Evan Neff

November 11th, 2011 ·
  • 2011 Peters Family High Hopes Scholarship recipient
  • University of California, Santa Cruz

Four months later, after seeing half-dozen doctors in search of a diagnosis, my condition has a name: Juvenile Ankylosing Spondylitis—advanced arthritis of the hips. Before my diagnosis, I believed that I would never walk again. Now I treasure my restored freedom above all else. While some may take life for granted, I appreciate the little things, because I know what it is like to be deprived of them. During my confinement, I found courage and determination.  I discovered the importance of family support as structure and my empathy for others grew. By junior year, I recovered from my illness and was ready to return to school. Looking ahead, I am excited about college. I plan to expand my learning, explore and perfect my filmmaking and photography skills and connect with the international art community. Eventually, I want to travel the world, documenting my experiences and illuminating global issues through digital media. Having survived the experience of being confined to a chair for eight months, I hope to impact the world through action.

“Evan is easily the most hard-working, high-achieving and compassionate student I have ever taught in my fourteen years at Berkeley High School.”

Teacher, Berkeley High School