Over the course of the past three years I have been fortunate enough to earn the Mr. and Mrs. Edgar Grech Cumbo Family Foundation Scholarship. My Maltese heritage has always been extremely important to me, as my dad has made sure that I valued where I came from.
With that being said, when I was a high school student and looking for scholarships I was extremely disappointed to find out that there were no Maltese Scholarships available in the Detroit area. There was one that I found in California. I applied for it anyways, regardless of the fact that I did not meet the zip code qualifications. The scholarship foundation contacted me explaining that they valued the fact that I applied and was proud of my heritage, but they could unfortunately not award me the scholarship. I was pretty bummed out about it, but I appreciated him reaching out to me. I thought that a dead end had come to my search.
During the span of the summer before I started college, I finally found the hope that I was looking for. My dad has been a member of the Detroit American Benevolent Society for a very long time and the news came out that a scholarship for college students was about to become available! I was delighted!
I jumped on the opportunity to apply for the scholarship and I hoped that I would receive it. When the news came that I was a recipient, I nearly cried because I had been waiting for this opportunity for a long time. For the past two years, after the initial year, I decided that re-applying never hurt. I have never run out of things to say about my heritage or my college career decisions. I am very fortunate to be able to have had this opportunity over the past three years.
Earning this scholarship has meant so much to me in many different ways. Financially it has been an incredible blessing. Spring Arbor University is fairly expensive to attend, so every bit has helped. Besides financial reasons, I absolutely love telling people about Malta, how much it means to me, and how important I believe valuing heritage is. All of my close friends and family know how passionate I am about my heritage. In today’s day and age, people shuck off culture to assimilate to the western world. Being able to not stand in that pot is extremely liberating. Once people realize the passion I have, I think that it sparks them to figure out more about their history. The feeling that I get from that is immeasurable.
The Maltese community has meant the world to me. It has given me a fresh perspective on what it means to truly value my heritage. Many times people only know about their culture, but I can say that I actually get to live mine out. That is incredibly special. The Maltese community can only benefit from this scholarship opportunity. To get the younger generation involved is critical to the success of the Detroit and Dearborn clubs. Without younger people flooding in, the demise of the cultural hub that we have will happen. This opportunity is one small bridge that draws in younger members. Continuing to bring in a younger crowd only expands the Maltese Community in Detroit.
I have been instilled with a rich cultural heritage, all thanks to my dad. He deserves the credit for my passion. Without him, my desire to explore and live out my culture would be lacking. This scholarship has only added to the love that I have for my community. I am incredibly humbled and honored to have been a three year recipient of this scholarship.
** For more information about applying for the Mr. and Mrs. Edgar Grech Cumbo Family Foundation Scholarship, please contact the MABSI executive board or email email@example.com. **
Cecilia Said is a Junior at Spring Arbor University just outside of Jackson, Michigan. Ms. Said is majoring in Psychology with a minor in Urban Studies. She hopes to be a school counselor or psychologist in elementary schools that at-risk children attend. In her free time she loves to play soccer and hang out with her family.