Gracia Mondragon won a tuition-free scholarship to Hope College along with a private scholarship from individuals near Holland, Michigan. While I may be a bit partial to her as she has dated Tyler for the last two years, I also think her ideas of how to transform health care in Honduras are pretty great. Along with applying to colleges, she has run her own bakery in order to pay for college entrance exams and application fees on her own! In all the years that I have been a school counselor, I have never had a student do this. If you live in the Michigan area, let her borrow your kitchen. You won’t regret it! Read her essay below to get to know her.
For the last few days, I have been sitting here thinking about what I should write. I have asked this question over and over again, “Grace, who are you?” I tried writing about myself many times and failed. I finally realized that I cannot talk about myself without including the people and experiences that have made me who I am. Therefore, in the following blog, I want to talk about two of the most important people in my life and how their influence has affected my view of the world.
My mother is the type of person that everyone wants to be around. If I had to describe her in one word, that word would be love. There has not been a single time in my life where I haven’t seen her showing love for others. Her kindness, sincerity, humility, and wisdom are all incredibly evident for those who have the blessing of knowing her. I remember taking long trips when I was a little kid to take care of grandma, she had cancer, and no one else was willing to help. Her willingness to do things no matter how big or small is one of the things that I love the most about her. She gives cheerfully, invests her time, her heart, and all she has without expecting anything in return. My mother is strong, gentle, and loving like no other woman I know.
My dad, on the other hand, is a man of character. He speaks boldly and is willing to sacrifice everything he has for the sake of his loved ones. My entire life, He has shown me the importance of perseverance. We have lost a lot as a family over the past few years. My grandmother, a treasure for everyone who knew her, passed away a couple months ago. Her loss was one of the most painful moments my family has experienced. I saw my dad weeping and hurting like never before. I cannot imagine what losing your mother with such short notice feels like. However, I can imagine the strength it takes out of a man to lose his first love. He endured that trial and many others that the world will never know about. He is strong and speaks boldly but he loves passionately and sacrifices selflessly.
Ever since I was a kid my parents have taught me that the best way to love is to serve. Their example inspired me to live my life in a way that not only shows love towards people but also towards what I do. They have raised me to fight and stand firm no matter how hard a circumstance might get. I have learned that the secret behind endurance is your willingness to stand back up after that painful fall. Therefore, I have become a young entrepreneur to pay for my college applications. I have also volunteered as a translator for my school community helping in any way I can.
“Grace, who are you?”
At the beginning of this blog, I said I wanted to tell you about how other people influenced my life so that I could properly show you who I am. Now it is time to answer my own question. I am a sixteen-year-old girl from a little country in Central America, who is willing to give her all to achieve what her heart desires. I am passionate about what I do, and when life starts to get hard, I do not quit. I love people wholeheartedly, and I am willing to serve others in everything that I do. I am the daughter of a wonderful couple who loves and never gives up. I am an achiever and want to be part of Hope College’s alumni, knowing that their acceptance does not define me, but it does open a door to reach one of my dreams.
A final note by Kristi
Applying as an international student to colleges in the US is a bit different than the application process for a US student. It takes great grades, several interviews, more academic tests and TONS of perseverance… and all of this while learning remotely in a pandemic. For this reason, I am especially proud of our students who have overcome multiple obstacles to fulfill their dreams of studying in the US then will return to serve in “our” country. Over the coming weeks, I would like to introduce y’all to “my” kids that are heading your way. Write to them. Take them to dinner. Send them a care package. Check in on them. Above all else, please be in prayer for them (and their parents).
*For the record, I have a list of kids that are going to school here that I am equally proud of but fortunately, they will be close enough to their parents to receive their support.