RISING TO THE CHALLENGE
Celebrating the Bravery and Resilience of Our Scholarship Recipients
While CJ has worked incredibly hard to get where he is, he points to two people who’ve been there every step of the way. “My parents have been awesome. They have always been super supportive,” he says. “When I pegged Duke as my dream school, they wanted to do whatever they could to make it happen. They’ve been my constant champions.” CJ’s family has a legacy of military service that was carried on by his father, who served 24 years in the Navy. Seeing the sacrifices of those who served inspired CJ’s career path. As he wrote in his poignant essay, CJ plans to use his education and experience to “positively impact those who valiantly fought for freedom” by aiding warriors in “overcoming internal struggles and finding lasting peace.” CJ is no stranger to struggle. He recently underwent a successful open-heart surgery to combat the effects of Currarino-Silverman syndrome. Living with the disease has influenced CJ’s carpe diem outlook on life. “It’s a situation where you don’t think about the worst, but there was a fair amount of risk involved,” he explains. “I knew I wanted to capitalize on the time I had. It made me look at my college experience practically and realize, 'I have four years to do what I can. If this is all I get, I'm going to take every opportunity.' I feel proud of what I’ve done so far.”
W e are so excited to highlight the recipients of the Frances and Earl Perry Memorial Veterans Scholarship and the Flora Marie Jenkins Scholarship: CJ and Ya. For these two dedicated students, the scholarships allow them to pursue their education and follow their dreams of serving others. CJ is the recipient of the Frances and Earl Perry Memorial Veterans Scholarship. This fall, he’ll be a junior at Duke University, where he’s double majoring in psychology and theater, as well as working toward a certificate in documentary studies. CJ is grateful to Marc Whitehead and Associates for making education a sustainable reality for him. “It’s so amazing and helpful,” he says of the scholarship.
Ya is the recipient of our Flora Marie Jenkins Scholarship. She recently earned her bachelor’s degree in accounting from the University of Houston, and she begins her master's program there this summer. She plans to obtain her CPA and to eventually teach accounting. For Ya, education is everything. Her father is disabled, and Ya’s mother abandoned her when she was very little. Born with a tumor in her leg, Ya needed medical treatment that her relatives loaned the money for. Throughout the years, Ya has supported her father and herself through hard work and determination. After her family immigrated to the United States, Ya found herself in a new country with
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