Aunt Martha

by Samuel Post
(Canandaigua, New York)

Sample Scholarship Essay

She arrived with my Uncle Mark from Charlotte tightly gripping her book, Very Easy Crossword Puzzles. Normally, Martha’s persona was larger than Elvis, and she was always the center of attention. However on the day of her arrival to begin a new life with our family, her demure 4’10” frame and winning smile were overshadowed by a sense of bittersweet emotion- excitement to be with a family who welcomed her with open arms and a deep sorrow over the loss of her parents. Martha was my 52 year old Down’s Syndrome aunt who came to live, and eventually die with my family. Little did I know she would become the most influential person in my life.

Martha’s life quickly became more active than she had ever known. She welcomed the fast paced excitement of a house filled with children, helping out everywhere she could. I was amazed the first time I saw the giant smile appear on her face after she finished cleaning the dishes. I questioned how something so small could cause such a great sense of accomplishment. It was then that I began to notice how hard she worked at simply making her bed. She rarely asked for help and never gave up on any task. Soon, she became involved with the Association for Retarded Citizens (ARC) where she rode a bus to work daily and received her very first paycheck. With a radiant smile and a steadfast attitude, Martha was ready to take on any challenge that awaited her.

It wasn’t until after her death that I realized how profound an impact she had on my life. Living with Martha taught me many things. For one, she taught me that a smile can be infectious. Because of her, I try to smile more and find the goodness in all things. I can often be seen greeting and holding the door for others. More often than not, the kindness is reciprocated. Martha also taught me to constantly challenge myself. She taught me to face my frustrations and fears with a bold heart. She demonstrated to me the resiliency and humility to get back up and start over when I failed, undeterred. It is because of her that I decided to challenge myself to become a better student athlete and transfer to Tabor Academy, a school more than six hours from my home. Through her, I developed a courageous spirit that followed me to Tabor as I struggled with my own new environment. I took advantage of Tabor and its unique seaside setting with Marine Science courses, Nautical courses, and Astronomy. Academically, Tabor challenged me, but with each quarter I improved. I also continued to broaden and challenge my athletic experience by playing three Varsity sports, a rarity at Tabor, while learning the important skill of time management.

But most importantly, Martha taught me that with determination, anything can be accomplished. She struggled with nearly everything she did because her cognitive and motor skills were so low. Incredibly, Martha always persevered. I learned that if I put my mind to it, I can accomplish anything. My goal to play hockey at the highest level attainable in college will hopefully come to fruition next year because of my work ethic and strong sense of determination. This summer, I was given the opportunity to visit a new friend from Tabor who lives in Hong Kong. My parents agreed but said I had to pay for the trip myself. Determined to not let this opportunity pass by, I worked 50 hour work weeks in construction while volunteering at the ARC as well as staying committed to my summer athletic and academic obligations. Martha would have done nothing less. Not a day goes by where
I do not think of her and the lessons she taught me and realize the profound impact she has had on my life. I have learned that one needs to find one's own happiness, for it does not always come to your house wrapped up in a 4’10” frame.

Comment from your friendly team at College Financial Aid Advice

Thank you Samuel for sharing your inspirational story about you Aunt Martha for us to include in our scholarship essay samples.

He Is My Hero

Alessandra, Virginia

College Essay - His name is Leo and he is my hero. When I was three years old, I realized I had a special needs brother. I always knew there was something different about my family than others, but could never quite figure it out. Other friends had older brothers who could walk, talk and play, but my brother could not. My brother couldn’t talk, or walk and he had a machine that helped him breath. I knew he was an angel sent from heaven.

My parents gave me the best childhood they could offer while caring for a terminally ill son. I played soccer and volleyball while attending dance, violin, and singing lessons. In between all this, my parents worked and spent time with Leo. As I got older I understood the disease Leo had was a genetic disorder that either of my parent’s children could be born with. When I understood this, I realized how lucky I was to be a normal healthy child. I was in fact, a miracle baby.

Leo was not supposed to survive infancy, but because of all the love and precious care we gave him, he preceded all life expectancies the doctors predicted for him. He loved life, loved his family, and we loved him back. He had a will to survive and he fooled all the doctors that kept saying he would die as a baby. He survived numerous pneumonia illnesses and beat several code blue scares. Leo also had a sense of humor; he knew how to make his breathing erratic and set off his alarms. When the nurses or my parents would go check on him, he would be smiling and giggling. I loved when he did that.

On February 28, 2004, I was nine years of age. I came home from school to see my mom crying in the living room. All she had to do was look at me and knew my 12 year old angel had returned to the heavens. My hero was gone. At that moment, I realized how precious life is and how much I was going to miss him; how much he meant to me, and how much I looked up to him. I saw his love for life, his desire to overcome, and his will to fight and win. I wanted to be just like him. Anytime I was on that soccer field aiming for that goal, I said “This one’s for you Leo”. When I stepped on the stage to play my violin with my high school orchestra, I said “This is for you Leo”. As I walk across the stage and receive my high school diploma in June, I will say “This is for you Leo – we did it”. And as I walk into my college dorm room for the first time, I will say “We will do this together Leo” because I know he is forever with me.

Read more College Admission Essay Examples and Scholarship Essay Examples.

Comment from your friendly team at College Financial Aid Advice

Thank you Alessandra for sharing your moving essay about your brother Leo. We will include this in our college of College Essays. Best of luck to you in college.

HomeCollege Essays

Return to Share Your College Essay.


Welcome to College Financial Aid Advice, a website full of information on scholarships and grants, student loans, and other ways to save money at college.

Important Things to Do

Scholarships for 2022 - It is never too early or too late to work on your scholarship searches. If you are part of the high school class of 2022, you should work on your scholarship and college search now. See our list of Scholarships for High School Seniors

FAFSA - The official 2022 - 2023 FAFSA is available now. See information about FAFSA.

College Financial Aid Tips

Scholarship Lists An overview of the different types of Scholarship Money for College.

Grants Learn more about grants, the other free money for college.

Need Tuition Help? Reduce the cost of tuition with these college Tuition Assistance Programs.

Tax Credit Claim the American Opportunity Tax Credit.

College Savings Plans Save money for college with these College Savings Plans.

Need a Student Loan? Yes, you qualify for these college Student Loans.

Popular Scholarship Searches

Scholarships for High School Students

Scholarships for College Students

Easy Scholarships

Scholarship Contests

Weird Unknown Scholarships

Merit Based Scholarships

Scholarships for Minorities

College Scholarships for Women