Too stubborn to be held back; blind Tuacahn student, grateful Jewish Guild Healthcare scholarship recipient

Brooke Lovell, 16, of Tuacahn High School
Brooke Lovell, 16, of Tuacahn High School, wins scholarship from The Jewish Guild for the Blind's Jewish Guild Healthcare, St. George, Utah, 2013 | Photo courtesy of Jewish Guild Healthcare

ST. GEORGE – Brooke Lovell, a 16-year-old legally blind student at Tuacahn High School, will receive a scholarship of $10,000 from Jewish Guild Healthcare.

Lovell’s blindness poses very unique obstacles in her daily life, especially at school. However, she is determined to adapt and overcome many of these hurdles. She cannot drive, but uses public transportation and a cane to travel by herself. She cannot read, but has learned Braille.

“I am too stubborn to let it hold me back,” Lovell said. “I may be blind, but I am still capable and independent.”

She has also managed to find a silver lining in the hardship blindness often presents. Through her involvement with the National Federation of the Blind and local blind community, she has formed lasting relationships with “incredible” people, many of whom are also sight-impaired.

“I have learned so much from being blind,” Lovell said. “I wouldn’t trade the experiences I’ve had for anything.”

The GuildScholar Program scholarships are awarded prior to the academic year that begins September 2013. The recipients are currently enrolled in high schools in the states of Calif., Colo., Ill., Md, Mass., N.H., N.Y., N.C., Tenn., Texas, Utah, and Wis. The GuildScholar Program was created through a generous grant from the Jeannette A. Klarenmeyer Trust.

As part of the application process, each student was asked to write an essay about a teacher whose encouragement made a great difference in their lives. The teacher chosen from among the applicants’ essays receives a $5,000 award in recognition of their support and dedication to bringing out the best in their student.

Lovell submitted two essays. The first detailed her educational goals, which include obtaining a master’s degree, and her determination to be an active participant in her church, family and community despite her blindness. Although her teacher of choice did not receive the teacher’s recognition award, in her second essay, Lovell praised a teacher of the visually impaired who has helped her learn Braille, screen-reading computer software and independent travel skills.

“She has taught me crucial lessons that will allow me to live successfully, independently and blind in a sighted world,” Lovell said. “I will forever be grateful to her for that.”

“We’re mindful of the often unexpectedly large sums of money needed to accomplish a successful transition from high school to a college or university and we think that this scholarship money can be put to excellent use during this phase,” said Alan R. Morse, J.D., Ph.D., President and CEO of The Guild.

Due to the scholarship, Lovell will not have to work during her first year of college, which she said will help her adjust to the heavier workload and shift from high school to college life.

”I am so thankful to be receiving this scholarship, and for the wonderful generosity of the Jewish Guild,” Lovell said.

“At the Guild, we are committed to working toward a more inclusive society. The GuildScholar program will help assure that more blind students are able to enroll in colleges or universities that might otherwise be beyond their reach financially,” Dr. Morse said. “We’re not concerned with their fields of study, but we are eager to help in the education of this country’s next generation of leaders, a group that must include persons with vision impairment.”

The 16 winners were chosen after a rigorous application process that included criteria such as academic excellence, community involvement, legal blindness, financial need and U.S. citizenship. The 2013 GuildScholar Program scholarship winners are:

Jane Margaret Brunson of Carmel, Calif. – Carmel High School

Juna Gjata of Boston, Mass. – Boston Latin School

Ricardo Rhett Gutierrez of Westminster, Colo. – Standley Lake High School

Ian Kloehn of Menomonee Falls, Wis. – Hamilton High School

Mi So Kwak of Diamond Bar, Calif. – Diamond Bar High School

Alexander Lingfu of Darnestown, Md. – Poolesville High School

Lindsay Long of Deer Park, Texas – Deer Park High School

Brooke Lovell of St. George, Utah – Tuacahn High School

Reven McGee of Appleton, Wis. – Appleton North High School

Kelsey Morgan of Madison, Tenn. – Hume-Fogg Academic High School

Adam D. Mullen of Litchfield, N.H. – Campbell High

Alyssa Odell of Pikeville, N.C. – Wayne Early/Middle College High

Brandon Skogen of Centennial, Colo. – Grandview High School

John Strub of East Setauket, N.Y. – Ward Melville High School

Alexander Taikwel of Palatine, Ill. – William Fremd High School

Jennifer Tylock of Shrewsbury, Mass. – Shrewsbury High School

The teacher chosen to receive a $5,000 prize is Jennifer DiFrancesca of Shrewsbury High School from Shrewsbury, Mass.

Jewish Guild Healthcare has been serving blind, visually impaired and multi-disabled children, adults and the elderly since 1914. Thousands of individuals are helped annually through a wide range of programs and services. For more information, please visit www.guildhealth.org

For information on the GuildScholar Program’s scholarships for the 2014 academic year, contact Gordon Rovins at 212-769-7801 or e-mail

guildscholar@jgb.org.

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Twitter: @STGnews

 

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