Class of 2020
University of Missouri- Kansas City
I have been a recipient of the Ava’s Grace Scholarship and the Interest-Free Loan for many years and it has greatly shouldered the financial burden that I feared taking on while being enrolled in college.
To the individuals that have made my life possible:
It is with a full heart of appreciation and an enormous amount of gratitude that I am able to sit here at this park on this oddly warm, sunny day in January and say thank-you for the contribution you have made to The Scholarship Foundation of Saint Louis. I have been a recipient of the Ava’s Grace Scholarship and the Interest-Free Loan for many years and it has greatly shouldered the financial burden that I feared taking on while being enrolled in college. To whomever may be reading this, I’m certain that you get hundreds of letters from young adults like myself who say thank-you for the effort and commitment you have made, not only to this amazing foundation and the scholarships it offers but to us, the students. However, I want to do something a little different and rather than tell you what your commitment has done for me, I want to show you the opportunities you have allowed me to experience. Once again, from the bottom of my heart I say thank-you for your commitment to this wonderful organization and thank-you for providing me with everlasting memories.
I guess I should start off with a brief introduction. My name is Rico Beuford and I attend the University of Missouri- Kansas City. I am currently enrolled in the Six Year B.A./M.D. program and I am a year 5 student. I am from St. Louis, MO and attended Parkway North High School. Here I am at my white coat ceremony with my Aunt Bridgett (or who I like to call Te Te), to my left and my mentor, Carla Feuer, who has given me an unimaginable wealth of guidance and support since high school.
Here is my family. My dad, Rico (Yes, I’m a Jr.) and his girlfriend Lashonda. My brother Ryshaad is to the right, and my dad’s girlfriend’s son, Isaiah. My white coat ceremony was a such a surreal moment for me because it was one of the first times that I was able to visualize myself wearing a white coat and calling myself a doctor, which would be the first for anyone in my family to do!
One of the best experiences that I have been afforded in college is studying abroad in countries that I have only ever read about in books and taking chances that have literally taken my breath away. One country that will forever have my heart is Costa Rica. I spent two months there volunteering in a community clinic, assisting the nurses and doctors with their patients while experiencing the true “Tico” life by living with a host family. By far, this was one of the most memorable and most influential experiences of my life that put me on a new trajectory for my future. As I said, you have provided me with experiences that have literally taken my breath away. This photo is one such experience. That little speck hanging hundreds of feet in the air is me!
And in this pic are the crazy friends of mine who convinced me to take this leap with them, which I have yet to, or ever will, regret.
Thank-you for allowing me to have this! Another such experience was snorkeling. Some friends and I decided to go on a weekend trip from Costa Rica to Bocas Del Toro, Panama. If you ever get the chance to visit, please take it. Panama’s beaches are something off a postcard. They are absolutely stunning!
You know how if you go to a big city like NY or LA you can find a community where immigrants have banded together to create a “home away from home” experience for themselves and their kids? For example, in Saint Louis, “The Hill” is well known for its Italian restaurants and markets. Another classic community that is often found is Chinatown. Well, did you know that Chinatown is not specific to the US? When you think about it, obviously it’s not, but I distinctly remember when I came across Chinatowns in Costa Rica and later in Buenos Aires, Argentina I was so amazed that this idea is ubiquitous around the world and truthfully, it helped me to have better awareness of the world. The picture on the left was taken when I was visiting Chinatown in San Jose, Costa Rica and the picture on the right was taken when I was visiting Chinatown in Buenos Aires, Argentina. Thank-you for helping me expand my horizon outside of the US and helping me develop an awareness that put me on track to becoming a global citizen!
One thing I’m very interested in doing is learning how to garden. Something about putting the worries from the day into the soil and allowing something to blossom from my stress is beautiful. God knows that being in this program has given me more than enough stress to open up a botanical garden. Well, this year I took it upon myself to finally make an attempt at having a green thumb!
And if you don’t mind me saying, I wasn’t too shabby at it! In the red pot is sweet basil, in the green one I grew green onions, in the blue one in the front I grew Italian parsley, and in the other blue one I grew chives.
In many ways this year was learning how to transform my worries and stresses into positive things in my life. Being patient and watching my plants grow day by day taught me to be patient with myself and learn how to smile at the beauty at the end. Another thing I took up this year in order to transform negative energy into something positive is running. I actually completed my first 25K (approx. 15.5 miles!) run. But I certainly didn’t just wake up one day and decide to run this. It was a process getting to that point and I’m so glad that I was able to accomplish that goal. These next few images are my running paths and times while training for my race.
One of the best things of having the support of the Ava's Grace Scholarship is that I’m able to set aside time to spend with family, friends and co-workers instead of working two and three different jobs at time. At one point in time during this rigorous Six Year B.A./M.D. Program, I worked as a Residential Assistant, a Student Ambassador, an International Ambassador, and still juggled the many responsibilities of being a part of a fraternity and other organizations and simply enjoying my time in college. As you can see, your support has truly freed up my time to enjoy the experiences that every college student should naturally enjoy.
Here is a picture of my brothers and me celebrating Earth Day in Saint Louis. This was the first time that any of us had been down to this festival and I was able to share with my siblings small ways to have a positive impact on the Earth.
Here in this picture is the team of residential assistants I was lucky to be a part of for 4 years. Our team name was called “Da Streetz” and it was decided that we should have a bowling social in order to get out of the dorms and have a night away!
The next picture is of my friends and me during my fraternity’s formal event. Being a part of this fraternity has taught me an immense amount of brotherhood, and how to pick up a friend when they’ve fallen down or hit a rough patch. This organization has truly molded me into being a “True Gentleman”.
As you can see, I have formed a wealth of memories while being in college and that is largely due to not having financial burdens forcing me to spend my free times figuring out how to scrape together a few dollars here or there. In conclusion I want to once again thank-you for the support that you have pledged to The Scholarship Foundation and the Ava’s Grace Scholarship program and I hope that you continue to do so for the many of students that come after me because I can guarantee they will form memories that will last them a lifetime like I have.
University of Missouri-Kansas City School of Medicine