Scholarship Awarded to Daughter of Four Wheeler Accident Victim
The injury lawyers at Zavodnick, Zavodnick & Lasky, LLC are pleased to announce the winner of the Spring 2018 Future Leader’s Scholarship – Leanne Turner of Tuscaloosa, AL. Leanne tragically lost her father in an ATV accident when she was just an infant.
Despite this terrible loss, as well as the loss of her mother, she has persevered and showed great strength and resolve as a young woman. She is a member of the Phi Eta Sigma national honor society and The National Society of Collegiate Scholars.
Leanne is studying to become a teacher at the University of Alabama and we wish her the best of luck in her pursuit of this dream. We want to personally thank everyone that submitted an application for the scholarship and we appreciate you sharing your personal stories and triumphs overcoming life’s tragedies. A copy of Leanne’s essay is below.
By: Leanne Turner
My whole life was changed on October 11, 1998. On that day 19 years ago, I lost my father at 4-months-old. Not long after, when I was 2-years-old my mother succumbed to breast cancer. Having that kind of loss at such a young age changes everything.
Growing up without the people you are literally made from, is like growing up not knowing your identity. My whole life I have wondered what my life could have been had my parents live. I try to imagine how all of my siblings would actually be connected rather than only hearing from them on the occasional holidays when we all actually get together.
Losing your parents is always hard, but never getting to even know them is even harder. After my parents died, I was adopted by my aunt and uncle which is a blessing since I did not have to go into the foster care system. Being surrounded by my parents’ family definitely gave me an insight into who they were.
My goal in life is to be the best me I can be so that I can know deep down that my parents would be proud of me. Sometimes it is hard to know exactly what that is, but I think that as long as I succeed in everything I do that is enough.
When my dad died, I lost a piece of my brother as well. He was 8-years-old, and he was on that four-wheeler with my dad. He turned to a life filled with drugs to try to drown his pain from that dark day so many years ago. Until a couple months ago, my brother only talked to me every two or three years.
This year, we reconnected and hopefully this time he really has turned his life around because I would love to finally have an older brother to talk to when I feel lost. This reconnection is not true for my other eight siblings. We are spread out all over the country, and hardly ever hear from one another. I think once my parents passed away everyone had to find their own way to cope and find themselves in a world without the people who made us.
Children have always held a special place in my heart. Maybe it is because I can see myself in them, or maybe it is because of how honest they are. I want to impact the lives of children by being the teacher they remember making them realize they could conquer their dreams no matter how their life started.
I want to be an inspiration to every kid that steps foot into my classroom. I am no longer letting what happened to my parents hold me back from who I am and who I want to become.