North Central College - Naperville, IL

Endowed Scholarship Recipient

Autumn Ceschin with Vice President for Institutional Advancement, Rick Spencer

Autumn Ceschin, a senior from Wayne, Illinois, is the 2014-15  recipient of the Wu-Kan and Shien-Woo Kung Endowed Scholarship. Below is the essay she submitted to the scholarship committee.

Throughout my years as a student, from preschool to high school, my sister and I were known as “the Chinese girls.” We did not look like the other students, let alone our own family. We were adopted when we were very young, my sister at the age of three and I at thirteen months, For my sister it wasn't hard for her to give up her Chinese identity. Or at least she never showed it. But for me, it was, and still is a struggle. I do not know anything about my past except that I was left at the gate of the orphanage with a red note pinned to my outfit. All the note said was something along the lines of “her birthday is July 11, take care of her, thank you.” I wish my birth parents left me a picture of what they looked like, then I would know if I have my mother’s eyes, or my father’s smile, but all they left me was a note, a note that the orphanage wouldn’t even let me keep. I understand that it must have been hard for my birth parents to let me go, and I understand that the orphanage needed to keep that note on file, but it just leaves me with so many questions. The biggest question is, “who am I?”

I could try to answer that, in fact, I have tried answering that for the past 21 years and still haven’t come up with an answer. And that’s what brought me to North Central College. I am currently studying Chinese at North Central and I’m absolutely in love with it. I began studying Chinese prior to attending North Central at Elgin Community College near my home. I studied for a year and a half until my teacher cancelled the class because I was the only one who signed up for it. From that moment I knew what I wanted to do with my life. I wanted to study Chinese and master this magnificent language and return back to Hangzhou, China, the place where I am from.

I came to North Central ready to learn Chinese and that is exactly what I am doing. Although my Chinese is far from perfect, I am 110 percent dedicated to learning it. With a minor in Chinese and a major in International business, I hope to return to China and perhaps become an interpreter for a large company. And maybe, if I’m really lucky, I could visit the orphanage where I was left.

With the assistance of the Kung Scholarship, Autumn’s dream of returning to China is closer to becoming a reality.