Written by Lina Lee
Translated by Ariel Chan
Edited by Jiali Liu
On June 17th, Tzu Chi USA National Headquarters held a scholarship award ceremony at the Gratitude Hall on the headquarters campus, presenting scholarships to underprivileged students. This year, a total of 23 students, including 18 high school students and 5 college students, qualified to receive scholarships after being reviewed by the scholarship evaluation team.
For the last 20 years, Tzu Chi has helped and cared for students in need, helping them gather together, reunite with familiar faces, and make new friends. It is hoped that these students will not be constrained in their studies due to their background and will be able to chase their dreams unimpeded. Everyone present at the ceremony emphasized that the students will not be alone on the path of learning and that the knowledge they gain will transform their destinies.
Accompanied by the elegant accompaniment of a string orchestra composed of Tzu Chi youth volunteers, the Tzu Chi USA National Headquarters scholarship award ceremony began. The wonderful music carried abundant blessings for the recipients. Member Juncheng Chen shared, “Today, I played wholeheartedly, and the entire orchestra did the same. I hope you enjoyed this performance.”
Tzu Chi volunteer Ruzhen Wu began by saying, “Our scholarships for the underprivileged are mainly aimed at children from financially disadvantaged families. These children need external support when they graduate from high school to enable them to smoothly enter university. For students who are already in university, if they still need our help, we will continue to provide them with scholarships in their four years of college.”
After the ceremony started, Alain Kay, the Assistant Director of Career Services from the San Bernardino Unified School District, took the stage to deliver the opening speech. He has a long-standing connection with Tzu Chi and often encourages students to participate in community service, including Tzu Chi’s distribution events and free clinic activities. He shared, “I have known the Tzu Chi Foundation for ten years. The compassionate rescue work they do and the care they provide to our community always leave a deep impression on me.”
Alain expressed deep gratitude for Tzu Chi’s support for underprivileged students and their high expectations for their future: “This scholarship is a way for them to achieve their dreams- going to college, obtaining good careers, and ultimately giving back to the community. What Tzu Chi shows is the best example for them. Thank you, Tzu Chi!”
Next, the representatives of the awardees took the stage one by one to the sound of enthusiastic applause. Each in turn delivered a speech that depicted their bright visions of the future and their gratitude towards Tzu Chi.
Ashley Gonzalez, currently studying at California State University, Fullerton, grew up in a single-parent household. Fortunately, with Tzu Chi’s assistance, she was able to complete half of her college studies. She is deeply grateful for this, saying, “This Tzu Chi scholarship has helped me a lot, such as buying school supplies, paying for parking fees, and online textbooks. Since prices have been constantly rising, I really need this scholarship.”
While receiving help, Ashley also actively engages in volunteer service, giving back to the community. “Because I am a low-income student and grew up in a single-parent family, I know the difficulties faced by people in need. I have seen Tzu Chi help many people, so I began to help those in need and volunteer with Tzu Chi.”
Another winner, Jonathan Orduna, has just graduated from high school this year. He already has plans on how to use this scholarship to achieve his dreams: “With this money, I can pay for tuition, transportation expenses, daily necessities, and other living expenses.” He also has a clear plan for the future, aiming to contribute to the community. “I hope to attend the University of California, Irvine, and become a sports coach. I really want to make an impact on the community and others, and in the future, I hope to use this scholarship to help others.”
After the representative speeches, the ceremony’s host invited the twenty-three awardees to come forward and receive their scholarships and certificates from Tzu Chi representatives. Chao Tang, the Deputy Executive Director of Tzu Chi USA, encouraged all the awardees to continue their efforts and contribute to society: “What Tzu Chi provides is not just a scholarship. I hope that the scholarship recipients can understand Tzu Chi’s spirit of benefiting all beings and, in the future, help more people in need.”
This heartwarming and solemn award ceremony concluded amidst gratitude and blessings from everyone. Tzu Chi wished every student a safe and successful life as they achieve their aspirations. These students will also spread this love in the future, bringing more positive energy to society.