Stephanie Espinosa

November 11th, 2011 ·
  • 2011 Duignan Wilkins Family High Hopes Scholarship recipient
  • Sarah Lawrence College

My mother’s diagnosis completely changed the way I look at life. Growing up I was shy, even timid. I couldn’t look people in the eye as I walked down the street. I felt inhibited, unable to open. My mother’s cancer forced me to learn to be assertive and confident. Because she was so severely disabled, my sister and I had to work out problems on our own. My mother’s cancer affected me in other ways as well. So, much was at stake that my priorities change. I was in high school, surrounded by my peers, but so much different from them. I could not stand the drama and rumors of high school—they seemed so insignificant to me. My mother was suffering and I became intolerant to superficialities. My father is refusing to provide me with any support for college, and my mother who is too disabled to work, can’t help me. But I am committed to going to college no matter what it takes. My experiences at Berkeley High and in my family have encouraged my intellectual and social independence. I feel prepared to enter this next phase of my life.

“Stephanie is an incredible human being with a kind heart and keen intellect. I have been blessed to support her in her quest for higher education. I have watched her grow from a young girl facing the mortality of her mother to a young woman ready to embrace her own future, and I can honestly say it has been a life lesson for me. She is truly one of the most mature and independent students I have met in my career.”

Teacher, Berkeley High School