Scholar Spotlight – Ethan
Growing up Ethan has always loved letters. Not just for the simple symbols they represent on the surface, but also for the power each individual symbol has. For example, Ethan explains that letters make words, clauses, sentences culminating into something as complex as college essay. This love for the power of letters probably came from his father. When Ethan was 10 years old, his father went to prison, but Ethan wouldn’t really understand why for many years. He communicated with his dad using an Atbash Cipher during those early, more innocent years.
Letters also have the power to label a person. Like most students, Ethan always strove for his favorite letter, A. But also like many students, he found it difficult to obtain the label “A Student”. He heard the same thing from his teachers and parents, “Ethan is intelligent, but he doesn’t apply himself” and by high school, when his consistent As turned to Cs and Ds, he began his emotional and mental health spiral into distress and a suicide attempt.
Fortunately, Ethan was able to get help and was admitted to a local psychiatric hospital. The first thing he noticed upon admission was a new label. On a whiteboard, he learned he was an S. He learned that all of the patients had a letter associated with their names according to their admission status. “D was for Discharged. Everyone wanted to become D. Nobody needed to become D. But eventually, we all did.” It was there that he learned a new set of letters that began to define his life: ADHD. “Suddenly the As and Bs and the Ds and Fs were all behind me. I was a new person, with an enhanced understanding of my own mind.”
“I am the author of my own story,”
We are excited offer a new set of identifying letters: JCRF Family Member. It shouldn’t come as a surprise that Ethan will be majoring in English/Writing at Western Carolina University. The essay that he wrote for us as a part of his application was published in his local high school paper, it’s honestly the best essay I have ever read, and we read hundreds every year. It still gives me goose bumps. But what Ethan doesn’t talk about is the fact that he is an Eagle Scout. His Eagle Scout project was to create a common cupboard for the elderly. He also writes in his free time, which makes sense. He is going to change the world with his writing.
Scholar Spotlight – Rian
Rian had visual hallucinations all his life. Starting at the age of 5, although they were very disturbing, he thought everyone saw them. He never told anyone because he didn’t know it was abnormal. That was until middle school, when his hallucinations began to manifest into debilitating experiences, leading to worrisome self-harming and suicidal behaviors. […]