Home Depot: 2013 Orange Honor Military Spouse Scholarship

2013 Winner: Maria Sellars, Navy Spouse

To read the 2013 winning essay, click to page 2.

2013 Finalists:

Meagan Pearce
Robin Mireles
Kristen Fensom
Maria Sellars
Kama Shockey
Alyssa Murray
Priscilla Hurt
Stefani Williams
Danielle Allison
Ashley West

2012 Winner: Marisa Ericksen, National Guard Spouse

2012 Finalists:

Ashlee Walker
Marisa Ericksen
Laura Albitron
Kathleen Pester
Yvette Kunce
Heather Rutherford
Mary Ann Esmieu
Aimee Poeggel
Dawn D.
Erin Adams
Julye Covel

View the Complete Rules

How to Enter for the 2013 Scholarship:

Submit a 750-1250 word essay. The topic: “How would earning a college degree positively impact your life?” Only one entry per person and any prize awarded in the Contest will only be made to the Contest entrant.

You must enter by 5:00 pm EDT on June 28, 2013.

Contest Details:

The submitted essay must be in Microsoft Word or a compatible format and must be between 750 and 1250 words in length. Ten (10) finalists will be selected out of all valid entries. A Grand Prize Winner will then be selected by a panel of judges from The Home Depot Corporation. Winner will be selected out of all the entries and contacted via email or phone.

Longing to Change Lives, essay by Maria Sellars

Our economy is collapsing. Food prices are skyrocketing, and gas has never been so expensive. In big cities like San Diego, homeless people haunt downtown streets and avenues looking for ways to fill the brokenness inside their hearts. In schools, kids are turning to any outlet to escape the realities of their lives, to escape the loudness of their parents’ yelling, and escape the chaos that the world inflicts on their souls daily. Who will they turn to when their parents have to work two jobs just to meet basic needs? Who will give them hope that they can break the molds? Who will assure them that tomorrow will be a brighter day?

To me, life isn’t about the money. Life isn’t about how much stuff you can collect before you die, or even how many people you can get to like you on Facebook. Life is about love. Life is about reaching out to your neighbor even if it means you might be rejected in your efforts to show love to them. Life is about helping those who need to be helped. And this is why I have devoted my time, money, and education to helping people. Obtaining a college degree would maximize my opportunities to extend a helping hand to those who have fallen victim to society’s you’re-not-good-enough agenda. Hello, my name is Maria Sellars, and I’ve been called to make a difference.

Allow me to briefly tell you who I am. I am a loyal wife of two years to my husband who is actively serving in the U.S. Navy. I am an active member of our local church. I am a proud mother of a one-year-old little girl, and I am a college student pursuing a bachelor’s degree in human development. From my experience, it isn’t easy to have high aspirations and goals while being a military spouse. My first military move consisted of giving up my dreams of attending a local college with friends, quitting my job as a manager at Subway in Florida, and also moving across the country to California to marry my newly uniformed boyfriend. Adjusting to being a military spouse has been one of the most difficult things in my life, and becoming pregnant after only being married a month didn’t make it any easier. But I have embraced my new family, new roles, and new home. I’ve continued to look on the bright side of things, and in March 2013 I began the process of being enrolled at San Diego Christian College of El Cajon in order to achieve my dream of a college degree.

During my short time of taking online classes, I have already been challenged to state exactly why I believe I have been put here in this world. I’ve come to the conclusion that I am here to counsel people and simply love them. I’ve also decided that having a high school diploma isn’t enough to accomplish the things that I would like to accomplish. I need more influence, more knowledge, and a more defining resume that tells companies I am someone to have on their team because I am someone who cares. With a college degree, I’ll have that influence, knowledge, and resume I need to reach out to people I would never have been able to reach out to before. And being a military spouse will not stop my life long mission. This is why my entire degree will be completed online. No, it wasn’t my first choice. I would much rather be able to go on campus to study and be able to see my professors and classmates in person. But as circumstances have it, I would be unable to function normally and also attend campus classes if I pursued that route. I believe that my husband, my daughter, and even my professors will all receive the best of me by attending college completely online.

At the moment, my passion is to become a counselor. I have not yet specified what type of counselor I’d like to become mainly because I am very open to any possibilities that may arise. Which a bachelor’s degree, I could become a social worker and help mend little hearts that have been caught up in an unhealthy environment. I will be able to comfort them as these children bounce from home to home without any idea why this is happening. Children have always had a special place in my heart, and I believe that it is our responsibility as humans to take care of them when unfortunate and life-altering events happen.

With a bachelor’s degree, I could help revive marriages of couples thathave long believed that their flame had died out ages ago. Personally, I don’t believe in divorce, so I would exhaust all resources to rekindle the fire between two lovers. Marriage is a give and take relationship. Both partners must come to the realization that the other person has feelings, hopes, dreams, and flaws. If I can obtain this degree, I could shine light on husbands and wives who have been living in the dark for too long.

When I extend my knowledge beyond a simple high school diploma, I would not only be able to live out my dream to serve and love those around me, but I would also be able to support my family if need be. With my husband being on patrol boats in foreign seas, my worst fear is that his boat would become a target. In the tragic event that something so heart wrenchingly awful would happen, at least I would be able to provide a steady income for my daughter and myself. As the saying goes, “it’s better to be safe than to be sorry.” My father instilled in me the belief that you must be able to fend for yourself whenever the unexpected happens.

With all this said, in summary, my desire in life is to just be a blessing on those I encounter day to day. I long to be that listening ear that can help ease the burdens of my fellow Americans, or even stretch out further into the world and counsel those in other countries. My college degree has never been about making more money, but about changing the world I live in through love. I will continue to push forward in my efforts regardless of what is to come because this is my dream.

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