Senator Ted Kennedy enabled me to become an architect even though he did not know me and had never met me.
In 1971, I was accepted into Rhode Island School of Design Architecture School. But I couldn't afford the tuition. When I asked for financial aid, I was told by the school that President Nixon had cut back on the money the government gave the school to help needy students like myself and that I wouldn't be able to get any scholarship money as a result. I was a resident of New York at the time and wrote my two senators, as well as the governor of New York. I also wrote the same letter to Senator Ted Kennedy. He was the only one that answered me, even though he knew that I was not one of his constitutents. He said, in his letter, that he was forwarding my letter onto the Senate Educational Committee and would get back to me in a few weeks. The letter was signed by him personally.
A few weeks later, I got another letter from Ted Kennedy. In his letter, he graciously defended President Nixon and said that it was not true that Nixon had cut back on scholarship money. He said that Nixon had only cut back on loan money, but that he had actually increased scholarship money. He enclosed information on all the scholarship money that was available that Rhode Island was receiving from the federal government. I looked at the very detailed information and identified several programs for which I was eligible. I forwarded this information onto the school, and I got every bit of scholarship money I asked for.
As a result, I was able to stay in school, graduate and become a licensed architect. I came from a family of blue collar workers, and I was the first woman in my family, as well as the first person, to ever go to college. It was only because Ted Kennedy cared about helping me realize my dream that I was able to do it. Ted Kennedy also inspired me to want to make a difference for good in the world. He lived to make the world a better place, and I want to do the same.