We are honored to announce the Prepare 4 Tomorrow 2020 Rochester, New York Scholarships have been awarded to Noba Htoo and Jada Blackmon.
Noba will be attending Roberts Wesleyan University to pursue a degree in Nursing in the fall. Here is her essay:
If I could, I would like to continue with education and attend college. I want to go to college to give back to my family and my people. Growing up in a family where none of my parents went to school is hard, it can get really tough sometimes when you are dealing with problems at school and you can’t really go to your mom or your dad because they won’t understand. My parents are refugees from Burma, most of their childhood was spent in the jungle and dodging bullets. Education is something that my parents craved for their whole life, but because of life circumstances, they were robbed of their education. When I was about nine years old, I started noticing how small my parents felt every time they asked someone to translate what the mail was saying because they couldn’t read English. Back then I was too small to be able to help them out since I just started attending elementary school. I remember one time I went to a doctor’s appointment with my dad and since he did not know how to speak English they got an interpreter on the phone for him. Throughout the whole conversation, the interpreter kept stopping my dad when he wanted to ask the doctor certain questions. I just sat on the side listening to everything that she told my dad and realized that I needed to work hard and learn English as quickly as possible so I could be the one interpreting for my dad. I would always make sure that my grades are up and if they dropped I would put in extra work. Being the oldest of four children the pressure was put on me, I needed to accomplish all the things that my parents couldn’t accomplish and do better so that my siblings could have someone to look up to and take on the world without fear of the unknown. As time passes and I grow older my knowledge expands, I’m starting to become interested in the medical field. I remember in middle school looking up how people become doctors and nurses, as I do my research I realize that I want to be a nurse.I guess growing up in a refugee camp where healthcare was very limited pushed me to want to make a change. I consider myself to be very blessed to be alive because as a child I was always sick. Even when there was no proper hospital in a camp there were still nurses there that tried to save me every time I fell unconscious. I am forever grateful and one day I want to go back there with a nursing degree and give a helping hand. I would love to build a hospital there so all the sick children can be taking care of without a cost.
If I could, I would help my community by helping students who are food insecure. According to the Monroe County Health Center, more than 33% of families in the City of Rochester are food insecure. This percentage may not seem high but looking at the number of people who live in the City of Rochester about 68,000 of them are living in poverty today. I learned that many school-age children only receive meals when they are in school. Many go without food during weekends and school breaks, and this inspired me to act. It was very important to do the food drive before Christmas break because no school meant no dependable daily meals and the students who are food insecure and living in poverty, would not have food for about two weeks. So, in December I organized a food drive with my senior class for two Rochester elementary schools. My class and I began to collect food for the food drive; we collected Peanut Butter and Jelly, fruit cups, granola bars, crackers, pretzels, and more. After my class finished with the donations and had collected over 200 items, we felt a sense of joy and accomplishment. We were set to deliver the food items. I contacted Principal Sharon Jackson at Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. School No. 9 and we scheduled delivery date and time. The Principal and staff were so grateful for our food donations, they told us that other organizations had bought Christmas presents for some of the students. I was very happy to see that another person cared about these students but I was also sad because by looking at all of the gifts and boxes of food I could tell that so many students in just one city school were living in poverty. After the second delivery to Principal D’Onnarae Johnson at the Henry Lomb School No. 20, I realized that out of Forty Elementary schools I only impacted two for during one school break. Even Though it would take many more food drives to reach all of the schools, I wanted to help as many schools as I could. I had planned on organizing another Food Drive for the upcoming Spring Break. I spoke with my High School Principal Brett Miller, as well as Teachers and had a donation week planned out for our school. However, due to the CoronaVirus Pandemic and Quarantines at this time, the Food Drives had to be put on hold. Food insecurity is more of an issue now because the students whom we planned on helping during Spring Break we can not. Therefore, if I could help my community I would help the students who are in quarantine as of right now, possibly with no food at home. And my heart feels for them right now. Food insecurity is a huge issue not only in my Home City of Rochester, New York but all over the world. I WOULD…IF I COULD!