Olivia R.


2023 Scholarship Recipient


Scholarship Amount: $10,000
School: University of Windsor
Program: Law

On June 25th, 2020, my world was completely shattered in seconds. “It’s okay, you can let go,” were the last words I heard my mother say while I lay on my father's chest, holding him as tight as I could, hearing him take his last breath; my father passed away from cancer. Since it was during a pandemic, I wasn’t allowed to see him in the hospital where he spent most of his time, or have a funeral for him, which made the process worse. While other nineteen-year-olds were celebrating summer, I was preparing for the unimaginable, a life without my best friend.

After my father's passing, I went from a girl who couldn't stop smiling to a girl who couldn’t stop crying. The thought of holidays made me sick. I went from blowing out birthday candles and wishing for a new car every year, to wishing I had one last hug from my father. From this, I went into a depressive state which spawned massive anxiety attacks and post-traumatic stress disorder episodes, with one being so bad it left me paralyzed for a day. Discovering a state so low I didn't know existed, made my future of being a lawyer seem unachievable.

With my father passing away with no life insurance, it forced my mother to work hours of overtime to pay recurring bill payments and support me while I finish my undergraduate schooling. Seeing my mother being forced to put her grieving on hold while working, made me mature from a young girl who used to spend her free time with her friends, to a girl who now spends her free time working to help pay for bills. If my father had life insurance, my mom could have spent less time working and I could have pursued my dreams earlier.

This shift in mindset turned me into a stronger and more independent person who began seeing the light at the end of the tunnel. I remembered how much my father had impacted my family financially and emotionally, and I wanted to be just like him and support my mom through this journey. I became steadfast in completing my undergraduate education and pursuing my dream of becoming a lawyer. The year my father passed away I finished with Dean's List and just recently graduated with distinction. I applied and got accepted to law school, despite my financial status, and begin this September with a $160,000 loan to fund my education. To receive this scholarship would be life-changing, to say the least. It would allow me to work fewer hours and focus on my education and allow my mother to save money for things other than my education.

My father and I had sleepless nights talking about how amazing it would be for me to pursue my dreams and become a lawyer. He always told me, “You can do anything you put your mind to”, and here I am as living proof, I did just that. I did it, dad.

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