Varsity Tutors Scholarship Winner

Congratulations to our scholarship winner!
  • Rank: 1
  • 19 Votes
Rebecca Salazar
Panama City, FL
May 2019

From Rubble to Restoration - Varsity Tutors Scholarship Essay

In October of 2018, my hometown was hit by a devastating hurricane that took many lives and destroyed most of the community I grew up in. A few individuals were lucky and were able to take only minor damage from hurricane, but sadly, most families lost their homes. It has been nearly 7 months since the storm and many areas of town have still not been cleaned up and many families, just like mine, still suffer from the loss of their homes. If I were given a $10,000 grant to help my community, I would first start by donating $1,000 to the church I attend, First Baptist. First Baptist Church was hit hard, just as many buildings were and just recently we have been able to start Sunday school again. The $1,000 would be a contribution to help fulfil the needs of the church to continue functioning and help speed up repairs. This would help the church faculty and church members feel confident that their church will be back to normal soon.
After that, I would donate $100 to each of the schools in my district. There are 41 schools and although $100 cannot repair most of the damages the schools had faced, it can help them now by providing for the students, such as clothing or school materials. Many students lost everything in the storm and many are still trying to figure out what shirt they will wear the next day. The schools can use the $100 however they feel necessary, and I would hope they use it to benefit the students’ lives and be able to help them in any way needed.
I would have $4,900 left to distribute to my community and I would give $500 to the kind lunch lady at my school, and to my Sunday school teacher. I met with many individuals whose lives were affected by the storm and it was quite devastating to hear their stories, however both the lunch lady and my Sunday school teacher told stories that touched my heart and helped me stay positive after a terrible disaster. The lunch lady at my school lived in a trailer and several trees had fallen on it and half of it was destroyed. When she told me what happened, my heart went out to her and I felt so bad for the situation she was in, but she told me she was so joyful about having half of her trailer still available. I was shocked that through all this destruction, she was joyful for the small things. She had the biggest, most pure smile on her face and it changed my view on the storm. Yes, it was tragic, but there were still things to be happy about. In the same way, my Sunday school teacher’s home got destroyed as well and she told me all her kids’ items were ruined. Again, I felt bad for her situation, but she told me not to worry because she forgot she had hid some away for Christmas coming up and was able to give those toys to them after the storm. My Sunday school teacher was also able to see the happiness after a bad storm of destruction which inspired me to look at my circumstances the same way.
With the remaining $3,900, I would donate $1,000 each to the two main hospitals in my city. Both were hit and ruined by the storm and so many patients in the hospitals had to be transferred. $1,000 cannot help much with all the repairs they still need, but it can go towards the process of rebuilding and being able to start back better than before. Both hospitals are up and running but not all facilities are open and therefore, the money can help them be able to open more areas and provide for more individuals.
Lastly, with $1,900, I would donate it to my local Air Force Base. The people on base had a mandatory evacuation for the storm, and many families could not return home because their houses were rubble. Even today, the base is mostly uninhabited and has not seen any repairs. The Nation is wanting to help keep the Base open, but so far, we have not gotten any help nor funds. Therefore, $1,900 would go to the Air Force Base to help them in any way possible.
After the storm, my town is not as lively nor outgoing, every part of the city is destroyed in one way or another. I do pray one day this city will return back to the way it was before the storm, beautiful and filled with joy and life. If given a $10,000 grant, I would want to help my community try and get back on its feet and thrive more than it did before the storm.