Arlene, pictured at right with her son Shawn, shared their story in our 2008 Annual Report.
"My son, Shawn, the younger of our two boys, attends Stevens Institute of Technology, a prestigious and wonderful school. Shawn is studying mechanical engineering, is a top student in the school, and is having a terrific experience. We are just so thankful that Scholarship America is helping us pay for his tuition, which we would never have been able to afford had it not been for Families of Freedom.
"My husband, Paul, was a fireman who died during the attack on the World Trade Center. And although Paul has passed, we continue to have a wonderful family through the Fire Department. It was the Fire Department that told me about Families of Freedom and got me in touch with Scholarship America. Most of the children at the Fire Department are still so young that they have not had to use the scholarship yet, but my boys were in high school and finding a way to pay for college was very much in my mind.
"Shawn has always been strong academically. At first he was very interested in music, but then during his junior year of high school, he started taking a lot of physics classes and thought he would look into mechanical engineering. His father’s job was a firefighter, but Paul was also a machinist and his first love had always been mechanics. Paul’s father, his brother-in-law and his nephew are all mechanical engineers. And Paul, if he had gone to college, would have done the same thing. Paul was fortunate enough to be able to use his skills without going to four years of college.
"During the beginning of Shawn’s senior year, we visited Stevens Institute in New Jersey. It has a wonderful reputation and is difficult to get into. Shawn fell in love with it and didn’t want to go anywhere else, although he had already been accepted to several other schools. Stevens offered him some great scholarships, but it would have been extremely difficult to pick up the rest of the tuition.
"Had it not been for Families of Freedom, Shawn wouldn’t have been able to attend Stevens. It’s one of the top engineering schools around us, most of the students who come out of the school get offered positions right after they graduate. The program offers students a chance to work in their field while going to school, so when Shawn graduates he will have much needed work experience and will be able to find a job much easier. It’s an opportunity he would never have had had it not been for Families of Freedom.
"I can’t tell you how good it makes me to feel to know that the scholarship is there for us. Everyone that has helped us at Scholarship America has just been really wonderful. Paul would have been extremely proud of his son’s decision to become a mechanical engineer. Thanks to Scholarship America and Families of Freedom, Shawn’s dream is being made possible."