gift of storytelling and art. I especially want to tackle the issue of homelessness that plagues my community. It really upsets me to see men, women, the elderly, and children out on the street with little to no food or medical attention. For a time, I attended school in Chicago. On my way to class, my heart would ache when I had to walk by people sitting on frozen concrete, soaked with snow, and shivering during winter. Some would be sick or injured without a place to recover. I have even seen pregnant women standing outside for hours on end seeking a safe place to stay for themselves and their babies. I didn’t have much to give on my college student budget, but since then, I have become more aware of the major homelessness issue in America and gained a great desire to help remedy this problem. I know art can bring people together. I want my art to contribute towards raising supplies, resources, and monetary donations to those in need while spreading awareness of the issue of homelessness and encouraging the community to creatively express themselves. Hosting an annual art charity event that gets the community, especially our youth, involved sounds like a dream that can well be achieved. Everyone deserves a roof over their head and a place to belong. Hopefully, my work can help make that possible for everyone.
    BJB Scholarship
    Community is all about coming together. We form communities in our neighborhoods, schools, churches, and even online. Though these venues are all strikingly different, what they have in common are people who are there for one another. It's important to be a part of a community as they can act as a support system. Lately, I haven’t been in a position to do many things hands-on, but I found a way to give back to my community by being a part of an emotional support system. Especially during trying times, people have a lot of thoughts and anxieties pinned up inside. Fear and frustration can eat away at someone’s mental health and ultimately wear down their body. My friends and I have made a practice of creating a safe space for people to speak freely. Whether online or in-person, we let people who are going through adversity know that we are here to listen and help them work through it. We have reached out to family, friends, classmates, and sometimes coworkers, and learned that sometimes they just need to vent to put themselves in a better mental space. I’m not a trained therapist by any means, but I enjoy sitting down and giving my undivided attention to allow someone to express themselves. These same people were there to hear me out too. I feel practicing this strengthens my community by allowing us to communicate better and forming lasting bonds. Overall, this does a great service to our mental health. Listening is honestly the least I could do. I want to leave a greater impact on my community by giving back through my gift of storytelling and art. I especially want to tackle the issue of homelessness that plagues my community. It really upsets me to see men, women, the elderly, and children out on the street with little to no food or medical attention. For a time, I attended school in Chicago. On my way to class, my heart would ache when I had to walk by people sitting on frozen concrete, soaked with snow, and shivering during winter. Some would be sick or injured without a place to recover. I have even seen pregnant women outside seeking a safe place to stay for themselves and their babies. I didn’t have much to give on my college student budget, but since then, I have become more aware of the major homelessness issue in America and gained a great desire to help remedy this problem. I know art can bring people together. I want my art to contribute towards raising supplies, resources, and monetary donations to those in need while spreading awareness of the issue of homelessness and encouraging the community to creatively express themselves. Hosting an annual art charity event that gets the community, especially our youth, involved sounds like a dream that can well be achieved. Everyone deserves a roof over their head and a place to belong. Hopefully, my work can help make that possible for everyone.
    Lo Easton's “Wrong Answers Only” Scholarship
    I do not have a favorite food. I love food too much to just pick one glorious dish and dub it the best of them all. However, I will not hesitate to say there are three foods I refuse to eat: Olives, pickled onions, and beets. I detest these foods because they share a common theme; Betrayal. These foods assaulted my innocent taste buds when I expected astonishing flavors. As I have clearly stated before, I do not have a favorite food. Taking into account that the second question is nearly identical to the first, I will entertain the prompt by picking one of my numerous favorites; my mother's meatloaf. Her recipe made with a side of cabbage and mashed potatoes is a meal worth living for. It’s rich, comforting, and perfect on a chilly day. I am utterly appalled by whoever organized these essay questions. To ask “What is your favorite food?” three times in a row is not only redundant and unprofessional but an insult to the intellect of the applicants for this scholarship. We, applicants, are in need of financial assistance for our education, and this matter should not be taken lightly. I strongly recommend including questions relating to our needs and goals.
    Larry Darnell Green Scholarship
    I remember how hard it was to explain to my father that I cannot stay with him over the weekend without sounding like an excuse for me not wanting to spend time together. With my mother having full custody over me, the weekends and holidays were typically the time my father and I would see each other. When I was younger, the wonderful time we shared would be more frequent, but as my education and extracurricular activities became more advanced, my time with my father started to dwindle. My free time was undoubtedly consumed by schoolwork. I would get a text from him asking when I would come to visit, but I would regretfully inform him that due to major projects, late work, and competitions, I would have to stay home to focus on what needed to be done. It got to a point where I was so occupied by my workload, I would forget to call my father for holidays or even send a card. Though it was never my intention to ignore him, I could tell this was hurting him emotionally. He thought since I was getting older and more independent, I would completely disregard him. That couldn’t be farther from the truth. Long-winded conversations after another, I tried to let my father know that I do actually care. I told him I treasure every moment I have with him and that I wouldn’t trade him for the world, but sometimes my focus is better held at my mother’s house. We eventually came to an understanding in my later years of high school. I had learned to be more mindful of my father and since his job allowed him to travel to my side of town every once in a while, we would go out for dinners and spend quality time together before returning home. I can tell after graduation my father and I have become closer. With no worries about overbearing demands from my education, we have been able to spend vacations together, learn to communicate openly, and understand each other more like the good old days. Looking back, I know I tried my best to juggle my school life with my father, but I could’ve done better. Through this experience, I learned that I can’t dwell on my mistakes of the past, and I can only move forward to a better tomorrow. I’ve had a lot of thoughts about what my future could look like. One of my major goals is to give back more to my community, especially to the homeless. It truly upsets me to see men, women, the elderly, and children out on the street with little to no food or medical attention. During the time I lived in Chicago for college, I walked past people sitting on frozen concrete, soaked with snow, and shivering during winter. Some would be sick or injured without a place to recover. Since then, I have become more aware of the major homelessness issue in America and I want to help remedy this problem. I know art can bring a community together. In my future as an artist, I want my art to contribute towards raising supplies, resources, and monetary donations to people in need while spreading awareness of the issue of homelessness and encouraging the community to creatively express themselves. Hosting art charity events that gets the community involved sounds like a dream that can well be achieved. Everyone deserves a roof over their head and a place to belong. Hopefully, my work can help make that possible for everyone.
    Devin Chase Vancil Art and Music Scholarship
    I can’t fathom what my life would be like without art. I’ve been an artist for as long as I could hold a crayon. My passion for art came from my love of storytelling, especially in the form of animation, comics, and video games. As a result, my art is mostly inspired by these forms of media and some newer interests like visual memoirs, collage, and tabletop role-playing games. I’m going to school for illustration and animation to hopefully work on projects to inspire the next generation of kids and bring more accurate POC representation to the comics and animation industry. Though these interests have been a major part of my life and development, my family was a little curious as to why I would make a career out of art. I often find myself explaining to my family that art lives all around us and we sometimes take art for granted. We could always appreciate the masterful strokes of a beautiful painting and remark at the stunning visuals that go into an award-winning film, however, have we thought of what allows us to go to a store and grab what we need without giving a second glance at the actual name of the product. Do we need to read the products’ names when we can recognize them simply by the colors and shapes on its label? Ever thought of where the fonts we type come from? I can assure you these symbols were once handcrafted, and they just aren’t generated from a computer alone. Things like the clothes we wear, the cars we drive, the annoying ads we skip, and the furniture we place in our homes are all works of art in their own right. Artists like myself had to visualize, sketch, decide, shape, colors, and scale, then create the things we experience daily. If art can be as simple as the tiled floors we stand on, what would a world without art look like? A world without art seems impossible. Above art being made with the intention of being aesthetically pleasing, art is made for expression, communication, and innovation. Artistic expression lives on a wide spectrum that contributes to the media and entertainment we wrap ourselves in. Having no art means no social media, television and film, literature, music, etc. Art aids in sharing information in ways like graphic design. We use it to sell goods and services, illustrate data, and explain concepts. Without art, we lack a way to communicate certain information to the masses through visuals. We can tell the world who we are through art. It shares our thoughts, feelings, identities, culture, and history. The way our ancestors used art confirms it has been ingrained into humanity since before the first civilizations. We learn the past from art and art can form our society’s future. I believe art and technology have become intertwined. As technology advances, artists are finding innovative ways to incorporate it into their practices, and sometimes artistic practices make way for new technology. For example, we have digital art-making programs inspired by traditional mediums and techniques. Also, the use of artificial intelligence has made its mark on the art world already, and we are yet to know what will come next. Art is so limitless that every piece made pushes the boundaries of its very definition. Art is ever-changing, has many forms and functions, and has a major impact on how we express and document our lives. It has a rightful place in society and shall remain so long as there are people who have imaginations and can create.
    Ron Johnston Student Athlete Scholarship
    I had never played golf before, but I was oddly drawn to it my freshman year of high school. I only knew it didn’t seem as physical as the other sports, my aunt was once a pro and taught golf, and golf is a good sport to know for business. It didn’t seem like a bad idea to try it. After all, if I didn’t like it, I could drop the class and try something else, but little did I know I would be introduced to a man I would have no hesitation in calling the best coach ever. I found the golf team in a tiny architecture classroom during 7th period. Our team was also tiny. The four of us girls met the bare minimum of what’s required to be a team, and the boy's team was only slightly larger by two or three more guys. Our coach, Ryan Collins, was the teacher of the architecture class, but I knew instantly that he also had a burning passion for golf. Among the other students in the class, I could see some of them weren’t as invested, but this was the first time in a while I’ve encountered a teacher that actually cared about the subjects they taught. That was enough to convince me to stay awhile. Since day one, Coach Collins did everything in his power to teach me and the other girls the rules of golf, how to practice, and several strategies to be successful on and off the course. Often he would send us clips of tournaments for us to study. He would pull us aside and work with us individually with his utmost undivided attention. He always reminded us to give it our all no matter how many strokes we seem to go over par, and at any point, we could change our odds so long as we don’t give up. It wasn’t long before the other newbies and I were winning a few medals. Sure earning medals were great, but it wouldn’t happen often. We were truly a team of underdogs compared to the other massive teams in our district. Over the four years I’ve had Coach Collins as my coach, I honestly have to say winning wasn’t what made golf the awesome sport I know it to be. It was the unlikely family I made on the team. Coach Collins took care of us. He and his wife had three little girls of their own, but the girls and I on the team were like their other set of daughters. Coach Collins was there to check on us when we were down, he gave solid advice on life and relationships through a deluge of cheesy jokes, attended our sweet sixteens and quinceaneras, made sure we were fed and in good health, and above all made us feel like we had a place where we belonged. He taught us to take pride in the hard work we’ve accomplished to build this team; this little golf family tucked away in an architecture classroom. Outside of golf, he paid attention to our interests and passions and cheered us on to our goals. I’ll never forget the ecstatic look on his face when I told him I got into my dream college. Every sports team deserves a coach like Coach Collins; someone who genuinely cares about their sport and their athletes. I’m glad I learned to golf with him.
    Bold Friendship Matters Scholarship
    I've spent my past year at home while the rest of my friends continued their studies in college. I was bummed about it at first, but I realized I had gained responsibilities around the house that was taking care of my family, especially my elders. I was happy to help. I was even home with my dog who I missed very much while I was away at school. Things weren't so bad until I lost the family I spent most of my time taking care of throughout the year. My aunt, great-grandmother, and dog all passed away in quick succession and without much warning. With my spirits down, my friends were there to comfort me the best they could from miles away. I appreciated their efforts, but just looking up from a screen of "I love you" and "Best wishes" texts, I'm just in my room alone... Until a box arrived at my door. I wasn't expecting a package at the time, but I remember back to when one of my friends asked for my address. Low and behold, the package was from her, and inside were little surprises from her and other friends from school: A handmade plush doll, beautiful dice, artsy postcards, and tasty cookies. My heart melted. I immediately flooded our group chat with a flurry of "thank you" text messages and heart emojis. They didn’t have to send me anything, but they knew I was struggling emotionally and wanted to treat me to something nice. Even though I’ve only known my friends for a few years, they showed me they will do anything they can to make sure I am taken care of, and I will do the same for them. That’s what friendship is all about; showing love and support no matter the distance.
    Bold Self-Care Scholarship
    When I think of self-care I think of people dropping all of their responsibilities to pamper themselves with fancy bubble baths, participate in calming meditation, or treat themselves to their favorite foods. When I tried to think of ways I practice self-care, I found it difficult. It seems as if during the past year I have always been on my toes. After losing family members, struggling with negative intrusive thoughts, and scrambling for ways to pay for school, I can't remember the last time I practiced self-care. On my first attempt at writing this essay, I had to stop to reflect. It took me a couple of days, but I finally came to an answer when I was cleaning my house. I made my bed, vacuumed my rug, took out the trash, folded laundry, and just tidied up in general. When I looked back at the work I had done, I finally felt like I could breathe again. I’m not saying doing housework is my way of practicing self-care. I can assure you it's far from it. My way of self-care is completing a task. It sounds ironic, but setting a small goal and finishing it makes me feel satisfied. Usually, these goals are set with my future self in mind. I ask what I can do to make my future self thank me. I’ve set goals like maintaining a simple skin-care routine, eating smaller, nutritional meals, and picking up around the house so I don’t have to be bothered with irritated skin, a sick gut, and navigating a messy living space later. Life is unexpected, so when I’m suddenly faced with a major predicament, I don’t want to sweat the little stuff. A small goal today means a less hectic tomorrow, and overall a more grounded and happier me.
    Bold Growth Mindset Scholarship
    Failure is often avoided but never desired. For a huge part of my life, I have always been afraid to fall behind my peers because so many people saw me as successful. In middle school, I learned a valuable lesson about what it means to fail and my mind has been opened to a wider world of possibilities. My friend, Carissa, and I have played cello in our school district's orchestra program since fifth grade. For a time, our skills were matched and we would be seated at the top of our section together for a while, but by seventh grade, I saw her skills were improving exponentially and she was playing above and beyond average. I did everything I could to keep up, to show the world that I am still just as talented as she is, but it didn’t come easy. More chairs seemed to distance us. I sat defeated in the back of the orchestra. It seemed no matter how hard I tried, I couldn’t compare, but a thought crossed my mind. I don’t have to be good at everything, especially if it's to validate my self-worth. Playing cello was Carissa’s gift, not mine. Outside of music, I was an artist. Drawing came to me like second nature, so why not embrace it? With that in mind, I have worked harder at my true passion, and like Carissa and her cello, my art and I blossomed. It took a moment of failure to be in a moment of clarity. I could see for the first time that failing is something to embrace because you can learn from it. From that day on, I get excited if I fail. If it means looking back to see how to move forward, I will take a loss anytime.
    Bold Patience Matters Scholarship
    I’m emptying a package of peaches and cream oatmeal into an old cracked bowl. Granny waits in her usual place at the dinner table and watches me prepare her breakfast. She reminds me she likes a cup of peaches mixed in her oatmeal and stresses that I don’t forget it. I let her know that I never forgot. I’ve been making her breakfast the same way for the past five months. Her cuts of bacon must have little to no fat and cooked to a near-black crisp so it may be crumbled to bits for her to gum. Her meal must be served with fresh coffee with creamer and two Sweet’N’ Low packets. I check her blood sugar and it's concerning how high it is. I scrunch my nose to the sweet smell of insulin I draw for her. I set Granny’s breakfast before her and turn to make my own. A grin crosses her face and she remarks for the hundredth time that my curvaceous figure reminds her of a relative I have never met. I can’t stand it when she calls attention to my body, especially to compare me to someone I share no resemblance to. I’m tired of hearing it. I’m tired of reminding her to stop. I could feel venom on my tongue as every inch of me wanted to turn around and snap but I remind myself. Granny’s memory is failing her. She has trouble recalling her day, let alone the things she says. There is no reason to be upset. She can’t help it. It's my job to be patient with her. No matter how tedious her breakfast is, how much I hate the smell of insulin, and how many times she says I look like Aunt Connie-May, I must be patient for her.
    Hobbies Matter
    Imagine this. You’ve just finished your last class of the day and just returned to your dorm to finally take a breath from the gruesome work week you had to endure. You drop your backpack by the door, drag your feet to your bed and plop down to rest your aching shoulders tense from your workload. As you ruminate on the assignments waiting for you next week, You hear a ding from your phone. It’s text messages from your friends. “Are we still on for 4:30?” “We’re meeting at your place, right?” “Do we need to bring extra chairs?” Suddenly, you remember today is finally game day. You and your friends are meeting once again to play Dungeons and Dragons, and life jolts back into your veins. You quickly dress your table with snacks and battle maps. Then, knock after knock, your friends arrive for a magical night of throwing dice, silly roleplay, and epic moments full of laughter and fun. Dungeons and Dragons is a fantasy tabletop roleplay game that has become my new favorite hobby. As an immersive experience into a world of imagination, It has served as a way to escape from the troubles life throws at me. The game combines collaborative storytelling, action-packed combat, and engaging problem-solving that keeps my friends and me hooked for hours. I especially love how versatile the game is. There are many official campaigns to play, but for writers, like myself, you can use the game’s mechanics and build your own world and story to play. Before the pandemic, my friends and I used to gather in my dorm to play the game when we all attended college on campus. Unfortunately, we all were separated due to our individual circumstances. However, our evenings spent together didn’t have to stop. The beautiful part about Dungeons and Dragons is that it doesn’t have to be played in person. We can keep our relationship strong by playing online. In fact, playing online allowed me to access the much larger tabletop roleplay game community and make new friends during the isolation the pandemic brought. Above all, playing this game has served as my inspiration in my artistic practices. I am a cartoonist and writer that enjoys drawing from imagination. I take a lot of inspiration from animation, comics, and video games, so the creative, fantastical nature of Dungeons and Dragons fits right into my interests. I often draw or write short stories based on what goes on in games in between my major projects. After playing for so long, I’ve noticed my art has improved. My designs are stronger and my writing has become more in-depth all thanks to the amount of world-building I do in preparation to play. Who knew work and play could coexist so well. This new hobby I’ve acquired has a permanent place in my heart for its endless possibilities. I hope it continues to be a way to build lasting bonds and improve my skills as a creator.
    Theresa Lord Future Leader Scholarship
    I am half Haitian through my father’s side of the family, and I have learned to be proud of our history and culture. Haiti won its independence from France on the first of January 1804, becoming the world’s first black republic after all. I find that part of me to be a reminder that I can overcome any hardship that approaches me. A few years ago, however, I found that my culture, an inspiration for my determination, has been a great hurdle in my decision towards choosing my higher educational path. As much as I love my family, I found that my two cultural halves often came into conflict as far as what was expected of me. I consider myself a cartoonist and aspiring animator. I have been drawing for as long as I could remember and have won numerous awards for my work. On my mother’s side, which is African-American, I have always been told that I can be whatever I put my mind to and I should hone my talents as an artist. They believed if I continue to work hard and improve my skills, I could reach the stars. As I approached the end of my senior year of high school, I started to gain a liking to the idea of going to school for art, however, there was always doubt about my success in doing so because of what I would hear from my father’s side of the family. Many children coming from Caribbean families know their career paths are limited according to their families. You must choose from the “Holy Trinity” of jobs: becoming a doctor, lawyer, or engineer. I was considered the “smart” child, so these choices seemed like the perfect fit for me, but I had a lot of resistance to these options. I’m not the best at math, so engineering was out for me. I also dread the idea of being responsible for someone’s life in a medical or legal situation, so I quickly shot down being a doctor or lawyer. Overall, I was overwhelmed by the idea that if I were to pick something outside of these options, I would disappoint my family, especially my grandmother, the mainline to my Haitian culture. I already felt as if I could never meet her expectations, now that she heard I wanted to go to art school, she believed I was making a huge mistake. During any interaction we had, she made it her chance to attempt to change my mind through a long-winded lecture on how I won’t make money to survive on an artistic career and my efforts will all be for nothing. I already had to put in a lot of effort to convince my father of the career I could make as an artist, but with my grandmother, she still had not understood that my talent can be more than just a hobby. Graduation was quickly approaching, and I had to make a choice. I could either go to school for something I genuinely have a burning passion for or try something I have never found a spark of interest in, but could ensure a decent living. Eventually, I realized that I’d be more fulfilled working towards a job I love than subjecting myself to work that would compromise my happiness. Now more than ever I understand that sometimes I can’t please everyone, especially on matters that directly affect me more than who I try to please. In the end, attending the School of the Art Institute of Chicago has been one of the greatest decisions I’ve ever made.
    Isaac Yunhu Lee Memorial Arts Scholarship
    Winner
    I've included in this submission a drawing of the character I used to play in a game of Dungeons and Dragons. I don't remember how long it took for me to finish it, and it is certainly not my most extravagant piece ever. All I know is the process behind it brought the most joy I've experienced in a while, and it's a piece I'm proud of. Firstly, I was inspired by the fun I've had being surrounded by my new college friends as we embarked on an epic quest of fantasy and adventure. Every Friday we would meet in my little dorm and sit crammed at my work table, throw dice, and laugh the night away. Having just moved to a new city far from home, I was struck with loneliness and feared making friends wouldn't be easy. Fortunately, I finally found a group of people with the same nerdy interests as me, and we seemed to click immediately. Our imaginative minds with our knack for acting (good or bad) and the bond we've established truly made the night magical. The life we gave our characters could not be ignored, and I would sketch them out regularly, especially my own since I knew her the best. I gave her the name Runeah. I am a cartoonist, and I go to school for comics and animation, so I spend a lot of time on character design for my studies. On a day I wasn't swamped with school work, I remember feeling the urge to redesign Runeah. I've been drawing her a certain way for a while until I've realized maybe it's time for a revamp. I was just shooting for a quick sketch to get some ideas I had about her design on my Ipad, but as I've sketched, I've noticed a change in my art. Months of figure drawing class has brought a significant improvement in how I draw anatomy. She looked stronger with much better proportions. I was shocked to see what my hand had created subconsciously. This was invigorating, and I wanted to see how much farther I could push this sketch. I decided to line and color the doodle, and it turned out better than I expected. However, when I saw Runeah in her completion, the blank canvas behind her was concerning. I couldn't just leave her there. I created her to be a fearsome ranger who knew the enchanted forests like the back of her hand. I had to put her in her element... only I've never been good at drawing environments. With a deep breath, I remember an important lesson from my core studies class: Never be afraid to try something new. You may be surprised by the results and above all, it's a learning experience. I know I'm not the best at drawing forest environments, but for the sake of the momentum I had going on, I was more than happy to try. So I've searched for references, found tutorials, tried brushed I've never touched before, drew, erased, and drew some more until I have constructed a decent-looking woodland scene to place Runeah in. The piece was done. I sat back in amazement. This didn't look like anything I've drawn before. For the first time in a while, I have seen my growth as an artist. With the great times I've had with my friends and the art-making process that inspired itself, a revolutionary piece was made that marked a new era of art-making for me. I'm excited to see how my art continues to grow, keeping fun and learning in mind.
    Terry Crews "Creative Courage" Scholarship
    Growing up I have always loved to draw. Next to food, water, and shelter, having the means to draw is absolutely important to me. This is my way of letting my wildest “What If” moments become reality. Especially when I have my nose deep into cartoons, video games, comics, and novels, my creative imagination is constantly working as if my life depended on it. If there’s anything that excites me the most, It’s a good story told with amazing visuals. If that story has a main character that looks like me, I would be blown out of the water. Sure, I’ve seen my animated movies and comics that had black characters in them, but more often than not, they were the supporting cast or used solely to shed light on their racial/cultural struggle. It would be a miracle if they didn’t turn into some non-human creature within 10 minutes of the narrative. With that in mind, I am left with a handful of representations that don't fall in those categories. When can I see a person of color embark on an epic adventure of fantasy and wonder without worrying about the color of their skin? When can my culture be shared in a positive light without any attachment to crude stereotypes? I’ll have you know I’m tired of waiting for that day. I’m a cartoonist and animator because I want to see the change. Nowadays, studios are getting better with their POC representation, but there is still some resistance. I want to work on producing the next "Spider-Man: Into The Spider-Verse", and stop the next Pixar's "Soul" from hiding dark skin behind a blue blob. If it means giving children of the future a fair shot of seeing themselves in the media they enjoy, it is well worth it.
    Anne DiSerafino Memorial Arts Scholarship
    To most people art is a way to tell your story and inspire others. I pursue art because I know it can help brighten someone’s day. I want to share stories that take people to distant lands of adventure and thrills through narrative pieces. I want to encourage and inspire people to be in touch with their creative side and explore the endless possibilities that come from imagination. However, on a more personal level, art has always been a means of escape and healing for me when my world seems to crumble around me. In November of 2020, I didn’t think I would be in the position I’m in now. I came home to Texas from the School of the Art Institute of Chicago, because my financial aid couldn’t support the first semester of my sophomore year due to the pandemic. I had no choice but to take a leave of absence until I figured out my financial situation. I was a bit blue about leaving school and my new friends, but being home wasn’t all bad either. I reunited with my best friend, Mr. Rimmy, a spunky little Boston Terrier who stuck by my side since 5th grade. While at home I could lend an extra hand in taking care of my aunt recovering from cancer and also look after my great-grandmother. Around July my mother had a kidney transplant, and I was happy to help her recover from this long-awaited surgery. I realized I had taken up a lot of responsibility and I spent my days as a caretaker, but at least I was still able to practice drawing, cartooning, and animation in my spare time. Within the year I’ve spent taking care of my family mentioned above, my dog, aunt, and great-grandmother passed away by rather tragic means, and my mother’s kidney transplant turned out to be not successful. Each of these events sent me plummeting into a heartbroken pit of despair. Anxiety and frustration made it difficult to grieve because there was nothing in my power I could do about these losses. To help navigate these complex thoughts and emotions, I’ve always turned to art-making. I could freely express my emotions or draw something fun that brings a smile to my face. And If I do not feel like expressing myself through art, I find myself viewing other people’s creations takes my mind off of what troubles me long enough to gather myself. I would watch some of my favorite animated films, go to an art museum, or watch some of my favorite artists work on their content. No matter how I grieve, art somehow makes its way into the process. If I were to be the recipient of this scholarship, it would help contribute to my journey towards getting back to school. There I can continue to grow on my skills through well-guided learning. In my short time attending SAIC, I have learned the importance of disciplined practice and exploration in art-making which I had not fully acknowledged prior. Being in that learning environment, I have seen exponential growth in my art and I am excited to bring my skills to the industry as a cartoonist and animator to work on projects to inspire the masses. Above all, I’m going back to school for those who I've lost and my mother who has supported me since day one. I owe them everything for their love and support and what better way to honor them than by doing what I know best.