Elizabeth Pempek, from Appleton, Wisconsin, learned the importance and value of hard work at a young age. For the majority of her childhood, she and her family were homeless, moving constantly and relying on the generosity of the church and local aid organizations. Despite this challenge, Ms. Pempek stayed focused on a solution and was determined to help support her family, regardless of the sacrifice.
“I realized that I had the potential to change the circumstances that I found my family in,” Elizabeth wrote.
At age 17, she got her first job and dedicated herself to balancing work while maintaining good grades in school. She also continued to focus on other important aspects of her life: church and family. While her job did not completely cure her family’s financial struggles, it did ease the worry and fear associated with such a dire situation.
For Elizabeth, going through this struggle has taught her more than just the value of hard work. It has given her lessons in overcoming hardships and keeping a positive mindset during adversity.
“I now know that later on in my life, when I encounter other hardships, whatever they may be, all I need to do is stop and think of ways to change the circumstance,” she wrote.
Ms. Pempek is one of seven finalists for the 2015 Richie’s Spirit Foundation Significant Challenge College Scholarship. Three winners will be selected to receive a total of $3,500 in financial support towards their future education. To learn more about the program, click here.