Kelley - Haverford, Pennsylvania
Entered on March 9, 2009
Age Group: 18 - 30
Themes: family, gratitude
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As a child growing up in West Virginia, I felt as though I had the perfect life. I lived in a small town where everyone knew each other. The children were friends with each other while the parents were close as well. This tight knit group became a family. We all grew up together, attended the same catholic school, went to the same swim club, and tended to vacation together as well. this closeness may have seemed overwhelming to some, but for me, it was the perfect lifestyle.

One afternoon, my parents gathered my brothers and I to inform us that we would be moving to Virginia. My dad was in the midst of expanding his company further south and moving seemed to be the best option as my dad would have to jump start each of these companies in the south. As we spent the majority of the summer searching for homes and schools for my brothers and I to attend, it became more apparent that it did not matter where we lived because my dad had the ability to computer either way as long as the distance was not too far. Philadelphia seemed to be the perfect fit, as my mom grew up there and my dad had spent his boarding school and college years in the area. We had numerous family members in Philadelphia and my parents were familiar with the school systems in the area which was a significant reason for our move. The pieces began to fall into place and Philadelphia became our final destination.

Although the idea of a new place to live sounded exciting, I had a difficult time grasping the idea of leaving my true home and so called, “family” in West Virginia. Like most children, I cried for weeks and told my parents I would never leave West Virginia. However, come moving day, I jumped into the car and was on my way to a new home. Because the choice to move to Philadelphia was relatively last minute, we bought a temporary town home and soon attended the local public schools. The transition was rough, especially because I was familiar with most of the private school kids mainly through family ties. As time passed, I became more acclimated with the area and made close relationships. The idea of moving didn’t seem so bad to me after all.

As I became older it became more apparent to me as to what particular sacrifices my parents made for us to move to such a sought after area. Education is not strong in West Virginia and, of course, my family values education. While my mom matriculated through Shipley and my dad attended the Hill School, my parents were fully aware of the private school excellence as well as the prestigious public school reputation that this area of Pennsylvania had to offer. My parents’ mentality was family first. While my dad had big plans to expand his company further south, he realized that moving to an area where my mom did not know anyone would be difficult as he would have to commute back and forth from West Virginia to Virginia, weekly. Philadelphia, however, offered a strong support system of family and friends and was also an area that my family and I were very familiar and aquatinted with.

Eight years later, my father continues to drive sixteen hours round trip once a week. While my dad has always been a “family man”, he sacrifices being away from his loved ones to run his company in other southern states besides west virginia. He spends countless hours traveling to support his business and ultimately support us, his family.

Although my attachment to my home state is strong, the opportunities that I have been given here are priceless. I have continued my figure skating at a level I could have never dreamed of. I have been introduced to the sports of lacrosse and field hockey, which I now will continue throughout my collegiate life. And I have been given an education that most cannot say they have received. The academic level and support is tremendous and I would have not been able to receive this education in West Virginia. Looking back, it has been difficult, but I believe my parents when they tell me it will pay off.

It is evident that my parents sacrificed a lot for their children and I am grateful for this. I am thankful for the opportunities that have been granted to me and believe that I will thrive later on in life, this I believe…