What’s it take to keep the dream alive? I know I’ll need a good foundation. But beyond that, to see my dreams through, I’ll need help from my family and help from others I may never know. Between my school and family, I’ve got a good start.
I’m 17 years old and a senior at Elyria Catholic High School, where I’ve been involved with multiple activities, including serving as a student president, an ambassador for two years showing eighth-graders what EC is like, speech competitions and a Shakespeare competition. I’m also involved in football and soccer.
Since my freshman year, my teachers have been there as I’ve matured. They’ve helped me to actually love learning. It’s helped me succeed and open up my passions about other things the teachers have seen in me. I’m more cared about than I ever thought possible; they truly want us to succeed.
I come from a big family: two working parents and six kids — two with special needs. Jonathan is my older brother and my closest friend. Ian is my younger and bigger brother. Gavin is one of my brothers with special needs and is one of the kindest people that I know. Kenzie, who has grown up with five brothers, has to remind us sometimes that she is a girl. Jason, the only one of us not in a Catholic school, goes to a school that specializes in autism. There are a lot of challenges for a family with two special-needs kids.
Jason and Gavin have taught me a lot about what it means to respect everyone that I come in contact with. My mom and dad do so many things that enable us to have a better life. And they truly want us to have a better life than they did. My dad works hard at his job and asks for more hours when he doesn’t think he can give us enough. My mom goes to work every day. She comes home tired and frazzled, but keeps going because she wants us to have a Catholic education. But even with how much they work, it wouldn’t be possible to send us all to Catholic school without financial assistance.
They’ve seen what Catholic schools can teach about compassion and being a better person. I want to be a positive influence on my siblings and to show them that if I can do it, there’s nothing stopping them from doing it — and from becoming the best persons they can be.
My mother’s dream for us is to instill a basic faith in us and not to just fit in with what other people want us to be. She’s helping us do that by sending us to Catholic schools, because it helps us to see that there is something always bigger than us. It’s always helping others and seeing that life isn’t just about ourselves —life is about one day eventually going to heaven and having something more.
Dreams don’t just happen; they take a lot of hard work. I feel confident that the dreams I have in life will become a reality because of the love of my family, my Catholic upbringing and because of people that I may never meet — people who supported my Catholic education. I couldn’t reach my dreams without you. Thank you.