Within any human psyche and our self-perception, the biggest critic that can shower us with either positive or negative praise is ourselves. Especially during a transitional period from a high schooler who is on the cusp of blossoming into a young adult just entering the realm of college, self-doubt can be overwhelming. I, along with many of my peers, have struggled with self-perception, but through the love and support of my family, peers, and everyone who’s believed in my capabilities, that mentality has slowly exited my mind. This mindset shift, however, cannot be attributed without recognizing the Grand Haven Area Community Foundation’s support. Receiving the Lynne Sherwood Scholarship for both fall semesters of my freshman and sophomore years in college has not only allowed me to disregard student loans entirely but has also opened a gateway for me to be financially successful in the future. My gratitude and praise pour out to the Community Board members who chose me out of potentially hundreds of applicants to be awarded this life-altering scholarship. My praise within everyone who sits on the board knows no bounds and I have not only proved to my peers that when the time comes, the fruits of your labor will be rewarded, but the most influential critic, myself, has been enlightened to this message. Once again, my gratitude to the Community Foundation and its members cannot ever be expressed by mere words alone. Because of the opportunity bestowed upon me by the board, I haven’t succumbed to the ever-increasing student loan dilemma. That, in and of itself, will change my future for the better and allow finances to be set aside for future endeavors. Thank you to everyone on the board who believed in my capabilities and was patient throughout the entire scholarship process. My life will be forever changed for the better.

-Joseph Reiss