Scholarship Winner Spotlight: Jesus Adrian Arroyo-Ramirez

A scholarship success story can be influenced by a personal journey, breaking the mold, and carving out your own future to inspire students like Jesus Adrian Arroyo-Ramirez to write a winning scholarship essay (and video!) He earned an outstanding $40,000 through the Golden Door Scholarship in February 2019.

The scholarship application required an essay and a video submission. The essay prompted students to explain what differentiates them from other DACA students who apply to the scholarship – thinking outside of academics and test scores.

Jesus reflected on an early obstacle that fueled his drive to graduate first in his class with a semester’s worth of college credit. Jesus is on his way to become the first in his family to graduate from an American university for what he says will set an example for his own family in the future.

We asked Jesus to share tips for future scholarship applicants, and he shared his scholarship success story with us!

Going Merry Scholarship Winner Jesus Adrian Arroyo-Ramirez

Why did you decide to apply to this scholarship (rather than the other ones)?

I decided to apply for the Golden Door Scholars scholarship because they seemed to be truly motivated about helping a group of kids, the dreamers, who have had to face constant obstacles in their young lives.

What was the essay process like for you?

I knew I had to grasp the attention of the judges with this essay, so a decent amount of brainstorming, rereading and editing was a part of the process in order for the essay to be something I was confident in

How much did you win, and what are you going to do with the money?

Golden Door Scholars is currently paying for my tuition while I attend Wichita State University but through GDS, I have won more than just money. I have gained a family of students who know exactly what it is like to be in my shoes. I have gained a lifetime of support, through their mentorship program and I know if I ever need help I can always go to someone in the Golden Door Scholars community.

If you shared your essay with anyone, what did they think?

I shared my essay with my high school Government teacher, Amelia Fabrizius. She is the first person I had ever told, outside of my family, that I was a DACA student. She encouraged me to share my story, and with this essay I did just that. She told me the essay was influential and very moving. 

Any tips for future students applying for scholarships?

I would tell students applying for scholarships to take the application process extremely serious in each and every scholarship opportunity. Scholarships and money are everywhere, and any mishap in your application can be the difference between winning and losing. 

How did you hear about Going Merry?

My high school counselor encouraged me to use Going Merry. 

Why would you recommend Going Merry?

Scholarship applications can be lengthy and complicated, but Going Merry created a way to make the process simple and as stress free as possible. I would promptly receive email updates on the status of the scholarship, which I found to also be a stress reliever.

Here a look at Jesus’s winning scholarship essay:

I always knew I was different than my friends in some way. Growing up, I struggled to speak English while everyone else had little to no problems. I needed extra help in school while my friends coasted by with ease. My friends would hop on planes and travel all around the world while I had to stay at home. At the age of 13 all of my friends started driving while I still couldn’t.

I built up the courage and asked my mother why I did not have access to the simple liberties everyone else did. My name Is Jesus Adrian Arroyo-Ramirez, and I was illegally brought to this country when I was just six years old. At the time I had no clue that I was breaking any laws, and I did not realize the fact that my life was going to change forever. Growing up with a different citizenship situation than my peers was and still is the biggest challenge I have to face in my life.

Looking back there is not a single thing that I would change. Knowing that I had to work harder than everyone else lead me to be the person that I am today. I took that fire inside of me, pushed myself, graduated first in my class with a cumulative 4.0 GPA, became a Kansas Scholar, and graduated High School with a semester’s worth of college credit. In November of 2016, everything began to look up for me. I received a work permit and a social security card all thanks to the DACA program. I was finally able to get my license, get a job, and most importantly attend college.

I plan to continue my success in the classroom and do everything to the best of my ability as I know that under my current circumstances it can all be ripped away from me at any moment. Growing up with my situation has taught me to not take advantage of a single opportunity. There has been continued support around me past and current and I know there are people out there rooting for my success. I will strive to be the first generation in my family to graduate from an American University and I will set a stepping stone for my future family so they will not have to struggle as I did. My citizenship is not a setback, it is a mere obstacle that I will always learn to work around if it means giving my future children a better life, just like my mother did for me.

Start applying and winning today.


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Kelly Lamano

Though always a creative, Kelly's momentum into the world of writing and publishing arrived when she attended college. She quickly learned the financial value - and cost - of honing her craft, and sought scholarships that would be crucial to not only funding, but fueling her education. She wants to help new students thrive with Going Merry's easy scholarship finder. Kelly holds a bachelor's degree in Broadcast, Print and Online Media, and a minor in Spanish from Florida Southern College.

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