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Educational Scholarship Essay Contest Winner

Grand Prize Winner

Akron Fire Police Credit Union is pleased to recognize
David Pascua as the Grand Prize Winner of the
2023 Educational Essay Contest.

Pictured with David Pascua is Jim Bedinger, Division President, Akron Fire Police Credit Union.

Congratulations to David Pascua, and thank you to every aspiring student who participated in our annual program designed to highlight and further the significance of education and financial literacy.

How Has Law Enforcement Shaped Your Life?

Written by David Pascua, Winner of the Chicago Patrolmen’s Federal Credit Union 2023 Educational Scholarship Essay Contest

“The Wicked Flee When No Man Pursueth: But The Righteous Are Bold As A Lion” (Proverbs 28:1). This quote is a poignant reminder of the responsibilities that my family has pledged to protect the citizens of Chicago. It is framed in a prominent place in my home. It has motivated the direction I choose for my life as the foundation of my identity, interests and activities.

I am the son of a single parent, not very different from many kids these days. Despite raising me alone and working a dangerous job, she provided me with a solid middle-class upbringing. Her unpredictable police shift work schedule created worry and anxiety in my daily life. As she took on challenging assignments, she taught me valuable life lessons. Perseverance, hard work, the value of an education, respect for authority, are all the cornerstones of my upbringing. Those qualities make me different from other young people these days. This is where law enforcement has shaped both of our lives. She gave me the tools I needed to build self confidence, to stand strong in my views, and the courage to take on challenges.

As a high school student, being pro-law enforcement in 2022/2023 is as unpopular as not having a social media presence. It is one thing to be unpopular, but wearing any type of pro police/law enforcement t-shirt or Blue Lives Matter insignia outed me as some kind of “crazy radical patriot”. I learned early on how to survive the roar of society’s hate filled sound that keeps drowning my own voice. Instead of participating in protests or destructive riots, I choose to volunteer for the Police Memorial Foundation, Special Olympics, march in the annual St. Jude’s Parade, and visit Veterans’ memorials. Instead of buying into anti-police rhetoric, I choose to take the unpopular routes like participating for two years in CPFTA (Chicago Police and Fire Training Academy). The resulting consequences were not shocking.

The glaring stares and snarling smirks of my classmates are the results of my vocal approval of the 2nd Amendment. Lunch times spent in isolation and loss of friends were also part of the package; as are teachers who are overly critical with thinly veiled hostile overtones. I find myself asking, “How is pro law enforcement a cause for so much hostility?” I want to stay optimistic, I am hopeful for a different experience in college.

I do not know when or how society changed from civility to hatred for police. I do not understand why the chants of defunding the police are loud and acceptable. I hear rounds of gunfire on a nightly basis in my neighborhood and don’t feel save living in this City. My mind is open and flexible to debating different points of view but groupthink, brain washing, and cultism seems to be the accepted norm of my generation. We need to work together for a civil and peaceful society, a lesson not taught in high school. Will college hold the key to these answers?

It is my hope that college will be different. College should be an educational experience that reflects diverse thought and open conversation. College should represent a myriad of alternative ideals and positive leaders regardless of popularity. College should be supportive and encouraging of law enforcement and the military. There are times when I specifically reflect on three heroes…Thor Soderberg, Paul Bauer and Ella French. These name mean nothing to most, but to me they are slain Chicago Police Officers murdered while protecting the citizens of Chicago. I have attended their funerals and witnessed each family’s anguish. Their names are engraved on the walls of the National Law Enforcement Officers Memorial. All were killed for doing their jobs in a city known for beauty and wonder, but also known as one of the most violent places on earth. Colleges must be as open to many diverse ideals and supportive of my heroes, as they are of others. Law enforcement has influenced and shaped my life in so many positive ways. It is my hope to use this scholarship to complete my education at a military school and pursue a career in Intelligence and Security Studies. After college, I hope to go to law school and become an attorney who works with and supports the law enforcement community.

David E. Pascua – College Freshman – Class of 2027

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