Alicyn Gormley, a junior at the Wentworth Institute of Technology in Boston, has been an American Legion Auxiliary member since 2016. Her extensive volunteer service with the ALA began when she found out that her local Wreaths Across America fund would not have enough money to put wreaths on all graves in the local veterans cemetery where she has a grandfather, family, and friends who lay there. She immediately organized a fundraiser at her school to raise the needed funds so that all veterans who rest in this cemetery could have a wreath. When the fundraiser concluded, Alicyn knew she wanted to do more, so she joined the ALA.
Throughout her time as a Junior ALA member, Alicyn has held several positions, including Junior unit president, Eastern Division Junior secretary, department vice chairman of Junior Relations, and she currently serves as department chairman of Junior Relations. Despite being a busy junior in college, Alicyn has remained involved with her ALA activities — an amazing feat, because as she pursues her degree in interior design, Alicyn is required to get hands-on experience through co-ops before she graduates. This does not leave her with much free time, and it puts an extreme burden on her finances. Yet, she remains committed to helping veterans, military, and their families.
Because of her school’s requirements for hands-on experience, Alicyn must live on campus more than the normal fall and spring semesters. This means she must pay more in terms of housing and the normal costs to support herself because she must be there more than the average student. All of this, in addition to Alicyn paying for her entire college experience herself, makes for an intimidating financial situation.
However, receiving the ALA’s Junior Member Loyalty Scholarship has gone a long way in alleviating this burden. The scholarship helps her financially now, as well as far into the future. Being chosen to receive it made her family very proud.
“It means a lot. I would be paying more money for college is the bottom line,” she said. “I would have to take out a bigger loan and be paying it back for longer. My family is very proud. They are very happy that I am able to have the financial help to continue my education.”
The scholarship’s impact is not lost on Alicyn, and she plans to capitalize on the opportunity and honor the generosity of donors who made the scholarship possible.
“I hope in the future, when I graduate and begin my professional career, that I can make them proud,” she said.
There are ALA Junior members all over the country who are attending college and supporting themselves, just like Alicyn. You have the opportunity to change these lives as well: Click here and donate to ALA scholarships and give more students the opportunity to graduate and go on to have an amazing impact on the world!
By Zac Felty, Staff Writer