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Jessica’s Story

In June of 2012, I was a 17-year-old high school student with big dreams of going to university and setting myself up for happy and healthy life that involved a fulfilling career. Many of my friends had similar dreams but they had both the financial support and emotional support from their families to go to university. Their parents were planning on paying for their tuition and they had support in choosing a university and program.

Unfortunately, my situation was a bit different. Although I was a good student, I never received straight A’s. I was in learning assistance for many years in elementary school and was raised by a single mother in a low-income household. I not only had lower grades than my friends but I also had no financial support or support in applying to university. Since I was the first person in my family planning on attending university, none of my family members knew how to guide me through the overwhelming process of choosing a university, applying to a program and navigating my way through my first semester. Nonetheless, my stubborn self was planning on pursuing an education even with the barriers I faced.

When I was told about the opportunity of applying to a long list of student awards through the Abbotsford Community Foundation in Grade 12, I was reluctant because I thought to myself “I’ll never be successful in getting a scholarship or bursary.” I thought that there were smarter students than me as well as students who were in greater financial need than me. Nonetheless, I put in my application not expecting much.

More than a just a scholarship

On the day of my high school convocation, I was shocked when I heard my name called. This is something I was not expecting and still to this day I remember that moment so vividly because of the excitement and joy it brought.

The ACF Student award was that extra push of encouragement I needed.

Although the scholarship was only a portion of the tuition costs I would end up paying, it was that extra push of encouragement and support telling me that I could do this and I’m forever grateful for that. All the support and encouragement I received throughout my studies, including the grant I received through the Abbotsford Community Foundation, are what led me to accepting my Bachelor of Arts degree at the 2019 UFV Convocation Ceremony.