Nia Kline is a 2017 Cecil E. Newman Scholarship recipient. Below is her scholarship-winning essay.
I look at life as a puzzle. It is one big picture full of mystery. You learn to use your observation skills, you learn to not force it if it doesn’t fit, you learn patience, and finally, you learn tolerance and understanding. Pieces of my puzzle that significantly altered the way I saw life and academics are my English teacher Ms. Wheelock and my parents.
In school, teens feel obligated to achieve in their academics, but with what support? Ms. Wheelock, my English teacher, went above and beyond to make sure that her students did not feel intimidated by all of their other obligations. She gave me an opportunity to meet with her before school, during her lunch, and afterschool to make sure I got the help I needed along with other students.
She will not give up on you as long as you are trying. Ms. Wheelock also makes sure to connect with her students on a personal level. Whatever you are going through at school or at home, she will make you feel comfortable and safe.
School can be stressful. There is drama, peer pressure, and bullying, among many other things that we have to try to balance while focusing on the big prize which is graduation. She was and is by my side through the whole thing, which makes getting my education easier on me.
Most parents’ main goal in life is to make sure their kids graduate high school. However, my parents’ main goal in life is to make sure I graduate college.
Ever since I was little they taught me that being diverse will make things harder for me in life. At first it will not be fair, but you will adjust. And as long as you work hard and get your degrees, you can conquer anything. During that time period when I was young, my mom got sick and my dad spent most of his time in the hospital with her.
I was nine years old and had a whole year to adjust to this dramatic change. After a year of my mom being in the hospital, she had a permanent brain disorder called hemorrhagic leukoencephalitis and multiple sclerosis. She could not work anymore, or do any of the things she used to. It was an adjustment for her and my family.
I learned that you couldn’t just judge people based on if they were different from you. Everyone is different and that is what makes him or her unique. I learned that you couldn’t count on having your parents do everything for you. One day your parents will be gone and you have to learn how to be independent.
I learned that everything does not always turn out the way you want it to, but you have to be able to adjust to the changes. Why? Because that is the definition of life. You either can live with it, enjoy it, deal with it, or stay close-minded and have a hard time getting through the things we do, which is called life.
These puzzles in my life are what helped me become the successful woman I am today. I have ambitions to go to college at St. Cloud State University, go to med school after, and eventually become a doctor to make a difference. That is my big picture.
For a recap/photos from the 2017 Graduation Celebration, go here.