AIG Direct Recipient

Curtis Garmon

AMOUNT: $10,000
SCHOOL: University of Tennessee, Knoxville
I remember the days playing basketball outside with him. I remember having long talks with him. I remember the days I cried on his shoulder and called him superman. When you’re a child, you don’t think of “reality”. You think about playing outside with your friends, eating ice cream with your brother and sister, and telling mom and dad about the bad dreams you had last night. Well, that is what I thought. We never expected to lose someone as strong and caring as my father. At the age of 10, my world collapsed and my childhood days came to an end. My father was diagnosed with Adenocarcinoma Cancer and was told he had 3 months to live. This was a very rare type of cancer. It is a disease in which a cancer of blood-forming tissues hinder the body’s ability to fight infection. Going through this process of him being sick, and being in and out of the hospital, put a strain on my family emotionally and financially.

When we lost my father, my mom experienced one of the most painful, traumatic events of her life. She lost her best friend and her back bone when my father died. My siblings and I were also tremendously affected. We didn’t go to school for more than a week, and just moped around the house feeling depressed. My heart felt empty without my father being around anymore. Life felt useless and not worth living. However, even with the loss of my father I remained strong and dedicated to grow up and be the man I know he would want me to be. Furthermore, I had to help my mom out more. She suffered from post stress disorder, suffered from nerve damage, and suffered from losing her hair. She became very depressed, and turned into a different mother. She often yelled at me and my siblings for no reason, the house was very dysfunctional and everything was just broken. Every night I cried myself to sleep and kept asking God why did he take my father away from us. What did I do to deserve my parent taken away from me? Still till this day during the greatest and worst days of my life I wish my dad was here to see me. He didn’t meet my first girlfriend, see me graduate from middle school and now high school, teach me how to drive or even see me get my license. These are the things that are the most difficult to think about.

When you’re the oldest son and your father dies it is a tremendous amount of responsibility. I had to help my mom with my younger siblings, such as helping them do homework, making sure they cleaned up, and just being there for them. I thought the older I got the easier it would get for me and my family however; this wasn’t the case. At the age 16, I began working at Chick-fil-a. I have worked long and hard hours to help provide with family needs. I help my mom with feeding my brother and sisters by buying groceries, helping with the mortgage bill, and driving them where they need to go when my mom could not. While doing this I had to still be in school and maintain a 3.8 G.P.A and make all A’s on every report card. This has become very exhausting and there has been many sleepless nights, but I keep telling myself everyday that my father would not want me to give up. This is my motivation. I want to attend The University of Tennessee, Knoxville. I have been accepted, but financially I won’t be prepared or able to go to this school. However, this is why I’m keeping my grades up and every day looking for new scholarships.

I know that if my father was alive life would be better. I would have had a car, lived in a house I know would have food and not worry about the lights being turned off living check to check. However, I don’t let these problems control what I put forth in life because I know everything happens for a reason and that it was a good reason why God called my father home. To sum all this up, I’ve learned and prospered to be a 3.7 GPA scholar, in school and I am a great brother to my siblings and an even better son to my mom, with my father by my side every step of the way.

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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