Back to Life Lessons

2014 Second Runner Up - Essay

John Chick

Scholarship Amount: $5,000

Hometown: Blanco, TX - School: Texas A&M University

I was four years old when my dad was diagnosed with terminal lung cancer in April of 2000. My dad died two months later on July 10th, 2000. My life would be forever changed.

I only remember bits and pieces of my dad, not as much as I would like, but there are pictures of him in our house and in family albums, and my mom’s heartfelt stories, which help with my memories. My mom never remarried, and I am an only child, so it has been just the two of us for the last thirteen years. She never let me feel sorry for myself, but instead, we celebrated my dad’s life. Watching my mom work so hard to give us a good life has taught me that no matter what life throws at you, you can overcome and soar.

My dad did not have life insurance, and life after my dad’s death was a major financial struggle for my mom and me. My mom worked all the time just to pay the bills and hold on to the house that my dad built for us. Life was tough, and there was the constant threat of losing the house. From an early age I learned to do without, and this soon became the norm. I worked hard in school and around the house to help alleviate some of the tremendous stress and burden on my mom. Even when I was very young, I could see how stressful and difficult life was for my mom, and I didn’t want her to have to worry about me too. Life insurance certainly would have helped us get back on our feet after my dad’s death. It could have helped pay for my mom to go back to school and helped with the mounting bills. It would have eased the stress that comes with worrying about how to pay for groceries and bills. Life insurance would have been a godsend. I’ve learned that unexpected, and sometimes life altering, things happen in life, and life insurance can equal security and peace of mind. It’s a necessity!

My mom hated working such long hours because that meant that I would be raised in daycare and eventually become a latchkey kid. She couldn’t stand the thought of that! She soon made the painful decision to spend our life savings to go back to school and get a teaching degree and has been teaching every since. However, teacher pay is low and hasn’t kept up with the cost of living, so we still live pay-check to pay-check, often having to go without. If my dad had purchased life insurance, things would have been very different for my mom and me. Because there was no life insurance, we could never get caught up financially. For all these years, after paying the bills every month, there was nothing left over to save for college, or anything else for that matter. Now college is staring me straight in the face, but there is no money for it.

My mother taught me the value of an education through example, and I have worked hard to overcome tough times and excel in school. I have been accepted to one of the best Engineering schools in the country, Texas A&M. I hope that you will consider me for this scholarship, and if I am chosen, I will continue to work hard to be successful in life. Thank you for allowing me to share my story.

You can help students like John make their dream of a college education come true by donating to the nonprofit Life Lessons Scholarship fund. Donate here.

2014 Top Recipients