Two weeks before District Convention, while I was taking the bus on the way to work, I received the email…
“Congratulations! You are a recipient of a scholarship from the Cal-Nev-Ha Children’s Fund.” Words cannot express the joy I felt when I clicked on the email notification and informed my family, still unaware of the amount I had received.
On Saturday, April 22nd, I frantically prepared for the event that my entire region team had anticipated. We were seated backstage in order, and I turned to the people sitting next to me to ask what they received, which was the moment I realized that, as the last person to be announced for receiving a scholarship, I just might have received the “big one.”
I immediately began (quietly) screaming out of excitement with my friend beside me, but then the nervousness hit me like a train. I became doubtful, wondering if I deserved this scholarship, and feared what judgments others might have. As the moment inched closer, I found myself standing backstage, holding my friend’s hand, tears in my eyes as I was about to walk the stage.
I truly could not believe that last year, I was in the audience, staring in awe as Mr. Jander announced the scholarship recipient, and now I was the one about to walk the stage to receive it. As soon as he announced my name, I began to cry, and could barely make out what I was doing on stage– shaking Mr. Jander and Mr Gin’s hands, holding the award to take pictures for a camera that I couldn’t see because of tears blocking my sight, and simply overwhelmed by the sheer gratefulness and support I received from the audience.
After I exited the stage, I was greeted by both my region advisors, many hugs from my friends who were backstage, and continued to cry throughout the session, as a member of my region team won District Governor, and everyone else had received a multitude of awards.
Words truly cannot express how truly grateful I am to receive this scholarship, as this money would alleviate a great financial burden on both my family’s shoulders after I transfer to university from community college. I work many hours a week, and even more during the summer when school is out, as does my single mom with her 12 hour workdays.
By receiving the opportunity to continue my education with significantly less financial stress on both myself and my mom, I have more time to study and focus on earning a degree within the field of biology, and my mom has more time to spend with her children– avoiding the hardships of working a third job to support my educational goals.
Being in Key Club, I have found a sense of community and family that I could not find elsewhere, and I feel that the effort that I’ve contributed toward improving both the clubs within the division I serve, and the district, have been recognized.
So the many, many tears that have been shed– whether as a result of joy, sadness, or from the allergic reaction that I experienced during my first day at DCON– have been worth the journey, and have all left a positive impact on the person I am today. -Kaitlyn Whang