Scholarship Recipient: Kiara Carrion
Graduate of Liberty High School’s class of 2022, Kiara Carrion is one of three recipients of The Chandler-Barnes Scholarship—awarded to her at the Communities In Schools (CIS) graduation celebration “Ready, Set, Graduate!” Kiara plans to use her award of $1,500 as tuition assistance to attend Kutztown University of Pennsylvania in the fall.
In her scholarship application essay, Kiara quoted Maya Angelou, stating “Alone, all alone, nobody, but nobody can make it out here alone.” The challenges Kiara faced throughout her life made it difficult for her to open up, and she was hesitant to share her story with her peers. Kiara was skeptical about confiding in anyone and believed independence was about denying help from others.
Naturally, Kiara was initially closed off to our former CIS site coordinator Nancy Ettwein when the two met during Kiara’s freshman year. However, Ms. Ettwein was patient yet persistent and took the time to listen to Kiara without judgment. They soon established a relationship that would continue to grow over the next four years. They met on a weekly basis, and together they built personal and academic goals for Kiara to strive toward. “[This] amazing woman taught me that what I thought were my weaknesses, were actually what set me apart from everyone. They make me stronger if I just let them.,” Kiara said.
Although Kiara was facing both academic and personal struggles, Ms. Ettwein understood and believed in the five basics of CIS—the fundamentals every child needs and deserves—and instilled in Kiara that a one-on-one relationship with a caring adult is important in every adolescent's life. After witnessing Kiara’s growth throughout high school, Ms. Ettwein described her as resilient and strong-willed. “She is very motivated and goes after what she wants,” said Ms. Ettewin. “She’s a bright young woman with great potential. I am confident that she will thrive.”
After accomplishing her goal of graduating high school, she has set her sights on earning an undergraduate degree in early childhood education and social services. Kiara maintains that relationships are important and, thanks to CIS and Ms. Ettwein, believes people need people, interactions are what we thrive off of, and having an adult that cares about you and your wellbeing truly makes a difference.