YOUR TIME TO CLIMB SCHOLARSHIP
Warmest Congratulations to Our Scholarship Winner!
The personal injury attorneys at Tenge Law Firm, LLC, are excited to present the winner of our annual Your Time to Climb Scholarship. We couldn’t be happier with the quality of entries we received, and we believe many of our applicants are headed for bigger, better things. The difficulty with this type of competition is choosing only one winner, but the college-bound student below impressed us so much that we had no qualms in awarding them the overall prize – $1,000 for educational expenses.
Congratulations to all!
2020 WINNING ENTRY
“Having disabilities was not the worst part–it was, instead, the constant reminder of them that hurt the most.”
My mother often tells me about having a growth mindset, and until last year I didn’t understand that idea. In the 4th grade, I was diagnosed with severe dyslexia, dyscalculia, and executive processing disorder. Having disabilities was not the worst part–it was, instead, the constant reminder of them that hurt the most. While my peers were in reading class, I was ushered down the hall to partake in a separate reading class. Though helpful, I couldn’t help but feel lesser to my peers. I considered others removed from the classroom as friends, although it wasn’t a pleasant feeling of knowing “they are gifted and talented.” It impacted me so that I continually felt dumb. A few years later, I was told–by someone I no longer remember–that my disabilities would “catch up to me.” That phrase resonated in my mind every time I struggled to complete a book, or misspelled a word, or had to talk to a teacher about why I couldn’t understand the question. Has it caught up?
” I decided in my freshman year that I was going to rewrite those words—allowing them to follow me created a sense of self-defeat.”
– Zach P.
Eventually, the idea of a growth mindset hit. I decided in my freshman year that I was going to rewrite those words—allowing them to follow me created a sense of self-defeat. I applied for things I wanted, took the classes I needed, and empowered myself. I found it was my time to climb. I worked hard at everything I did. I haven’t always come out on top, but I have consistently come out more understanding and more knowledgeable than before. It didn’t take long to realize I had a particular interest in space and science and decided to steer into that. Soon, teachers were taking notice, as well. English teachers would allow me to write papers and give speeches about science rather than traditional subjects. History teachers would encourage me to look into scientific endeavors in the period. They played to my strengths. My parents were with me every step of the way. Though at times, I felt the berating of my work to be unruly, I recognize it was out of love and them wanting me to do everything I can to succeed. I owe everything to my teachers and my parents.
“I’ve learned to play to my abilities, advocate for myself, and work for what I want. Though it has not always been clear to me, my value is not any lesser than anyone else.”
– Zach P.
Later that year, my school introduced me to a nonprofit known as Higher Orbits. They continually work to inspire students to get involved in STEM careers by hosting events and helping students to design experiments that compete to go to the International Space Station. I ended up loving it so much that I attended three of these events and pushed two of my experiments to the final round of judging. Sadly, I was never able to launch a mission, but I have since started volunteering with Higher Orbits, which has offered unbelievable opportunities for me. Through them, I applied and was accepted to an event known as the International Science School. The International Science School is a two-week-long event in Sydney, Australia, where 130 students attended 17 lectures from the top scientists in the world, visiting state-of-the-art facilities and interacting with other students from all over the world. My acceptance officially places me as a top science student in the United States.
Having learning disabilities has impacted the way I read, write, and learn, but it has not broken me. I’ve learned to play to my abilities, advocate for myself, and work for what I want. Though it has not always been clear to me, my value is not any lesser than anyone else. Through my hard work – and significant, unwavering support – I have made it to this point. I hope, with more hard work and help, I will go further.
– Zach P.
2019 WINNING ENTRY
“At lunch, my classmates rambled on about their successful mothers and fathers who were ER nurses and neurosurgeons. I quietly listened, hoping to avoid being asked the question ‘What do your parents do for a living?'”
Imet her a block away from my elementary school every day after school, as I had requested. I trotted towards her hefty silhouette as my classmates headed outside to be picked up by their nannies in BMWs. Once I passed the crossing guard, I knew my peers wouldn’t be around to watch me knock on the side door of my parents’ taco truck labeled Taqueria Evelyn in fluorescent letters. As the door opened forcefully due to a loose hinge, my father’s cracked, yet gentle hand firmly pulled me up the steps. I was greeted by my parents’ weary eyes and forced smiles. I slouched down in my miniature Dora the Explorer sofa placed next to the cooler as my father drove out of the neighborhood.
“My eyes opened to the sacrifices my parents were making for the prosperity of their children. There was a reason that they immigrated to America with nothing but the clothes on their backs.”
– Ana G.
At lunch, my classmates rambled on about their successful mothers and fathers who were ER nurses and neurosurgeons. I quietly listened, hoping to avoid being asked the question “What do your parents do for a living?” I wondered why my parents failed to achieve similar horizons. Instead of coming home with stories of the numerous lives they have saved with a revolutionary procedure, my parents arrived with salsa verde stains on their beat-up Dickies work pants and streaks of black grease on their cheeks from cleaning the grill. As I prepared my mother’s nightly tea, she examined the fresh cuts and burns on her forearms with regret. I laid my head on her shoulder. The smell of tacos conquered her usual motherly scent of Aveeno lotion. She told me about her daily encounters with young construction workers pulled out of high school by their parents to provide for their families. “Echale ganas a la escuela, mija,” my mother said. She explained that education is the key to escape poverty.
One school morning, my mother frantically rushed into my room after receiving a phone call from the hospital. The taco truck had exploded with my father inside of it, leaving him with severe second-degree burns. When he first came home after the accident, I couldn’t recognize my own father. White blisters dominated his forearms. His swollen face struggled to convey facial expressions. I recognized the pain in his bloodshot eyes. Yet he acted as if nothing had changed. My eyes opened to the sacrifices my parents were making for the prosperity of their children. There was a reason that they immigrated to America with nothing but the clothes on their backs. There was a reason that they worked from 3 A.M. to 6 P.M. daily. There was a reason that they emphasized the importance of education. They immersed themselves in a perilous situation to financially support our family of seven. My mortification at our low-income background transformed into an appreciation for my parents’ sacrifices.
“Collectively, we will break down the cultural and language barriers that limit the capabilities of the Hispanic community. Success blossoms from hard work. This is only the beginning.”
– Ana G.
My parents’ pursuit of the American dream has powered my academic drive. I refuse to follow in the footsteps of my cousins that fell under the influence of drugs and violence in Oakland, California. I made it my personal goal to strive academically to defy the negative stigma associated with Hispanics. I often found myself being the only Latina in advanced courses at my high school. I decided to tackle the root of the problem by co-founding the nonprofit organization Bilingual Help Service. Many underprivileged, Hispanic students lack a role model to instill the importance of education into their developing minds. These students witness their parents getting by without higher education and struggle to escape the rote cycle of poverty. I am fortunate to have parents that advocate for my prosperity and I now fulfill this role for several elementary and middle school students. Collectively, we will break down the cultural and language barriers that limit the capabilities of the Hispanic community. Success blossoms from hard work. This is only the beginning.
– Ana G.
2018 WINNING ENTRY
“I do believe that the knowledge and skill of a good attorney has the potential to bring hope to dark places.”
I’ve spent countless hours in Nashville’s juvenile court; thankfully, not as an alleged criminal. The place somehow always managed to be hot and sweaty despite the change of seasons, and the folks you’d find there were often questionable at best. “If you’re lookin’ into the dating scene, this probably ain’t the best place to start,” was how the attorney I interned for put it. The first time I went there with him, I asked for a rundown of his case as we walked through the security check. “It’s near closing,” he began. He struggled momentarily to remove his foot from his Oxfords. “Child abuse; the kid’s about seven. He’d accused the babysitter of…” His foot finally popped out and he stumbled backwards: “…touching him.” I paused, more than a little disgusted, only able to muster out a quiet “I see.” It came to me again that we were the defense. I shivered. It was then, at the beginning of my internship, that I began to wonder whether or not law was right for me – not only in the sense of the investment needed for schooling, but also in its moral implications.
“It was then, at the beginning of my internship, that I began to wonder whether or not law was right for me – not only in the sense of the investment needed for schooling, but also in its moral implications.”
– Anna N.
The office itself was a small, general practice with five defense attorneys, each their own manager. The attorney I followed around the most had work that ranged from suing companies for not putting up those CAUTION: WET FLOOR signs to rather heinous crimes I’d rather not think too hard about. While we weren’t drafting motions or researching legal precedents, we’d often talk about philosophy. I asked if he always believed his clients. “The guilt’d kill me otherwise,” he said. I didn’t press him further, but I still hold some doubts about his honesty. After scouring evidence and making calls, it’s often difficult to find even a speck of credibility in some clients; those were cases solved using “legalese” loopholes to our advantage. It felt a bit under-the-rug.
The truth is a difficult thing to pin. Ideally, one would be all for using the law as a means to uncover it. However, it became apparent to me that the law’s successes came from struggle rather than some smooth course of action. For example, during one trial, I witnessed what I’d imagined only happened on television court dramas: an utterly incompetent lawyer. As I listened to the sweaty man ramble, I saw the plaintiff slowly sink. I felt something only describable as visceral pity pass over me. Even the most honest of men could enter a courtroom confidently and leave utterly defeated, given the right (or wrong) kind of defense.
“Even the most honest of men could enter a courtroom confidently and leave utterly defeated, given the right (or wrong) kind of defense.”
– Anna N.
After all this, why law? I want to be the right kind of defense: the kind that people can respect for skill and fairness, and that this legal system desperately needs to thrive. Once I’m done with school, I wish to pursue a career in cyber or immigration law. It is to be expected that cyber law, as it pertains to security, will continue to evolve. In the case that I do decide to dedicate myself to immigration instead, my work would be more directly interpersonal; the fruits of my labor would be more immediately apparent. With cyber security, however, the efforts I make are more likely to ripple out as precedents for future legislation. With either path, I’d feel the contentment of knowing I’ve made a difference in the world, and that’s the key to my interest. I understand that a career path like mine tends not to be the first thing one thinks of regarding “giving back to the community,” but I do believe that the knowledge and skill of a good attorney has the potential to bring hope to dark places.
– Anna N.