Hello, my name is Michael Schraft and I am currently a student at The College of New Jersey, this fall I will be entering my sophomore year as a Secondary Education English Major.
Four years ago in my sophomore year of high school I found out that my father had injured a disk in his spine. Following numerous surgeries, therapies, and treatments, I found that my father could no longer do the things that he used to be able to do. As a result of this, I had to start taking care of all of the things he used to do around the house. Following this I had begun to lose my hair from alopecia areata, a result of severe stress in dealing with all of my newfound responsibilities on top of managing my schoolwork. In 2016, my junior year of high school I found out that my father had cancer in his throat. After years of cancer treatment and numerous surgeries, my father now has a stoma in his throat from the cancer and can no longer work as a result of his back surgery. Before all of this, my parents had planned to help me pay for college. As a family we had lost a primary source of income because my father can no longer work. After all of the money we had to spend as a family on surgeries, and cancer treatment they can no longer afford to help me pay for college.
Upon entering my second year of college, I have already taken out $33,000 in loans, and in order to keep attending college I would have to do this every year. One of my biggest concerns as a college student is how to manage paying off my college loans after I graduate school. To help deal with my financial needs I’ve started working a part time job, to help pay for books and to begin saving money to pay back loans. At TCNJ I’ve found that I continue to enjoy acting in shows, however between the stress of working a job, while being a full time student, and participating in the shows, managing my time is becoming more difficult. The stress of all these things on top of having to come home from college to help do the things that my father used to do is becoming harder to manage now that I am a college student.
I would like to send my deepest gratitude to The Investors Bank and Kids’ Chance of New Jersey for awarding me this scholarship. It will take a significant amount of the financial burden off of my shoulders, allowing me to focus more on school work, and performing. Thank you so much to The Investors Bank and Kids’ Chance of New Jersey for making this possible.