This is part of the series Shore Stories: Life Along the Lakeshore, columns by local residents about their lives.
I’ve loved learning since elementary school, and have always loved going to school. There are so many fascinating wonders of knowledge in the world, and I've always been excited to learn about them.
I credit my love of learning to my father and amazing teachers. My dad, Alfred, would always tell me experiences from his life. He was so knowledgeable about life that I wanted to be like him. My teachers captivated me with interactive lessons and recommendations of what classes to take next in my educational journey.
I’ll be attending the University of Michigan in the fall, but haven’t declared my major yet. With a passion for science and math, possible career paths include engineering and anthropology. As a Promise Scholar, I feel incredibly lucky to have been chosen for this scholarship. It relieves a lot of financial stress and makes me even more excited for college.
Neither of my parents went to college or received a degree. I remember my dad always telling me if he could go back and choose one thing to do differently, it would be that he would pursue higher education. Since then, it has been my goal to surpass my parents and receive that higher education.
High school support
At West Ottawa High School, Advanced Placement and International Baccalaureate classes offered a glimpse of what college classes will be like. Even though the classes could never truly simulate the true rigor of U-M classes, they helped me with time management and study methods, and taught me how to think at a deeper level.
Similarly, at the Boys & Girls Club of Greater Holland, participating in the Youth of the Year Program helped me take control of my story, give me the confidence to be proactive and ask for help, and to advocate for others. The Youth of the Year program also helped with public speaking.
My senior English and physics teachers prepared me, as well. They both wrote letters of recommendation, and my English teacher helped with my college essays. My physics teacher strengthened my passion for science and challenged me to look deeper at the world around me.
My orchestra teacher of six years was also integral in forming and growing my passion for music, which relieved stress. Music also gave me a community that I could call home.
Friends and family
Friends have been incredibly supportive and extremely proud of all that I've accomplished. They're excited to see what’s next and believe that I deserve everything that my success has brought. They're happy that my hard work has been recognized. It's really nice to have friends be proud of me, and it shows they really care and truly want the best for me. I hope that I've inspired them to push themselves and reach their full potential.
I am lucky to be surrounded by such loyal and supportive people who keep me motivated every day.
For my family, my success is everything. They see the support from the community and those around me, and they are incredibly proud that I've used these resources to succeed and surpass them in their education.
They don’t want me to face the same problems they faced when they entered the workforce. They see my success as a stepping stone to create a better life for myself, a life I will be more in control of. My parents believe a degree is the first step in taking control of one's future, and my being on the path to achieving that is everything they could ask for. Plus, my dad is excited to see the bustling life on campus and in Ann Arbor.
Ebony Roach, a 2021 graduate of West Ottawa High School, will attend the University of Michigan in the fall. She is one of the 2021 Promise Scholars.
How 2021 Promise Scholarship recipients are pursuing their dreams