To the First Unitarian Universalist Congregation of the Palm Beaches,
On Tuesday, August 23rd, 2016 at approximately 9:30am, I started my first semester at the Lake Worth Campus of Palm Beach State College. I felt that it was extremely important and the least of any effort that I could give, to inform this Congregation of that fact. Without the warm kindness and ambitious generosity of this establishment, I would not have been able to write the introduction of this letter in full truth.
I wanted this opportunity so desperately and worked so hard to make sure that I would start and finish college successfully bearing the fruits of imparted knowledge, and I almost gave it all up. My financial aid was cleared, my schedule was made, and I was ready for college when I discovered that 3 pieces of paper would keep me from accessing my financial aid funds. Expeditiously, I began a quest to provide the missing papers one of which was needed from me and one of which was needed from my mother. I received the paperwork I had needed but my mother received a notice from the IRS a week before the start date of my classes stating that they would not be able to process her request at this time.
In full faith and confidence I remained positive, carrying some doubt in the back of my mind, and I decided to go speak with a financial aid representative on campus. I believed in my heart that they could not deny me the assistance I needed for achieving and attaining a better if I showed myself in person, and that I was a real live human being. I’m right about a lot of things but in this matter, I was wrong. The woman sitting behind the counter told me assertively that there was nothing she could do without those papers and that my financial aid would not be covering my classes without them.
I like to carry myself very confidently and casually and I tried very hard to keep up this demeanor in front of all the eyes watching me in that office, but I felt as if I had painted the Mona Lisa and she had just ripped the canvas apart right before my eyes. I thought to myself that it was a sign and that I wasn’t meant to be there and I had begun to give up when GOD intervened. I started to drag myself away when the woman behind the desk told me to wait. She told me that she had experienced situations like my mother’s before and that the document would most likely be sent to her soon. She then told me that the financial aid was already in the system and approved and that the papers were the only thing stopping me from being able to use it. Then the woman told me the best news I had heard all month. She said to me, not to worry and that I didn’t need the financial aid to start my classes as scheduled because they were already paid for by a $1,500 scholarship that was awarded to me from this Congregation.
My classes for the semester totaled $1,045 and the textbooks I needed totaled $382.93. I could not continue to pursue my education without first stepping outside of myself to acknowledge the group of amazing and generous individuals that kept me on the right path towards building the best life I can for me and those I stand to impact. I thank the First Unitarian Universalist Congregation of the Palm Beaches and the members thereof for the greatness that you have delivered unto my life. If there is anything I can do further to show how appreciative I am, please let me know.
Sincerely, Derquan James
P.S. I know this is very long-winded but I needed to stress the importance of the gift you gave me and how important it must be for the others who have received it as well and how important it will be for those in need who may receive the same gift of generosity In the future!
Letter from Derquan James read from the 1stUUPB pulpit by the Rev CJ McGregor, Aug 28, 2016.