Shondra Celestine – DiversityJobs Scholarship Finalist for August 2012

I chose Criminal Justice as my major. I grew up in Compton California and saw many of my peers fall to peer pressure. I on the other hand grew up with a mother that showed me that discipline, responsibility, and structure was the way to go. As I began to grow older, I realize that some of the traits I saw were generational.  Many people make the misconception that if you’re a teenager or adult a person is supposed to automatically know what behaviors are correct and acceptable to society. Yes there are laws that instruct people the dos and don’ts of society. Well this misconception is incorrect.

Many children growing up mimic the behaviors that are seen in and around the home. If your family members were involved in gangs, stealing, and selling drugs all your life, would you think that this is not normal behavior? A young child learns from what they see and if this behavior has been glorified then for them it is the right way to live, until they wind up in prison to say the least. Just as babies don’t know how to act until they are taught, youth and unstructured adults are the same. We as society need to look into our hearts and have a little understanding for those that has not been taught proper ways of living and share knowledge with those that have a feeling of hopelessness.

I would like to make a difference and show young people and adults that there is another way to live no matter what kind of upbringing they have had or neighborhood they have grown up in. My grandmother always taught me it is not where you come from, but where you plan to go and how far your dreams can take you. Through my degree in Criminal Justice I would like to be an encouraging figure to the lives that I can touch. I would like to be the voice that can give youth and wayward adults another way of thinking, acting, and dreaming. 

I have overcome many obstacles in my life. Raising 3 sons as a single parent and being laid off my job, just to name a few has been difficult. Returning to school at 38 years of age has been an obstacle in itself. I didn’t know if I could keep up with younger students that have just finished high school, but I studied twice as hard and my children are proud of me and most of all I am proud of myself. To complete my dream of a college degree would be a remarkable accomplishment, not only to me and my children, but to my parents who did not attend college.’s scholarship program for diversity and minority students is proud to announce Shondra Celestine as one of the seven finalists for its August 2012 application deadline. Vote for her essay (Facebook ‘Like’ and other social media sharing options in left column), and/or leave comments of support to help us with the selection process.