Hello, my names Andrew Crosby. Firstly, I want to personally thank Eastern Alliance Insurance Group for sponsoring me to pursue my dreams as well as Kids’ Chance of New Jersey for making this all possible. I graduated with an Associate’s degree from Brookdale Community College in the Fall 2018 Environmental Science looking to pursue a Bachelors at Stockton University, majoring in Environmental Science with a focus of Environmental Planning and GIS. My collegiate goals and career aspirations have been greatly shaped by the events that took place the day my father was tragically killed from a roof collapse at a demolition site, changing my life forever.
A date remembered in infamy; September 24, 2015, I was backpacking in Wawayanda State Park in northern New Jersey with two close friends. Less than a day before, we reached a viewpoint known as Pin Wheels Vista, overlooking a valley making the border between New Jersey and New York, the cloudless view stretching miles to the North, with the smell of hemlock trees filling the air. I checked in with my mom to let her know I was safe and that we were heading back to camp for the night, and not five minutes after turning my phone off, a police officer came to our door and explained the news of what happened to my father to my family, unbeknownst to me.
An entire day went by before we arrived at the viewpoint again when I powered my phone on to hundreds of missed messages from family and close friends offering their condolences for my loss. Realizing that something was terribly wrong, a text message pops on my home screen from my mom saying, “Please call me first, before you talk to anyone”. Upon calling, she explained that my father was killed in an accident at work the day before. My knees began to buckle and I found myself in a wave of utter shock as I fell to the ground. I collected myself together, looking out into the abyss I felt, when a single beam of sunshine poked through the cloudy sky into the valley, creating an opening into the beautiful blue sky we saw the day before. These are memories that will be permanently sealed in my brain forever.
That day made an important impact on the person I am today. My father was somebody who enjoyed every activity possible if it included the outdoors. As a young kid, I remember visiting Lake George countless times to go fishing, tubing, and boating. He even planned a trip into Canada to see Niagara Falls and to stay in a cabin on Lake Erie for a week. My father’s dedication to nature is inside of me and I truly understand why I am the person I am as a result. Before his death, I was bouncing between majors at Brookdale and was becoming very confused on what my future was going to hold for me until I found what truly inspires me. Nature and the Environment, and ways to help preserve and save. I am using the memory of my father to strive to do the best I can to do to leave my mark on conserving this planet for future generations to come.
This scholarship by Kids Chance of New Jersey not only helps me reach my goal of obtaining a college degree, a goal that has always been a dream of mine as a young student growing up but to also honor the legacy of my father’s love for nature. I couldn’t be anymore grateful for Eastern Alliance and Kids Chance of New Jersey for making this all possible for so many students across the state. Thank you.