Thirteen years ago, my five year old submitted an essay convincing his readers that his mother deserved a day at the spa. Using his invented spelling, Zachary explained that I worked from sunrise to sunset, caring for three kids, cleaning the house, preparing healthy meals, making sure the children had fresh air and exercise, and ensured that all members of the family enjoyed daily quiet time and reading. At the time, I had no idea that Zachary’s submission was the beginning of so many amazing accolades.
Those who are close to Zach know that he has achieved many accomplishments during his high school career. Academically he finished top in his class, was elected class president all four years, has been named scholar athlete each year, serves as a member of the regional board of education, created a fantasy sports club at his school, founded a webbed based platform, “Students Helping Students” (an academic support group), lectors at church, participates in Unified Sports, works as a bank teller and mathematics tutor; all while maintaining academic excellence.
What people don’t know about Zachary is his selfless concern for the well-being of others. Most recently, Zachary experienced a ‘fortunate’ struggle when deciding which college to attend next fall. While being offered generous scholarships to many prestigious universities, Zachary grappled with his decision to attend Notre Dame. As his mom, I knew the minute we stepped foot on Notre Dame’s campus that the school’s blend of academics, social life, and spirituality provided the perfect fit for Zach. After a heartfelt conversation with Zachary, I learned what was standing in his way from committing to Notre Dame; his concern for his younger siblings’ future opportunities. Zachary disclosed that he would be successful at any higher institution. Although Notre Dame was his first choice, he could not make the commitment without knowing that his siblings would be afforded the same opportunity.
Thirteen years ago, when Zachary presented me with a full day at the spa, I was sure I had received the greatest award. I was wrong those years ago. Zachary has just given me the latest greatest award.