The Gift That Gave Back

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On Thursday, May 26th, at Five Bridges in Rehoboth, our family presented the second annual Christiano Barbosa Volleyball Award for Sportsmanship. This award goes to the player who brings integrity, team spirit, sportsmanship and heart to the game and his teammates, and it was birthed by one of Christiano’a best friends and his mother, AJ and Melissa Andrade. We decided as a family to attach a cash scholarship award to the recipient, as well. This year, the award went to Ethan Jones. Ethan was a freshman when Christiano was a senior so I knew of him, but never really had the chance to get to know him. After we presented him with the award, his mother came over to our table. She wanted to share with me that it was so special he had received this, not only because of his love for Christiano, but because he had written his college essay about him. That absolutely blew me away! I asked Ethan to send me the essay, which he did. I loved it so much that I wanted to share it here for all of you, with his permission of course. 🙂

Here is Ethan’s college essay:

A Life that Changed Another by Ethan Jones:

During my freshman year, one of my biggest goals was to make the volleyball team. As my freshman year went on nothing changed and come spring, I was trying out for the volleyball team. After three days of sweat filled tryouts the team was announced and I made the junior varsity team. The excitement for me was off the charts. I was part of a division 1 team. With volleyball came new friends, but for me the person I remember most from freshman year was Chris Barbosa. Chris towered over me as he was 6 foot 5 and in great shape. He introduced himself to me at practice. He was such a nice and humorous kid. Although he was a senior, he made it a point to talk to all the underclassmen. I remember on the bus ride home from away games he would do rap battles making everyone on the bus laugh. That whole season we counted on Chris to make us laugh but more importantly, be our friend.
With volleyball over I did not see Chris as much. He went off to college and I didn’t hear much about him until my sophomore year. With only a few weeks into the school year I noticed something was wrong. There was no laughing or smiling amongst the seniors, including my sister. Later that day my sister asked me if I remembered Chris Barbosa. I responded,” Of course, he was such a great guy.” Then she went on to tell me how he was in a car accident and passed away. At that moment everything for me changed. I had lost a friend of mine just like that, and it would take a toll on me.
Losing a friend at such a young age taught me a lot about life and death. I attended the services held by his family. His death had a huge impact on me. Before this incident it seemed like life was forever and I have so much time to do anything I want. Now I know that life can change in an instant. Chris’ untimely and unfortunate death made me realize this. He was the type of guy who lived life to the fullest; he always had a smile on his face and kind words for everyone. I recognized that life could end at any time. As a child throughout middle school and even freshman year of high school I would push things aside for another time, but not anymore. After this experience I started to spend most of my time with school work, volunteer work, sports, or even work for the family as soon as I could. I’ve tried to become a better person to my family and friends and even a better student. I sadly realized that life can change within a split second so I have to live life to the fullest or I will regret it. As my journey to adulthood continues, on the day I turned 16 I applied for and got a job and even saved enough money to buy a car. Most importantly I value time with family and friends and pride myself in helping when I’m needed. In the short amount of time I knew Chris, he taught me a lot about how to live life successfully and happily even though his was cut too short. I am now a senior in high school applying to college to begin the next step in my life as a man-Chris will forever serve as my reminder to not take life for granted.

We are so blessed by the impact Christiano made on so many and the love he showed to all. Thank you, Ethan. You gave us more than we could have ever given you ~with Love, The Barbosa Family