Christopher Sanchez

Christopher Sanchez

My name is Christopher Sanchez and I have lived in West Chester, PA my whole life. I grew up behind the Chester Country Hospital with my two sisters, Julia and Olivia, my mother, Christina Wray, and my stepfather, Bruce Wray III. I was taught through Hillsdale and Peirce Middle school, and finally graduated from Henderson High school.

Henderson already held a place in my heart because my grandfather, Bruce Wray II (my Poppop), taught there for over 30 years. As a little kid, I had visited my Poppop at the “big kid school” many times, but I never knew how great his legacy had become. He was an old-school teacher who wasn’t afraid to voice his opinion. When he passed away in 2006, I realized my sorrow for my Poppop was shared with hundreds of past students, faculty members, and friends of the Henderson community. In the funeral home that day, I saw countless people giving their condolences, including teachers who would eventually teach me at Henderson. I realized the mark my grandfather had left on Henderson, and I promised myself that I would bring the pride and spirit of my grandfather with me in high school.

My love for sports continued into 9th grade, when I played freshman baseball and football. My coaches taught me that even through a lingering back injury, you can find ways to help the team get better. In 10th grade I joined the Warrior Guides foundation, and helped give back to the community while also having a ton of fun with families in Chester. In 11th grade I won the Boys Speaking contest without ever having competed in it before, and I came in 2nd place in the school’s first annual Mythology Bee. In 12th grade I hosted the Mythology Bee played spring hockey for the first time, I founded the first-ever Star Wars club, got sponsored for the homecoming court and was granted the prestigious title of Mr. Henderson. While all these things happened, I know that my Poppop was over my shoulder the whole time. I believe that I tried my hardest to bring all the spirit and joy that I could to the Henderson community.

When I first learned that I had been given the honor of receiving the Stephen Chandler Ericson Scholarship, I was in a hot gymnasium filled with people. My peers were accepting awards left and right, and I knew that I would not been receiving one that day. But in my mind, I knew what I had done for the school, and I knew that I gave 100%  into making my parents, my friends, myself, and my grandfather proud. So when my name was called, giving me a queue to stand and accept the award, I was surprised at first. All I could do was point at my mother and father in the stands, and in my heart, I pointed to my grandfather.

When I came home, I learned more about the foundation and I realized it was more than just money for a poor college student. The memory of Stephen Ericson has lived through the hearts of his family, and has extended to the West Chester community, and eventually to me. I am touched to know that I was nominated by my teachers to receive this award; I am extremely honored that the Ericson family has entrusted me with the memory of Stephen. This award will help me next year as I begin studying at Bloomsburg University, majoring in exercise science. The motto of the foundation is “One life makes a difference…” I have tried my hardest to make a difference, to leave a lasting impression on the people I’ve met, and the places I’ve been. I am grateful for this award, for the foundation, and for Stephen’s family, for nominating me. It is an honor I will carry with me forever.