Pacific Life Recipient

Katherine Blas

AMOUNT: $15,000
SCHOOL: Salve Regina University

Fall Down Seven Times, Stand Up Eight

My godmother often quotes a Japanese proverb, “Fall down seven times, stand up eight.” It means never give up hope and to always strive for more. While I haven’t been knocked down seven times, I have had my share of challenges early on in life but like the Japanese proverb, I never give up hope.

My biggest challenge was being born to two people who were not ready to be parents. I was abandoned by my biological parents soon after I was born, and placed in the Los Angeles County foster care system. After living in foster homes I was adopted by my aunt Rosalina and her husband Oscar when I was four.

Sadly, Oscar, who I grew to love very much, died when I was ten. I was devastated by Oscar’s death. I had already “lost” my biological parents who chose to not be present in my life. I was scared that if something happened to my aunt Rosalina I would go back into foster care.

It wasn’t until I was in high school, when I began looking at potential colleges, that I started to think about how my adoptive dad’s death might impact my college plans. Rosalina is a low-income immigrant with a middle school education. She often works seven days a week to support our family. My family certainly can’t afford anything beyond our essential needs and even though Rosalina insisted I was going to go to college, I was worried that as a single parent she could not afford college tuition. I started to have doubts about whether I was going to be able to go to college.

I have to admit I knew very little about life insurance before writing this essay. But I did some research and found out how important it is for parents to have life insurance coverage. I saw several stories that mentioned how a life insurance policy provides protection and income to someone’s family in the event of his or her death. Unfortunately, Oscar did not have life insurance. If he had life insurance, that policy would have replaced his income and our family wouldn’t struggle financially. If Oscar had had an adequate life insurance policy one thing that would have turned out differently is that my adoptive mom Rosalina wouldn’t have to work seven days a week. Finding work during the pandemic has been challenging but I was fortunate to be hired as a paid intern at a new tech company. I don’t make much but I am saving to pay for college expenses.

My primary goal for going to college is to have opportunities to thrive in my life and career. I know there are no guarantees with a college education, but I do know it opens the door to many opportunities in life. I hope to be the first in my family to graduate from college (I plan to study economics) and this scholarship will help me achieve that dream.

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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