Thank You POE! - From a College Graduate

June 27, 2017

Dear Ms. Mullin,

I am a class of 2011 high school graduate, and a proud recipient of your Pursuit of Excellence scholarship. I was very happy to have been selected to receive this scholarship and I wanted to express how grateful I am for your help. I am also proud to say that I finished my undergraduate studies this past December at San Jose State University and accomplished my goal of being the first person in my family to graduate from college. I have defiantly grown a lot over the last five years and I can’t go without recognizing those who have helped me get to where I am today, so I wanted to take a moment to let you know how donations like yours have made a difference to first generation college students like myself.

As a young and eager 18-year-old college freshman, I was largely unconscious of the hardships many students like myself face as they begin their college career, I had a lot to learn about the inner workings of the higher education system. I knew receiving this scholarship was going to help, but I did not initially realize the difference it would make for me. Financially, it kept me from having to work extra-long hours at my part-time job to meet my tuition costs, and it afforded me with the opportunity to really immerse myself in my education. During my last semester, I took up the opportunity to be a research assistant for one of my professors and help co-write an academic journal article that may get published, which is something I don’t think I would have had the time to do if I struggled to pay for my school expenses. In addition, I have been able to take much more advanced and rigorous courses that required, even more, dedication, so I am grateful for being able to afford the time to make school a priority. I have watched as fellow classmates took time off school or risked their grades because they needed the money to get by; it is a harsh reality that many students face. Thanks to your scholarship, in addition to others, I walked away from my university debt-free, which means a lot to me considering the fact that student debt it at an all-time high.

Yes, the scholarship money did help me financially, but the privileges and opportunities that came with it are what I am most thankful for. As I fondly look back at my undergraduate experience, I reflect on the person I am because of all the hard work and dedication I invested in myself, as well all of the factors that have made my success possible. If there is one thing I am undoubtedly proud of, it has been my pursuit for a higher education. I have taken my education with incredible seriousness and as a result, I am a much more mature and refined young man with even more ambitious goals. This spring I applied for graduate school and I am happy to say that I will be pursuing a master’s degree in Urban and Regional Planning at San Jose State University this fall. Reaching graduate school so young in my life has meant so many things for me personally, but it is support from people like you that have made this possible. I am truly excited to see where my education will take me next and hope to one day pay it forward by helping future college students on their own road to success. So, again, I want to extend my sincere gratitude for your generosity and helping me make it all possible. Your dedication and donation to students change lives. Thank you.



Pursuit of Excellence Alumnus

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