An Afternoon I Will Never Forget

Thanks to the As One Foundation
by Alyssa Matus, Daughter of Naomi Miller
Blinn College, Bryan, TX

Applying for the scholarship was an automatic reaction for me. When I first heard about it all I knew was that Devard was setting it up in memory of his brother Devaughn. I have an older sister and that just really touched me how Devard was making sure that his brother’s memory was carried on and that he helped people in his name. After I had decided to apply I learned that it was not just about being a model student like many scholarships, but it was also about your life. My life throughout high school had consisted of being on the school dance team, the Austin Angels, and seeking after the Lord. Seeking the Lord is a constant struggle but senior year I really found peace with my life, and he sent this scholarship as a blessing to my family. I had not received any other scholarships so I was unaware that a few held ceremonies, and when I heard I was supposed to give a speech I became incredibly nervous and did not know what to say. I spent days trying to write a speech and finally I got something down that I thought would be mildly acceptable. I would have never guessed how truly emotional the experience of the ceremony would be for me.

Alyssa Matos photo 1 smallerThe Ceremony was definitely an afternoon I will always remember. Prior to the lunch I did not know anything about the Darling family, but by the end I had met each of the family members and was able to hear about their lives. Little had I known that they could easily relate to my story. My mom is a single parent and she tried her hardest to make sure my sister and I got to experience everything we could ever dream of. She has worked so hard to provide for us and keep us on our feet and being able to apply for this scholarship and do something to help her out was truly amazing. My mom had no idea I had applied for this scholarship, I did not think I had a very good chance of getting it because I was not in the top of my class, but I tried my hardest and tried to lean on my trust in God. I still cannot describe the feeling of when I met Devard at the front doors of the ceremony. It was a mix of sheer excitement, and incredible anxiety. At that moment all of my feelings about receiving the scholarship changed. It was now more about a person, a family, then it was just about money I had received. His smile was one of pure happiness and it radiated off of him and just filled everyone else with warmth. I felt such compassion in his presence. Once I got up to give my speech I knew it did not portray how I felt about the scholarship anymore. I did not know how it would be received but I decided to just get up and speak from the heart, and I never knew I could have such an impact. Once I walked off the stage all I remember is looking at Devard’s smiling face as I was trying to stop crying, and him giving me a hug. After that I felt like I was truly connected with each of the Darling sibling and I got to hear from them about what the scholarship meant to them and how their lives have been. Learning that we had similar struggles in money and trying to go to school gave me hope that I could affect someone’s life one day just as they had touched mine.

Receiving the scholarship was not just about the money for me, it showed that even if you are not the most brilliant, people still believe in you. Whenever I think about the Darling family and everything they worked so hard for it pushes me to not only go to school and pass, but to learn and take advantage of the opportunities I am given. Even though it was small in the amount I will spend on college, it was a confidence booster and showed me that no matter what some people think, others, such as the Darlings, believe in me and my abilities. I strive to do my best everyday at school, to continue seeking God in all of my college endeavors, and to help people throughout the community.
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