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Marissa DiCarlo

marissa-dicarloSometimes life takes you in a direction you never could have imagined. Hello I am Marissa DiCarlo and I am a graduate of Mendham High School. I went on to attend and recently graduated with my Associates Degree in sci­ence from the County College of Morris. I was not sure if I would be trans­ferring to Stockton University. My vision was to pursue a career in Environ­mental Science and go on to Environmental Law. My goals are to impact the world. My legacy will leave behind something that made a difference while I was here. I find great fulfillment with my volunteer work, coordinating fund­raisers and spending time as an active member of Chester’s Environmental Commission.

My dad was severely injured at work and the man who I could always

count on disappeared forever. He has never recovered and even the most normal and simplest tasks are daunting to him. He has had spinal fusion and a three disc laminectomy with titanium implementation. He has hospital stays on a regular basis. My dad does not know what it is like to sleep in a bed. He needs a hospital bed but has been denied this and medical care. He does not remember what it feels like to be free from pain. This daily and never-ending nerve damage is so debilitating at times he cannot walk. This circumstance is so unpredictable I have seen him fall down a flight of stairs and be rushed to the hospital. His inability to be the provider for his family ate away at his psyche. My dad had been so distraught from all this and it has impacted our whole family both emotionally and financially.

As for my personal challenges, this came when I was diagnosed with a brain processing disorder making the transition between point A and B extremely difficult for me. There have been many mo­ments where I wanted to walk away from school. It takes me twice as long as the average student to finish my class work. With the encouragement from my family and professors, I forged on. These ex­periences have shown me out of the darkest days you come out a stronger person. The late nights and hours of studying taught me dedication, perseverance and time management skills. I have had numer­ous amounts of educational obstacles in my career, but nothing could have prepared me for what this accident did to my family. Never knowing if we would get a knock on the door and would not have a place to call home. I never understood the importance of an education until I feared I would be denied one. Not knowing if I will be able to pay for my tuition and continue my education, meant a life un­fulfilled and dreams never to be achieved. Having the opportunity to change my path and receiving a scholarship as amazing as the Kids’ Chance of New Jersey will change my life forever.