Each year, recipients of Houston Livestock Show and Rodeo Scholarships are invited to speak at a luncheon and give thanks for the scholarship they have received. The following is a transcription of a speech given by current UH sophomore Megan Jagdeo (’18).
I’m not a great public speaker. That’s why I’m majoring in biology and not political science. For this speech, I will be honest. I want you to know that the money received from the Houston Livestock Show and Rodeo Scholarship does make a difference.
Around this time last year, I started sending out college applications. I found that many doors that I thought were open for me were, in fact, closed. Dreams of going to NYU or UT were gone when I learned of my estimated family contribution. We had a rough couple of years, and if I was not awarded any scholarships or financial help from the State of Texas, I would not be able to go to college. I applied for every scholarship I could qualify for. I honestly did not know if we’d receive enough money to afford higher education. I needed a miracle to be able to do anything with my life.
I’ll never forget the day I received the email from the Houston Livestock Show and Rodeo. It was during lunch and my friends and I would go to one of the soundproof practice rooms in the Orchestra Hall to eat. As president of the Orchestra, my one major responsibility was planning our annual banquet, which required me to be available for communication with multiple businesses. Seeing an email not related to orchestra was a surprise, and I remember bracing myself. I remember the relief of seeing the word “Congratulations!” I remember screaming in joy, jumping around the tiny room and nearly throwing my best friend on the ground when I hugged her. I remember calling my mom and telling her that I’m going to college. I remember being so glad that I didn’t check my email during class. Imagine how embarrassing it would be to cry in front of my classmates.
The Houston Livestock Show and Rodeo Opportunity Scholarship gave me hope for a better life, gave me hope of finally providing for my mom this time around, gave me hope of being able to reach more people and help them. I am so happy that there is a scholarship out there that appreciates the hard work of an academic decathlete, President of Dobie High School Orchestra and volunteer at my local Memorial Hermann hospital. Without this scholarship, I honestly don’t know what I would do. So I say thank you, to the committee members of HLSR for organizing the Rodeo to earn money and fund scholarships to fund dreams like mine.