Great Strides Scholarship
The purpose of this scholarship is to provide financial aid to one male and one female high school senior in a bucks county public school who have participated in track or cross country, demonstrated either financial or personal hardships they have overcome, and displayed leadership in their respective schools or communities.
Besides recommendation letters from coaches and another influential person in their lives, applicants must write a personal essay how running has been integral in their ability to overcome personal adversity and/or push themselves to be their best in all aspects of their lives.
As a child with ADHD, I have been running my whole life, and as a young adult with ADHD, I have found running has helped me deal with my ADHD. Many people with learning disabilities never find anything that helps them fit in, and as such, there are a great many people who turn to drugs to help them cope. My sister died of a drug overdose, which probably started with her medicating herself. I am fortunate that my mother was an athlete, and she got me into sports at a very young age.
When I was 8, my mother started having trouble breathing. Within the year, she had undergone a double lung transplant. My mother went from being very fit, and running, to being in a wheelchair, and having to learn to walk again. From then on, I have never taken my ability to run, for granted. After the transplant, we met my mother’s donor family at the Philadelphia donor dash. We also met the liver and kidney recipients, from the same donor. It inspired me to not take my physical abilities for granted.
When I was 5, I joined a swim team, and found that I enjoyed it, and I had some aptitude for distance swimming. At 11, I joined my school’s track team, and started my love for running. I have run track for my whole school career, but I much prefer, and am better suited, to cross country running. I was hoping to end my school cross country career by going to states, but unfortunately, I over trained, and got shin splints, with bone marrow involvement. I am just back to running again, after a 4 month break. I found out how much running meant to me, when I was unable to do it for so long.
Since I was already a swimmer and an emerging runner, I decided to try out a triathlon. I joined the Bucks County Triathlon Club, and I’ve never looked back. I started doing elite-level draft legal triathlons last year and qualified for nationals. I was an All-American triathlete, ranked 5th in the country for my age group. I applied for and was accepted, into Queens University of Charlotte, the top triathlon school in the country. It is my goal to get into the USA triathlon junior team and to represent the USA, in triathlon. I have my first international triathlon in March, and I’m hoping to qualify for the World Championships, later this year.
I am applying for this scholarship because times are tough at home. My mother’s lungs are failing, after 8 years post-transplant. And my father has had to go on disability because he has metastatic cancer. I know life is not guaranteed to us all, so I appreciate that I am physically able to run, and I’m appreciative of what running has done for me.
My name is Kaeley Jucewicz and next fall I will be attending the University of Delaware to study business and marketing. My goal is to achieve my Master’s degree in some aspect of business.
I have been a part of CB South’s cross country, winter track, and spring track teams all four years of my high school experience. Being a part of such an amazing team has completely changed my life. It has given me the most wonderful friendships, taught me the importance of hard work, and most importantly provided me with an escape from the hardships my family and I were facing.
My father has been an alcoholic ever since I was young. In recent years, he has been in and out of rehab multiple times. The stress, emotions, and turmoil his disease has caused is immeasurable. Throughout this year’s long struggle, I found that the best outlet for the pain and distress I was feeling was running. When I would run at practice every day, all the negative emotions I was experiencing would slip away. For those 30 – 40 minutes, I could escape all my problems and just feel free. I no longer had to worry about my father and my situation at home. Instead, I could let go and regain my happiness. However, it wasn’t just running that filled me with joy, it was also my teammates.
If I learned anything about being on this team, it’s that being there for each other is one of the most important things you can do. With that said, I have grown a passion for spreading love and kindness to others and have been able to return much of this love back to my teammates. Although I may not be one of the first to cross the finish line, I have played an integral part in the cohesiveness of our team. I have always just tried to create a positive and fun environment and have done many things to support the social aspects of our team. Some of these things include: organizing a team order for fun, matching running shorts, keeping our “secret-psych” tradition going by assigning teammates with names to send an anonymous positive note and favorite candy on meet days, planning senior t-shirts, creating video montages, and being a supportive friend to everyone on the team among many other things. In my senior year, I was honored to be chosen as co-captain of our cross-country team in recognition of this role that I had always played on the team. The ironic thing is that as much as I have given to this team, I feel that actually running this team has done more for me.
Although I’ve played other sports, the experience just doesn’t compare to the support and camaraderie that runners give each other. For this reason, I plan to continue running at club level when I start college in the Fall. I will always be grateful for everything this team has done for me.
Meet the Winners
These amazing young people will be at our Spring Fling on May 20th at 4pm, with their families, to receive their scholarship awards. If you haven’t yet, please sign up and join us on Saturday!!
Click this link to register