Adamari Rodriguez

My name is Adamari Rodriguez, I am from slower lower Millsboro Delaware where I graduated from Sussex Central High School in 2017 third in my class. I am the oldest of 3 girls, therefore, I had to quickly learn how to become like a second mother for my sisters. While I was growing up, I really looked up to my father because he would work all day and night in harsh labor. Sometimes I would never see him because he would leave before I got up to go to school and come back late when I was already in bed. I knew when I little that I wanted to grow up and be successful, so my father didn't have to work anymore.

Fast forward 10 years later I am in high school and got my first job at the local Dairy Queen. I was so excited when I got my first check even though it was a seldom sixty bucks because I was too young to work during the week. You see even though I was young, I have always been very optimistic and excited, after I accomplished something, I wanted to see what was next. I was always challenging myself. Therefore, I enrolled in the International Baccalaureate program at Central which was extremely challenging yet allowed me to construct unforgettable bonds with my classmates and teachers. I later ran for Senior Class President because I was really bad at public speaking and I knew that the president had to speak at graduation therefore I was to work on myself for the better. I excelled in high school and received much recognition, but nothing beat the proud look in my parents' eyes.

I then went into college undeclared at the University of Delaware because I knew I wanted to study a meaningful profession, but I could not decide what path I wanted to take. I took many electives and recently decided to declare my major as International Relations with a legal studies minor. I want to be an immigration lawyer and help many families get their documentation, so their children can have the same opportunities I had. Although I am now a sophomore at the University of Delaware my academic and personal goal is the same, I want to continue challenging myself and become a better version of myself than I was yesterday. My dad has such a good heart and now it is my turn to give and to love. I am ready to make my family proud and become someone who can positively impact and help my community right here in Delaware.

Justin Malone

"Can my friend get some water? She is overheating!" I overhear as I finish eating my fast food that somehow passes for a meal. As you know, curiosity killed the cat, and thank goodness I am not a feline because I would need many more than nine lives. As the battle between laziness and curiosity comes to an end, I get up out of my chair, and follow the boy and another lifeguard walk around the pool taking their time finding a cup and filling it with water. When we finally meet "the friend," we realize that she is experiencing something much more serious than just overheating, as she did not have the strength to lift herself out of her seat. Her skin was so pale that I almost had to put my sunglasses back on. I scream over to my supervisor, "Kayla! Get the bag!"

That day my "communication education" took a significant step forward. As she came running I reached down to take the friend's pulse and I could not find it. We then put a device on her finger to measure her heart rate and oxygen levels. Her heart rate was about 250 beats per minute. None of us there had a medical degree, but we all knew a heart rate that rapid is life threatening. I immediately had began performing all of the first aid procedures to try and lower her heart rate and called 911. The stress seemingly connected between us started to skyrocket, I watched gut-wrenchingly as tears fell down her cheek, she read my face like a book. My supervisor took a different approach; Kayla began a conversation with her, asking her what grade she was in, where she went to school, and what sports she enjoyed. This tactic baffled me. I thought to myself, how incompetent for a supervisor to leave the all of the work up to a subordinate. I did not realize at first that Kayla's approach had a hidden motive. Then I saw it clearly, why she had taken a seemingly backwards approach. The girl began to laugh and her tears stopped as they formed a bond over their shared interest in soccer. You could watch as the intensity felt between us faded, evident in the fact that the girl's heart rate began to fall. Eventually the ambulance arrived and I watched as the first thing the technicians did was crack a joke and even I could not help but to laugh. Looking back it's almost as if I was in the crowd, watching, omnisciently, as one lifeguard was working with equipment, checking a girl's vitals and calling 911. As the girl become distressed, another lifeguard begins to talk calmly, smiling and laughing, treating this girl as if they had been close friends for 30 years instead of seconds. I realized then that the way I had been treating people in certain situations lacked a significant piece.

I learned something that day about people in need and how to help them not just physically but mentally, allowing patients to feel more like people. As I continue my education not only through school, but work, and other community events, I look forward to not only learning more in academia but learning how to better understand and communicate with others. As much as I enjoy learning in school, I have never struggled nor spent as much time working towards any subject, besides refining how I understand and communication with others. The most important skill, in my opinion, is the ability to communicate effectively. I often forget the fact that others have just as many things going though their minds all of the time as I do. Although it is easier to just ignore that fact, I think the most valuable people in this world have mastered the art of understanding and communicating.

Justin Yeung

My family virtually started from the bottom. My parents and grandparents immigrated from China and built themselves up from the very bottom. They struggled in their villages growing up where they had virtually no income. My family immigrated to the United States searching for more opportunity but knew very little English. Maintaining their hard-working mentality, my parents both worked at Chinese restaurants when they were teenagers while balancing school work. As a result, my dad dropped out of high school and my mom never went to college because they had to provide for their families.

I learned many core values from my family's past struggles. As one would say," struggle builds character." This quote represents how my family persevere throughout their lives and the lessons they taught me throughout my life. As a hard-working, dedicated student, I maintained being in the top 5% of my class all 4 years of my high school career. Taking the initiative in my life, like my parents did when they immigrated to America, I became the secretary of Interact Club, president of my robotics club, and Peer Group Connections mentor for freshmen needing guidance. Also, I have taken the initiative during my high school summer vacations by participating in summer programs like Delaware College Scholars, University of Maryland Terp Young Scholars, Delaware State University Science and Technology Academy for Residence Scholars. Out of school, I have been working at my parent's restaurant on the weekends, volunteering as a chess coach at a local chess club, and playing tennis.

My ultimate goal is to be successful in college and be happy with the choice that I made. I have been accepted to four colleges and am still waiting for others. I want my parents to be proud of what I have done. I want to show my family that their sacrifices were worth it.

Shea Sweeney

"What do you want to be when you grow up?" 6 year old me would have said a shoe designer. 10 year old me would have said an interior designer. 14 year old me would have said a doctor. 16 year old me would have said a nutritionist. But now, 18 year old me is seeking a degree in communications. Every child has different aspirations and goals, some more attainable than others and some more abstract than others. But why do kids continue to dream new dreams every night, and wake up wanting a whole new thing than the day before. Maybe they saw an basketball game and decided they wanted to be in the NBA. Maybe they saw a cooking show and decided they wanted to be a chef. Or maybe like me, they saw a really great pair of high heels and spent half of their lives obsessing about being a shoe designer. Whatever the case may be, those kids saw their future through some kind of advertisement.

It was not until recently that my heart was set on communications. My best friend was diagnosed with juvenile diabetes the fall of our junior year. I tried to be there for her, through the initial hospitalization to the anger and self-pity. I knew in order for her to truly accept the disease, she needed to turn her energy outwards to something positive. The idea of a fashion show fundraiser was born. It would be a way to keep her mind off her problems while raising money for juvenile diabetes research. We had the support of the school community, but were extremely naive as to the work that would be required. We reached out to different stores and businesses around the area. We matched models to stores and coordinated fitting times. We wrote up commentary for the outfits and sold tickets. Ultimately, we collected 100 outfits, had the participation of 60 models around the school and raised $5000 for JDRF. The fashion show began as a way to help my friend, but it helped me in many ways too. It taught me communication, decision making, and problem-solving skills that I want to hone in college. I am proud of my accomplishment and the hard work it involved.

Over the past two summers I have worked at a small sub shop in Wilmington, Delaware. From my first day there, I realized that the job was so much more than making sandwiches. It was about experiencing my community from a different vantage point. I've gotten a chance to learn about customers' lives, their struggles, their accomplishments, their families, and of course what they like on their sub. It broadened my horizons and opened my eyes to people from different walks of life. It taught me how to communicate with people from all different economic and social backgrounds as well as how to make a superb cheesesteak.

As I approach the next chapter in my life, I hope to apply all of the lessons, tips, and tricks I've learned thus far, to college. During my time at college, my goals are to take advantage of all the different opportunities the university offers. I want to study abroad and expand my knowledge of the world. I want to get involved in the different clubs and organizations on campus. I want to have a summer internship, that will fully prepare me for the workforce ahead. I plan on working hard and making the most out of those quick four years. As I am being handed my diploma, I hope I can confidently say that I did the best I could, while appreciating all the friendships and connections I made. I hope you consider me to receive the J.B.L. Trust Scholarship to help defer some of the high cost of tuition, and assist me in achieving my goals.