Zander Insurance Recipient

Erin S.

AMOUNT: $5,000
SCHOOL: Appalachian State University
“I look up at the moon, and my heart feels you, although a thousand miles away, watching the same moon.” – Su Tung Po

Dear Dad,
Never will I meet another who touched so many lives. Having someone so impactful, powerful, and wise taught me how to be genuine, strong, compassionate. You had so many hobbies; you left almost a trail of art, a legacy of inspiration for us to discover. But your unwavering strength was by far the most inspiring thing about you; in the face of death, you looked life right in the eye and said “I’m not afraid”. I can still see the look of determination and unwavering persistence in your eyes, and I will never forget it – I will never forget you – for as long as I live.

In December of 2018, I lost my father. Cancer took my father from me. I went numb.

This just so happened to be the day before my Winter Band Concert. I was crushed by not being able to perform with my band, my second family. The night of the concert, I could not get the band out of my mind. I knew I had to do something.

Through the tears of dealing with my family tragedy, I wanted to see my band succeed. I laid a yellow flower on each of my friends’ seats with a note wishing them good luck at their concert. To my surprise, they had done the same for me: a single red rose sat peacefully on my chair as the winter concert went on without me. I never truly realized how compassionate and loving my friends and family were to me until I was forced to miss a concert that I had no intention of missing.

For months after, my mother would pull the budget belt tighter, little by little. My brother and I no longer had the comfort of ensured dental care, eye appointments, or doctor visits; the things I had once had the privilege of experiencing were gone in an instant. A few months later, I would begin applying to colleges. My number one college got bumped to number two – replaced with a college that was less than half of the cost. My mother always says, “Don’t worry about the money,” but I simply couldn’t help it. I knew we could get by, but for how long? When I leave for college, will my family be okay? My father’s life insurance promised my mother a future and kept us in our home. I am so thankful for the ability to remain comfortable with my family in my home, and I could never imagine the bigger consequences of losing financial stability. However, the hole in our hearts that losing my dad left can never be filled again; nonetheless, he still continues to take care of me and my family today, and I am in debt to him forever.

Life is scathingly short. Tomorrow is not guaranteed. But life cannot be lived in fear. My father has given me a reason to keep going; he taught me how to look life in the eye and tell it “I’m not afraid”.

I will look up at the moon tonight and know you are watching the same one, somewhere.
Thank you, Dad.

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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