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2014 First Runner Up - Essay

Dylan Spurrier

Scholarship Amount: $7,500

Hometown: Fort Worth, TX - School: University of Texas at Arlington

Tears from the other room. No matter how hard I push my feet to the ground, I can’t get there fast enough. Who would have known the lost expression and feeling of hopelessness I witnessed on my mother’s face that night would define the next six years of my life.

My father died just five days before the one-year anniversary of my brother’s murder. I don’t think any words will be able to encapsulate the loneliness I felt that day, but that was the day I grew up very quickly. I was thirteen, had lost all hope in the world and began to question my faith. My mother was so severely devastated, I always thought that I had lost two parents that day¬ simply because she was never the same person. However, our responsibilities did not cease, and so I had to try my best to I felt a duty to my mother, and my family that none of my friends were experiencing, and it drove me into isolation.

Despite working around the house and helping in whatever way I could, I began cleaning tables when I turned sixteen so that I could make financial contributions to our household. Unfortunately, my father did not have life insurance, which entirely changed the trajectory of our lives. My mother lost her drive to work, my brother fell into alcoholism, and I knew that I needed to produce some income for our family to meet our financial responsibilities. I helped with bills, bought my first car, continue to pay all of my own bills, and have paid for school up to this point. However, it’s not easy being sixteen and walking in to your older brother going through your wallet looking for money.

When I turned nineteen, I knew things needed to change. I was determined to make my mark on the world, I was finished being the victim struggling to keep my head above water, and ready to create a successful life for myself college was my chance, my chance to live. At that moment I could only think of one quote by Shakespeare that will always give me hope

“There is a tide in the affairs of men, which, taken at the flood, leads on to fortune;
Omitted, all the voyage of their life is bound in shallows and in miseries.
On such a full sea are we now afloat,
And we must take the current when it serves,
Or lose our ventures.”

So, I enrolled in school, but I knew I still needed to earn money to support my family, and myself and so I began selling life insurance I needed to make a difference in people’s lives, one that I did not have.

Despite the vicissitudes, I have had the opportunity to create an incredible foundation for my life. I have a drive that pushes me to find what contributions I can make to the lives around me. I have the sound of tears from the other room.

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2014 Top Recipients