Horatio Alger Association has one of the nation's largest college financial aid programs in the country, the Horatio Alger National Scholarship Program. It is the only major scholarship effort that specifically assists high school students who have faced and overcome great obstacles [including homelessness] in their young lives. While many aid programs are directed primarily to recognizing academic achievement or leadership potential, the Horatio Alger program also seeks students who have a commitment to use their college degrees in service to others.
The National Scholarship Program is awarded to eligible students in all fifty states, the District of Columbia, and Puerto Rico. National Scholars receive an all-expenses paid trip to Washington D.C. during the spring of their senior year to participate in the National Scholars Conference.
To receive the Horatio Alger Scholarship is a great honor to me. Out of thousands of applicants, I was 1 of 104 young people chosen to receive the award. Receiving it was a blessing. I am truly thankful for all the opportunities that the association has presented to me.
Growing up, I didn’t have the motivation and dedication I have today. I was abandoned by my parents and grew up with a crazy woman. Some people say I should thank God for my hardships. I agree, because these experiences made me stronger as an individual.
At the conference in Washington, D.C, I had life-changing experiences. Some of which are hard to explain. However, to meet all 103 other people with similar stories as mine, was disappointing (in that they had to go through such hardships) but also satisfying. I knew if they got through their hardships, then I can get through mine. We all motivate each other to succeed. We still talk to each other through social networking when we are feeling down or stressed.
Winning this scholarship gave me another family. Another group of people I can count on to support me, to guide me, and to motivate me through difficult times. It is with great honor that I accept the title “Horatio Alger National Scholar”.
Nicholas Timm is a Horatio Alger National Scholar and currently attends Wentworth Institute of Technology in Boston. In 2010 and 2011 Give US Your Poor partnered with the Horatio Alger Association to reach out nationally to high school students that had experienced homelessness to apply for college scholarships. Nicholas now volunteers for Give US Your Poor; this essay first appeared on the Horatio Alger blog in a similar form.