Emily Harris is one of two 2017 Inheritance of Hope Legacy Scholarship recipients. The scholarship is awarded to a college-bound high school senior who is living with a terminally ill parent and who demonstrates a compelling personal and financial need, a strong sense of family, and collegiate promise. Emily grew up in Rochester, MN, and will attend Cedarville University in Ohio in the fall. Learn more about this scholarship winner!
Q & A with Emily Harris:
What is unique about you?
I have been to 49 US states–all except Hawaii!
Name one fun fact.
I have had my grandpa, my mom, and my dad all as teachers in school.
How did you choose your major?
When I was in 10th grade, one of my best friends and teammates tore her ACL. I was so disappointed not to be able to play sports with her anymore. I got to see how her physical therapist encouraged her and helped her recover from her injury. I have always loved kids and sports, and so I plan to major in Allied Health at Cedarville University in Ohio with the goal of becoming a physical therapist.
What’s the most important thing you learned in high school?
A supportive and loving community is one of the most encouraging and wonderful gifts that God has given his children. I hope to be able to encourage the people in my life as much as the community of believers around me has supported my family and me.
How do you define success for yourself?
I believe that I will have lived a successful life if I am able to joyfully pursue God’s purpose for my life with love and care for others.
What does your life look like in 10 years?
In 10 years, I hope to have finished my undergrad and graduate degrees, traveled the world a little, found a volleyball team to coach, and started a family.
How will you use your Inheritance of Hope Legacy Scholarship?
My scholarship will go towards books and other school supplies that I will need for college, which will free up more money to help cover the cost of tuition.
How has your mother’s illness impacted your high school experience?
My mom was diagnosed with cancer in the winter of my 10th grade year of high school. It seemed at the time like cancer was encompassing our entire lives and present in all of our conversations. However, this has made my family and me more intentional with the time that we do have together, and these moments are a reminder of God’s faithfulness in our lives.
What’s one of the most valuable things you learned through that challenge?
Your closest friends and extended family will be hurt by a terminal illness almost as much as you and your immediate family are, and some of the best ways that they deal with their pain is by talking to you about it. It is an encouragement to them when you take the time to talk with them. I have also learned how to respond to others who are experiencing similar pain, and I know what can be an encouragement in similar situations.
What advice would you give to high schoolers dealing with a parent’s terminal illness?
It’s okay to cry, but it’s also okay to have days filled with laughter, even amid all the pain and uncertainty. Days filled with fear will always be followed by better days.
Who is your cheerleader?
My parents have supported me, offered me advice, and loved me in so many different ways and circumstances throughout my life. I appreciate their Godly examples to me and my siblings as we have grown up.
To learn more about Emily, hear her share her story: