Editorial Note: The following speech was delivered by Mr. Alex Arcay, during the NSA’s annual Gala Banquet, on December 9th, 2017.
Good Evening NSA Guests and Sponsors:
It brings me great pleasure to be speaking about my academic endeavors through the unconditional help and support of the National Supermarket Association (NSA). Ever since I was admitted into the University of Central Florida (UCF) back in 2014, the NSA has continued to support my education and aspirations without question. Words cannot describe how much the NSA has done for me as not only a student but as an individual who believes in their worth. What makes the NSA such a great organization is their ability to involve themselves in community-oriented practices. In other words, their ability to give back to their local communities in such a big and impactful way. Each year, the NSA awards over $50,000 in scholarships to those who strive for excellence which really goes to show you how much they believe in education, scholarship, integrity, and service. It’s caring people like that of this organization that gives the young, self-driven individuals everlasting possibilities to achieve their goals.
College has been one of the most rewarding, yet demanding endeavors of my life. Keeping up with my classes and working two jobs to help pay for my college expenses was no easy task. Going away to college has been bitter/sweet for me. The experience has been priceless and I know I’ve become more appreciative of what life can offer. Waking up every morning at 6 am came to me as quite a culture shock, but I know that one day it will pay off. This is especially important to me because the NSA recognizes those who work hard for what they intend on achieving. Given that, they have assured hundreds of students like myself that there are many people in our corner who want us to become successful.
I can’t even begin to describe how humbled I am to have received the NSA scholarship over the last few years. It was almost like this huge financial weight was lifted off my shoulders as I approached my first semester as a UCF student. Their investment in my educational future is without a doubt, one of the reasons why I have made it so far. As we know, college tuition isn’t economical along with textbooks and housing accommodations. The NSA is the reason why I was able to afford my dorm room, pay for my textbooks and enroll in my classes. No matter how big or how small, they made a difference.
Now that I am currently on the verge of attending law school in the fall, my expectations have by far exceeded themselves. I have been able to accomplish so much these last few years such as maintaining good health, exceptional grades, work ethic, and self-discipline. Given where I’ve been and where I’m going, I have realized that tough times are temporary and tough people last a lifetime.
One thing that I pride myself on doing is saying no to handouts. As a source of pride, I believe in a “hand-up,” not a “hand-out.” Everything comes at a price. “You will pay today or pay tomorrow.” In this case, I chose to “pay it forward” to coin a popular phrase. My philosophy on this whole idea is that success is not measured in how much money you have in life, but how much life you get from the money you earn. I state with conviction that I will never let off the throttle because the only limits are those you set yourself. If my challenging experiences are able to be conquered, then nothing in this world is impossible. Impossible is only an option to those that don’t believe in their worth as an individual. With that, don’t ever forget to believe in yourself so others will believe in you. Because the NSA believed in me, Law School has now become a reality.