Twice a year JRC hosts a scholarship essay competition, where one deserving student earns a $1,000 scholarship for higher education.
We’re pleased to introduce the winner of the Spring 2016 scholarship award, Darwin Carozza. Darwin is currently a senior at Merrimack High School in Merrimack, New Hampshire. He’ll be attending Norwich University next year where he’ll join the Corps of Cadets. His plan is to commission as a military officer and join the US Army with a degree in Cyber Security. Here is Darwin’s winning essay submission:
“Helping Mrs. Johnson”
I was 10 years old when Mr. Johnson died; this was a shocking day for our town. I still remember waiting in line for forty minutes in the cold weather to pay our respects; my mother insisted we needed to go. It was surprising to see so many people at a wake, especially during the last hour.
To be honest; I didn’t even know there were that many people in our town. It was about 20 degrees warmer inside the building; we stood in line for what felt like an eternity. People were tearing up, some sharing laughs and funny stories and others just looked around as if lost in their own thoughts.
The walls covered with an assortment of portraits and a big screen played a slide show of his life. Images of a young couple getting married, newborn children, vacations at the beach, faces smeared with birthday cakes, baptisms, Mr. Johnson teaching his kids how to swim and more pictures of Mr. Johnson coaching different sports. Another wall had more pictures of family gatherings and more collections of college age people partying. The last picture before entering the somber room had him wearing a Hawaiian shirt, goofy sunglasses with a tropical drink in his hand with a giant smile. A woman in line behind us said to my mom, “He’s probably living the life now.”
I remember feeling confused. We did not stay for long; there were too many people in the large building and Mrs. Johnson looked aged and exhausted. I don’t think she wanted another hug; there were no tears on her face. It was a short ride home; we briefly discussed the situation. Apparently, Mrs. Johnson was going to need a lot of help from everyone, and my parents were planning to help as much as possible. My mom explained the concept of life insurance to me; she said she learned about it working part-time for an insurance agency. She saw many families go through hardship because they were not prepared when death arrived.
My dad joked about how that was the first battle he lost, and how my mom forced him to buy life insurance only days after coming home from their honeymoon. She explains that they couldn’t afford much and that they needed to buy a policy while they were young. Many people think that they cannot afford life insurance, but don’t think twice about paying hundreds of dollars for other things. The effects of the unexpected passing of the breadwinner can leave a family in a terrible emotional and financial situation. So many families lose their homes, their financial stability and everything they work so hard to accomplish. Sadly, the death of a loved one brings expenses, financial challenges, and bills that are often too devastating for a family. In conclusion, whether we believe or not we are planners, we do a lot of planning in our life. We spend countless hours a day dreaming, planning our vacations, our careers, our relationships. We plan for our retirement, for the rainy days and plan even for plans. We buy plans to protect our cell phones, our cars, and our appliances; however, when it comes to life insurance many fail to plan for the only thing that is certain in life, death.
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