Steph's Dream Education

I would like to preface this by thanking the office of financial aid at Ithaca College for being so giving to me and my family in order for me to attend this school. The amount of financial support given to me has made an impossible dream come true. A dream that every single person in my family had given up on. Our financial situation had become so desperate that, despite the work my mother and I put in to attend auditions, tours, and shadow days; all while not being able to afford hotels, barely being able to afford gas, and packing food so that we would not spend money on food, we would have to give up and I would not be able to attend a four-year college in 2019. When I received Ithaca College’s acceptance letter I was overjoyed. An excellent music program wanted me! Not only did I have somewhere to go, but I had somewhere amazing to go; somewhere I loved, the place my mother wanted me to go more than anywhere else. I had an opportunity to study music, it felt unreal.
     So many wonderful things came out of my Senior year of high school, but many tragedies also came out of that year as well. My brother lost his job, my father had been unemployed for a year, my mother was getting older and cleaning houses was getting more and more arduous to do for eight hours a day. I had just spent all summer working impossibly hard to make as much money as possible and to raise money so that I could complete my private Catholic school education. When the school year began the work certainly did not stop. I began applying to colleges, applying for scholarships, applying for financial aid, driving to auditions, and working twelve hour shifts to support my family. My mother tried so hard to make it so that I could save my money for college but we needed groceries, gas, car repairs, to make mortgage payments, etc.. It pained her to have to use the checks coming from her seventeen-year old daughter but I did not mind, she was my mother, it was my family, it was my duty to support them in any way they needed; I did it without hesitation. 
    As the year moved along, so many great things were happening, but the mental health of everyone in my household was suffering. My mother was growing depressed from her job that put so much stress on her muscles.  I was accepted into college, I was given so much financial aid, things were looking up. I worked two jobs over the summer; I gave my mother some money but I put most of it into my savings, things were falling into place. I moved off to college and began the next part of my life. College has been incredible. This campus is my home, I love my classes, I love my friends, I love everything about this experience. I returned home for the first time in two months this past weekend; my stomach hurts just thinking about it. My brother and father still do not have jobs, my mother comes home everyday to find that nothing is different, they are surviving on almost no money, everyone has lost weight. My mother is in a more depressive state than I have ever seen her and yet she refuses to let me get a job in Ithaca to support them. They are surviving, barely, but surviving. It hurt me so badly to leave them and have to put them in the back of my mind because school is the most important thing in my life right now, but it had to be done.
      That is my situation. It is miserable, unfortunate, and I wish more than anything in the world I could change it. I truly never saw myself doing this but it has reached this point. I am asking for more money. I want to do my best to make everyone reading this understand, I LOVE this school. I have not been this happy and passionate for this long of a period of time in years. I have been granted the opportunity of a lifetime, I am living my childhood dream, something almost no one has the opportunity to do. I have met the best people here, I have incredible professors, I can see myself graduating here and my life going in every direction I want it to go. I would be crushed if I had to leave because I did not have the financial means to continue living my dream. I hope whoever is reading this can understand or relate to what I am saying. I need your help, I have no where else to turn I have paid everything I can. I am asking from the bottom of my heart, I am reaching out to the kindness and sympathy in each of us. Please, anything will help.

-Stephanie Monteiro
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Stephanie Monteiro 
Marlborough, MA