Congratulations to Diana De Leon of Wylie, Texas! Diana will receive a $1,000 scholarship to help her with her studies at the University of Houston in San Antonio. Diana is a driven student majoring in Hotel and Restaurant Management. Her dream is to open a bakery in her hometown after she graduates.
As part of the scholarship submission process, we require that all applicants submit an essay answering the prompt, What does patriotism mean to you?
As we read through applications from all over the United States, it became exceedingly clear to us that young American rural voices have a lot of insight into the meaning of patriotism. Diana is no exception. In her essay, she described the many ways her hometown exemplifies the patriotism that shines brightly in so many small communities across the United States. She also tells the story of her Air Force JROTC instructor, Senior Master Sergeant Larry Lewis, a mentor who helped her understand patriotism on a deeper level—using her AFJROTC team as a model for the greater community.
Here's an excerpt from her essay:
“[In our AFJROTC program] Although we often disagreed on some decisions made, Senior Master Sergeant Lewis always made sure we were on the same page…and told us we needed to support the decision we made together, even if a few of us disagreed. He took it a step further and said, “The same concept applies to our country. We may not support and agree with every decision made by our people and government, but we still stand by our country and should be proud to live here”.
It is clear to us that Diana is proud to call Wylie her hometown, and she’s proud of the sense of patriotism she cultivated growing up there. We also have no doubt that she will return to Wylie and become a successful business owner, contributing to her community, providing jobs, and serving as a positive role model for future generations.
She credits her family as a primary source of motivation for her dreams, “My younger brother motivates me the most. He is on the Autism spectrum and he’s one of the many reasons I decided to study business. I want him to have a good future ahead of him and the possibility of being independent. Unfortunately, not many businesses will hire people with special needs due to lack of understanding how to manage them. I hope my younger brother can get a job he wants in the future, but if he is struggling, he could always make a living in my business when I open one.
I try to inspire others to keep people with special needs in mind by sharing my brother’s story with them. Through sharing my story, I hope they will be motivated to either accommodate their businesses for guests with special needs or learn about special needs so that when an employee with them comes along, they will know how to manage them,” she said.
We commend Diana for using her skills to help bring awareness to those with special needs, and we commend her for being a great example of a young patriot.
A Biannual Scholarship for Rural Students
We will continue to offer the Beacon® Scholarship for Rural America as a biannual award, with two, $1,000 awards being offered each fall, and one, $1,000 each spring. Visit the Beacon® Scholarship page for details and deadline information.
Upcoming deadlines for the 2019-2020 Beacon® Scholarship for Rural America are:
- June 30, 2019 – We will be awarding two winners for the fall semester
Visit /beacon-scholarship to apply and share this blog to help us spread the word about this great scholarship opportunity!