Beyond The Boroughs :: National Scholarship Fund

Beyond the Boroughs 2011 Scholar Excerpts

Peace and Love El Henson

I was surprised to see my father walk into my room. “Daddy, where are you going?” I said from my bed. In a flash he was at my windowsill, swiftly lifting the window wide open. “I’m too weak, Peace,” he said. Oddly, instead of willingly jumping out, he started to slip out the window saying, “I can’t live no longer, I love you baby.” Crying hysterically, I tried to grab him, screaming like I was being stabbed in my heart, “No daddy, please don’t go!”

I realized my dream symbolized my father’s fate; he was just “too weak” to live any longer. Three weeks later, after living with cancer for more than a year, my father died.

The stress that built up from thinking about whether or not my mother could cope with the burden of her husband’s death impacted my emotional well-being. While at school, I attempted to balance my personal life with my academics. This balance was often challenging as I was faced with guilt when I focused too much on either my father’s illness or my academics. It wasn’t always easy to forget my father’s struggle in order to focus on any upcoming exam, but miraculously I managed to get through.

The loss of my father has shaped my life. While my father was alive, he stressed the importance of education, specifically a college degree. Although I appreciated my dad’s wisdom at the time, I didn’t truly understand or apply his advice until after his passing. My father’s death forced me to mature quickly, and with this level of maturity I began to take a more active role in my education.”

David Osayande

In the summer of 1998, just after I turned seven, my mother and I became homeless. We were living with a family friend who’d abruptly decided to move to another state; my mother was unable to keep up with the rent and we were eventually evicted. We shifted throughout different friends’ houses and I cycled through numerous schools. It was incredibly difficult for me to make friends, much less care at all about school, but my mother reminded me of the importance of my education and encouraged me to persist. Regardless of what school I was in, I was to be at the top of the class – and I was; despite the unfortunate circumstances, my mother’s confidence instilled in me the importance of education and allowed me to excel in my studies.

Beyond The Boroughs :: National Scholarship Fund