​Michael Schraft

​I am currently a student at The College of New Jersey, this fall I will be entering my Junior year as a Secondary Education English Major. With this major I plan on teaching English at the high school level. Currently at TCNJ I am involved in the Lyric Theatre program and I have just started a rock-climbing club at the school.

Five 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 school work. 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 third year of college, I will have to add debt to an already existing loan amount of 33,000, 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 had started working a part time job, in order to help pay for books and to begin saving money to pay back loans. Thanks to last year’s KCNJ scholarship I was able to quit my part time job to focus more on academics and theatre. In addition to this I was also able to become involved in TCNJ's Outdoors Club and now sit on their Board working to create a Rock-Climbing Club.

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.