Scholarship entry from:

Khayshyla McElroy

Oak Lawn Community High School

School District 229

Losses can be gains

Life comes with many obstacles. The best way to overcome those barriers is to go through them, “The best revenge is massive success”. I’ve had so many losses in my life that I get pushed to do my best to make those I lost proud of my accomplishments. I feel my characteristics are dedication, genuine and resourceful due to the events in my life. Revenge can either be good or bad, my retaliation on the loved ones I lost will benefit both of us. Making those around me astonishingly happy is my biggest goal and will give me relief from those I lost. I’ve been told by others that I do not grieve well; therefore, I shut down from society and focus on myself and my loved ones. Family is something I depend on the most, without them I would have no guidance in life. Khashyla McElroy has to realize that the decisions and choices I make are not only for me but for those I cherish and look up to as well, which is illustrated by my father’s passing, working at a young age, and my wanting to be a psychologist.

From a young age, I have been raised to be older than I am. With that being said I took on responsibilities that an average kid shouldn’t. I’ve been working since I was 14 years old, my first job stood at McDonald’s in Orland Park. Since I was going to Carl Sandburg high school at the time, I was able to get a worker’s permit. Workers Permit allows permission to high schoolers younger than 15 to work under the law restrictions of the state Illinois. Therefore, I was able to start saving at a young age, motivating me to have the gratitude to work hard. I think when you work more challenging it comes with greater results. At the age of 15, I was promoted to manager at McDonald’s. This was astonishing to me, with the age I am and coworkers around me. My mother has always proven to me that anything can be done when you put your mind to it, to conclude my mother will always give me the right of way that’s why she is my idol and motivation. We were never a struggling family, I just felt like it would be best to get things I want on my own. Giving my mother only to provide for the things I need. Therefore, I work hard because I want to honor my mother and loved ones that worked hard for me and the things I have.

The story of when my father passed, took place on March 10, 2006, around 8 pm. Birthday parties have always been a traditional celebration in my family. we get together any time of the month for these, so it was like no other. While I was a baby at the time I was told this story by many of my family members, but my mother’s saga of the events this evening is the one I believe. My father got off work and came to my grandma’s house to come to celebrate and bring us more food. Being the family man that he is he wouldn’t turn this down so he enjoyed the celebration outside of the kid’s party. While on the porch talking amongst others, the red car comes around the block and states,” it’s going to get dark out tonight, be careful”. My father didn’t mind the comment because the “block” was a family area, and the gangs agreed not to shoot there. As time went by my older brother was told to go into the house by my dad, as my brother is walking to the back of the house all he heard were gun shoots and my father’s foot in the gangway. 10 minutes later the police arrived, and my father was pronounced dead on the way to the hospital at 2:43 am. He suffered from a gunshot wound to the back hitting his arteries and cutting off blood circulation.

The way I think about my family is you only get one, which makes me want to help them even more because it’s my home. A personal problem my family has is we can’t talk our problems out due to trauma. So many deaths in our family we can never grasp around the loved ones we lost. I have no real male models in my life, my father passed away, my grandpa died in the same year all my uncles got killed due to gun violence and they weren’t a part of gangs. Leaving single mothers to provide for the household, which my mother did her best with, I was always able to get the things I wanted. I try to forget about the past but my family holds grudges against one another or themselves. They think they could have prevented the deaths but what I think doesn’t matter to them because I’m young and “I don’t know” but I do. I think it is actual police brutality in Chicago and it is still ongoing. In addition, now that I’m older I can completely see that my family is so hurt from the past that they are scared to move forward which makes it hard for me.

In conclusion, When I retire in the future I want to have at least 2 million in the bank of a safe to spend the rest of my life with. The average person needs 7 sources of income to have the “American dream” so I at least want 6. I want to be a realtor, sell stocks, have my busses, and work for another one. I want to graduate college with passing grades as well, also giving my mother the biggest house needed. Caring for my family in the most instructive way to positive things in life, the decisions I make are not also for me but for those I value most. I, Khashyla McElroy, will leave a mark on my family’s history of success.