Dar Galiszewski, 2015 Essay, Winner of the Jaime Vick Moran Scholarship

Through the hard work and dedication of Jaime's family, there are two $1,000 scholarships given every year to female athletes at Kiski Area.  Tonight I am proud to share with you the second winner's entry.  Congratulations Dar!

Darlene Galiszewski

Kiski Area High School

Jamie Vick Moran Memorial Scholarship

        My experience as a female student-athlete at Kiski Area High School has provided me with a significant amount of life lessons.  As a member of the Kiski Area Volleyball program, I have endured hard work, tragic heartbreak, and the redeeming gift of friendship.  My time spent on this team has consisted of lessons that some people don’t learn their entire life.  When I started middle school volleyball, I arrived at tryouts to be greeted by Jamie Moran. This is one of the few memories I have of such a great coach, as the another is her funeral I attended just a few years later.  The battle she fought is one of the most courageous events I’ve witnessed, and the support around her was just as impressive.  This is when I began to learn failure and how to come back from it with grace.

From the sport of volleyball itself I learned about hard work, dedication, and the harsh consequences of an overpass.  But being a part of Kiski Volleyball is about more than a sport, it’s about family.  In my sophomore year my teammate, Jenna, died three days after Christmas.  This was the biggest challenge I have ever been faced with because no one that close to me had ever died before, and it wasn’t like in tragic movies.  In the movies there is music and fade ins and eventual resolution.  In high school there are slamming breaks, bloodshot eyes, and awkward therapy sessions due to suicidal thoughts.  It is not graceful or pure.  It is awful.  I remember looking at the snow the morning after she died and thinking, “How can the creator of this beautiful earth let something like this happen?”  Jenna’s death was the worst thing I have ever experienced.  I was in a state of shock, denial, confusion, and numbness.  I thought I would feel that way forever.

However Jenna’s family did a great job of finding positivity in her death by sharing her legacy with friends, family, and teammates.  She was someone whose faith radiated through everything she did. She was influential at her church as well as in the community and her impact on the ones around her has pushed me to become a figure of positivity through the things I do.

I use Jenna’s death as motivation for everything I do. This event made such a large emotional and spiritual impact on me and will always have an affect on my perspective.  It put me down so low but without it, I would not have had many of the experiences I gained since the accident.  It is so important to take a horrible event and turn it into something positive, and I think that my teammates death has helped me do that.

        Being an athlete taught me how to fight. More specifically I learned what it was like to be there for one another.  Through the death of a teammate or the loss of a game, we helped each other.  Not only did I grow by helping others, I learned what it was like to accept the comfort of others and how to let people in.  My team holds each other up and we will continue to do so for the rest of our lives because we share a bond that no other athletes can say they have. Being an athlete at Kiski isn’t like being an athlete at other schools.  Being an athlete at Kiski takes passion. It takes courage.