All of the attorneys and staff at Welsh & Welsh PC, LLO are dedicated to helping our local and nationwide communities navigate toward a brighter future. In 2017, we decided to start a scholarship that would help us do just that by assisting one college student with securing their college education. The latest submission period for that scholarship, Spring 2018, just came to a close.
We were truly humbled by the amount of applications we received as well as the exceptional high quality of every essay. All of the essays were outstanding. Choosing just one winner was difficult!
We’re pleased to announce we’ve chosen a winner.
Congratulations to Tristen Sharp of Bonnie, Illinois!
Tristen is attending Illinois State University.
We asked our applicants to talk about why it’s important for them to pursue a higher education. We received so many fantastic essays, but ultimately Tristen’s incredible story spoke to us the most.
This is Tristen’s winning essay:
Becoming a Criminal/Civil Law Attorney has always been the career path I wanted to work towards for as long as I can remember. The passion to fight for the rights of others has always weighed heavily in my mind. I had spent my entire life trying to be the best that I could be physically, mentally, and educationally. Abruptly on October 14th, 2015 everything I had worked towards came to a halt when I was critically injured after being struck by a car. I could no longer devote all of my time on my education as I had in the past, as I now had to fight to survive.
Ultimately, my skull was removed in an attempt to save my life. The traumatic brain injury I sustained ultimately took my memory away and I have had to relearn many aspects of my life that I had previously taken for granted. Re-learning how to walk, talk, and swallow would now become my new goal. Then abruptly on June 11th, 2017 I was struck head on by a under the influence driver that crossed the center median on the interstate. This accident resulted in another Traumatic Brain Injury with three brain bleeds and a broken neck. I would again have to fight to survive all over again.
Prior to these accidents I was always a very determined and independent person. Those same traits have helped carry me throughout these journeys in my recovery. There has been nothing easy about this journey and I will always have injuries that I can never recover from. However, I stand here today as a fully functional individual, working towards becoming an attorney, an attorney who now knows what it’s like to stand in the shoes of their clients.
Focusing on my education has always remained a top priority in my life despite the obstacles I have had to overcome. I am currently attending Illinois State University in the Spring of 2018 as a freshman, in pursuit of a degree in Criminal Justice. A degree in Criminal Justice is just a stepping stone during my education. This degree is a prerequisite for my entry into the Pre-Law program at this university. Upon completion of this program, I intend on applying for acceptance into a Law program in pursuit of a Juris Doctorate in Criminal/Civil Law with an emphasis in personal injury litigation.
This accident has undoubtedly brought me to where I am today and continues to keep me reaching for the career path I have chosen. As much as I would like to question why this happened to me, I know that this would not be God’s plan. I choose not to consider myself a victim, and I can only hope that one day I can be a testimony to others on what a person can accomplish. Often times, in the midst of a tragedy, people become bitter. By allowing this mindset to overcome you, the chance of learning who you are again can be lost.
Life lessons have the ability to help prepare you for the future, or they can distract you from reality. In the midst of these accidents, I have learned three important aspects of life. Tragedy does not discriminate, life is not intended to be fair, and most importantly tomorrow is never promised. The ability to continue through life with a better understanding of how the world we live in actually is, will assist you in developing the strength to persevere through life’s most difficult moments that you thought were impossible. In the face of adversity, I am no stranger merely because I choose to not give up on the life I so desperately intended for myself.
Giving back to my community has always been a top priority in my life.While I am unsure of where life will take me, I still wish to continue to give back to the community by advocating for the rights of others, injured or wronged in similar situations such as myself, while also assisting the less fortunate in times of need and tragedy as my community did for me.
Even though this is not the life I had planned, it is definitely the life I have been dealt and I will not let it define me, nor do I intend to sit by silently and not attempt to hold the defendants accountable for the injuries in which they cause.
For more information on the next scholarship period which will be for Fall 2018, please see our law firm’s scholarship page for updates within the next week. Congratulations again, Tristen! May all your dreams come true.