iPipeline Recipient

Colleen Costello

AMOUNT: $5,000
SCHOOL: West Chester University of Pennsylvania

I was sixteen years old the day my father died, February 19, 2018. These past few years have been some of the most difficult and challenging years of my life. The summer before my sophomore year, my parents separated, and we moved from my childhood home. This was a very difficult time. My dad was suffering from depression and alcoholism which was a road filled with many ups and downs for my family. Then February of my junior year my dad tragically passed away. There are no words to truly describe how it felt to watch your protector, your guardian, your Dad spiral out of control. It changes you, and for me I found new strengths I didn’t know I had. I am strong willed, independent and a leader. I have inner strength to succeed and I know I can overcome adversity.

After my Dad’s passing, we acquired substantial debt. He did not have a life insurance policy to help with his debt, so the burden was on my mom and our family. This in turn affected my college choices. Out of state universities were no longer an option, and I needed to narrow my list to state schools only. I also work two jobs during the summers and winter break to save money for tuition. My mom tries to pick up extra shifts, but she is limited because she suffers from Rheumatoid arthritis and it is physically hard for her. If my father had life insurance, it would have made all the difference in the world. I would have been able to choose my options rather than they be chosen for me. The insurance money could have helped my mom pay off his debt and possibly help pay for my school, instead she had to use her savings.

I am now a sophomore in college, and I am happy with my choice. I am enjoying college life and my classes. I have met many new friends and have joined clubs. My dad’s passing and the events leading up to it have taught me valuable lessons about life. I intend to never take a day for granted and always dedicate myself to do my best in whatever I do. This situation has allowed me to be more empathetic towards others because you never know what someone is going through.

My core belief from a young age is to learn from the tragedies in my life and to find the positive in all situations. There will always be bumps in the road, but it is how you handle them that defines your character. My father’s choices do not define me, and I am determined to pave my own path. I have taken my experiences and have learned you have to take chances, make mistakes and get the most out of life.

The Life Lessons Scholarship is made possible through individual donations and corporate sponsorships. Your financial support can make a world of difference for a young person struggling to afford a college education due to the loss of a parent or guardian.

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