June Carpinone Family Scholarship Essays – Overcoming Challenges

Glydel Go is a graduating senior at Ossining High School. She will attend SUNY New Paltz in the fall. Go is editor-in-chief of OHS’s Creative Writing Club and literary magazine Interval, she’s involved in theatre, and in the Senior Capstone Internship Program. She loves creative writing and spoken word events.

The Carpinone family, owners of Dwyer and Michaels Funeral Home in Tarrytown, have created a scholarship for students from Ossining and Sleepy Hollow high schools. Each month for the next four issues, we will publish essays from students from both schools. Each student will receive a $750 scholarship in memory of Carmine Carpinone’s father and brother.  

by Glydel Go  

To spare yourself from heartache was to accept the reality of what was lost and shield yourself from the grief of it; that was what I believed before my grandma died. It wasn’t healthy, but it was the lie I told to protect myself. We tell ourselves this lie so we don’t dread when they die or cry at their funerals. But in the end, we’re hurting ourselves more by hiding that reality. 

I believed in that perspective because I was afraid of dying with her. The times she sacrificed to better our lives would pass away with her on the hospital bed, and if I refused to say goodbye enough, maybe I could hinder it. Yet I kept telling myself she was gone as she still breathed. Why deny the inevitable? 

At last, the inevitable came and the light took her hand. I flew to Texas dreading why we soared above. Dreading the comfort we desperately needed. The last thing I wanted was to be with people sharing the same pain as me. What I thought I needed was to be alone. But I would be proved wrong the minute we landed there. 

When we feel our worst, we gravitate towards isolation. I’m no stranger to the numbness you force upon yourself to push away sadness or even embarrassment from that sadness, for I always thought that was how to handle any emotion. 

But seeing a dead body for the first time changes a person.  

To spare yourself from heartache was to accept the reality of what was lost and shield yourself from the grief of it; that was what I believed before I saw my grandma dead. The corpse I saw confronted me and instantly, I was met with the truth. 

When someone we love dies, we all die a little collectively, but what triumphs over death is the life we allow to continue. If I were to stand over my grandma now, my biggest regret would be that improper goodbye. But memories don’t end with death. The memories we treasure, the moments we spend together, are why grief is so heavy. We hurt because we loved. 

Whether I grieve or am grieved, I hope to have treasured the time I spent with those I care about. Being in the darkness alone is not the answer because grief is love; not isolation. It’s meant to be felt together. 

Sleepy Hollow’s Angel Cabanillas will be attending Mercy College in the fall to major in Computer Science. Cabanillas played varsity soccer for over two years and has tutored many of my peers at the ENL Homework Center in English, math and history.

by Angel P Cabanillas Garcia   

When I first arrived in the United States in 2018, my greatest challenge and change was learning the language: Changing from a country that spoke only Spanish to one where the principal language was English was frustrating. But now I’m happy and proud of the new culture I was able to learn about and what I achieved living in this country.  

Mastering a new language was difficult. This wasn’t because I was unable to learn it; rather, I felt anxious about the pace of my learning; I wanted to learn as quickly as possible. For four years, I suffered, cried, and felt discriminated against, just because I could not speak as fluently as others. But I was diligent in studying, working with dedication in every English class. Slowly, I improved with hard work and practice. However, I would get tired or frustrated thinking about what if I was born in this country … because I would speak English fluently and Spanish would be my second language; I wouldn’t have the troubles I was experiencing.  

But I realized I wouldn’t be me: My culture, my religion, my personal values would be different, as would my grades and my school successes. So, I stopped thinking “what if …” and I focused on the present and my future.  

After I already had succeeded in my English skills, I decided to help others that were in the process of learning the new language, most of them were Hispanic students, same as me. That’s why I got into the ENL Homework center, where students would go there and receive help for their homework and school projects. Most of them were students that did not speak English fluently, and I decided to go there and do my community service, by helping students who were in the same situation as me when I first arrived in Sleepy Hollow. I learned how to be patient at the moment of teaching and explaining the topics, and also, I understood their difficulties because I also struggled with my schoolwork in my first years of high school. 

I know how it feels to not feel part of a new place, such as school, but I still tried my best, and also tried my best to help the other students who were struggling with their English skills. Now that I am almost graduating from high school, I enjoyed all of those moments where I was expanding my knowledge when I was helping the other students, because I also learned new things with them, and that is what I loved the most. 

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