CATALINO TAPIA SCHOLARSHIP FOUNDATION
My dad passed in 2016 due to Multiple Myeloma and my mom was his caretaker. This put her out of work because she was previously a housekeeper, but the families she worked forgot someone else because her schedule revolved around my late father’s constant doctor appointments. When he passed, we were left with large amounts of debt from his medical bills. Because of a misunderstanding around the ownership of assets, such as the house, my mom later found legal help to keep the house and find resources to pay the mortgage. At the same time, my older sister was halfway through her third year at the Pacific University of Oregon before dropping out with more than $60,000 in debt that my mom is also currently working to pay off. Both my brother and I attend private high schools on scholarship; however, she has had to pay about $600 each year for my brother towards his tuition and his school provides everything else for free. I get a full ride to go to Mercy High School, but I pay for my books, school supplies, and transportation. I take the train to and from school and the bus after school which has added up over time, costing close to over $100 each month.
I want to go to college to get a better education and to become financially stable. I want to help my mom because she has done so much for me and my siblings, especially after my dad passed. I want to give back to her so she does not have to work so hard in the future. My goal is to be a civil or mechanical engineer or an occupational therapist. With these careers, I will be able to do what I love: help others. I have seen the benefits of occupational therapy firsthand with my cousin. I have attended some of his therapy sessions and really enjoyed it. I have noticed that special needs kids are often overlooked and it is hard for them to get the help or resources they need. I want to be a part of changing that. I also want to pursue engineering because, during my summer internship, I was helping improve a cancer treatment hospital. My internship with DPR Construction was great. Their Build-Up internship has only been around for a couple of years and in 2019, there were 23 high schoolers nationally participating, including me. It was a great experience and helped me focus more specifically on what type of engineering I want to do, like civic or mechanical. The engineers there showed me sometimes it is not about the degree you get, but internships you do while you are in college. Going to college would be a great opportunity to help my family, my community, and help me grow as a person and scholar.