Congratulations to Erika Sorto, an incoming freshman at Juniata College in Huntingdon, PA, who is our Spring 2022 Nicholas A. Pennipede Memorial Scholarship winner! Erika is leaning towards a career in education and teaching. She will receive $1,000 from Eye Associates to apply toward her education. We found her essay inspiring, especially her ability to overcome numerous obstacles, including learning English! She wrote, in part:
"In addition to the language barrier, I had to work out everything on my own, such as understanding how to keep up with school work, using a laptop for all the online programs (particularly during COVID), and making plans for going to college. I couldn't rely on my parents' advice as a first-generation immigrant student. My parents' lack of understanding of how the school operated pushed me to learn everything on my own. My parents always told me "preguntando se llega a Roma" which means "asking, one gets to Rome.”
"Whenever I didn’t know something, I asked and thankfully my teachers and friends often could help.Their help progressed from assisting me in learning English to assisting me in pursuing further education. The school journey continues to be arduous. I have been accepted to five colleges, but I will need financial assistance to reach my goal of getting a higher education. This opportunity Eye Associates is giving me will provide me with money for my personal expenses and will make this path accessible for me."
"What motivates me to keep pushing forward to find a way is my parents. They sacrificed so much of their life to come to America so that I could go to college. My desire to realize their dream of me being the first in my family to attend college is a huge part of my motivation. As of right now, I'm still exploring what area of study I want to pursue, but, because of the impact I have seen education have on me, and the direct impact I may have on others' lives, I'm leaning toward a profession in education and teaching."
It is truly our privilege to offer annual financial assistance to motivated, hard working students like Erika. Eye Associates provides two Nicholas A. Pennipede Memorial Scholarships each year (spring and fall). For application information, please visit our scholarship page.