Elizabeth Johnson had an upbringing filled with hardships.
At a young age, she lost her dad to complications stemming from drugs and alcohol abuse. Her mother and brother are both addicts. Their home is in foreclosure.
Despite the obstacles put in her path, Johnson is headed to Farmingdale University in the fall. On June 28, she was named the recipient of the Frank J. Becker Education Foundation Scholarship at a special dinner event at Angelina’s Pizzeria & Restaurant in Lynbrook.
“The challenges I have faced thus far all seem worth it with this help,” Johnson said in her speech accepting the scholarship. “I can live on my school campus and enjoy my first year of college without working two jobs.”
The scholarship fund is named in honor of the late Frank Becker, a former New York state Assemblyman and member of the U.S. House of Representatives, who overcame many obstacles to achieve the American dream. Becker never studied past the eighth grade, but went on to serve in World War I, created a successful small business and then represented his country as an elected official.
Johnson is the 60th person to receive a scholarship in his honor.
“On the anniversary of our 60th year, our winner is Elizabeth Rose Johnson, who is also an amazing story,” said Frank’s grandson, Hilary Becker, who serves as the deputy mayor for Lynbrook. “This young woman has overcome some huge obstacles, and much like my grandfather, she is determined to succeed in life, and she will be off to a great start by attending Farmingdale U. in the fall. We could not be more pleased, and honored that she is this year’s winner of the scholarship.”
Johnson is the 30th female recipient of the award, which is dedicated to a student in the fourth congressional district each year. Donations to support the scholarship came from the financial contributions of local residents. A committee selected Johnson as the winner of this year’s scholarship. After everything she has dealt with, Johnson accepted the award with gratitude.
“My family is one of many that deals with serious addictions, poverty and hardships,” Johnson said. “The thought of college never felt like a possibility at a young age. Yet, somehow along this long, treacherous journey, I made it.”