The nonprofit LIFE Foundation named the winners of its annual LIFE Lessons scholarship program today.

This year, the foundation was able to award $115,000 in scholarships to 60 students, an all-time high thanks to contributions from the NAILBA Charitable Foundation, the MDRT Foundation and ValMark Securities.

Students applied for the scholarship by submitting either a video or written essay about the emotional and financial struggles they faced after the loss of a parent. They were also asked to specifically discuss how the lack of adequate life insurance coverage affected their college-funding plans.

One of the scholarships was chosen through an online vote that took place over the summer; the other recipients were selected by a panel of judges made up of insurance executives and LIFE board members and staff. The recipients’ stories and videos are available on the LIFE Foundation website.

One of this year’s stories belongs to Chezerea Ortiz, 20, whose father, Mark, suffered a stroke in 2008 and passed away six months later at the age of 45. Chezerea put off college to work as her family’s sole breadwinner. With some financial support from her grandparents and, now, a LIFE Lessons scholarship, she recently completed a dental assistant certification program.

“Parents don’t want to imagine not being able to watch their children grow up and realize their life dreams, but part of being a responsible parent involves taking the time to acknowledge that none of us is promised a tomorrow and then making financial plans to account for that irrefutable fact,” says Marvin H. Feldman, CLU, ChFC, president and CEO of the LIFE Foundation. “Stories like Chezerea’s help put into perspective how financially devastating it can be when a family loses a loved one who provided for them but didn’t own any life insurance. We’re proud to be able to help determined young people like Chezerea pursue their college dreams through our LIFE Lessons Scholarship Program.”

The 60 students who received LIFE Lessons scholarships ranging from $10,000 to $1,000 include:

$10,000 Scholarship Recipients: Chezerea Ortiz (Albuquerque, N.M., Pima Medical Institute); Emily Diaz (New York City, University of San Diego)

$5,000 Scholarship Recipients: Diamond Davis (New Brunswick, N.J., Rutgers, The State University of New Jersey); Kenyatta Kaigler (Hamtramck, Mich., Wayne State University); Kirtus Lorett (Stevens Point, Wis., University of Wisconsin – Stevens Point); Mahogany Fleming (Cincinnati, The University of Toledo); Micah Morton (Tucson, Ariz., University of Arizona); Oscar Genesin (Brooklyn, N.Y., Baruch College); Yasmine Moss (Thurmont, Md., North Carolina Central University)

$2,500 Scholarship Recipients: Ariana Wascher (Bowling Green, Ohio, Bowling Green State University); Joshua Gleim (University Park, Penn., Pennsylvania State University); Ryan Faries (Tarpon Springs, Fla., University of Florida); Sarah Keefer (New Cumberland, Penn., Pennsylvania State University – Harrisburg); Skyler Baird (Midvale, Utah, The University of Utah)

$1,000 Scholarship Recipients: Allison Radel (Moscow, Idaho, Brigham Young University – Idaho); Allison Stuby (Grand Rapids, Mich., Michigan State University); Alona Oshon (Fort Washington, Md., Howard University); Aneka Bruce (Brooklyn, N.Y., Pennsylvania State University); Bobby Moreland (Westerville, Ohio, Otterbein University); Brittany Mather (Philadelphia, Penn., University of Pennsylvania); Candace Warn (Bloomingdale, Ill., Illinois State University); Cayla Conforti (Chicago, Saint Norbert College); Chelsea Hall (Marion, Ind., Indiana University South Bend); Cody Manthes (Sherman, Texas, Grayson County Community College); Conner Dembroski (Indianapolis, University of Southern Indiana); Danielle Warren (San Jose, Calif., Gallaudet University); Danielle Visone (Lake Worth, Fla., Florida Gulf Coast University); Daphnie Mingo (Miami, Florida Gulf Coast University); Deborah Omoyege (Starkville, Miss., Mississippi State University); Ellen Kellner (Allendale, Mich., Grand Valley State University); Frankie Mueller (Northborough, Mass., Saint Anselm College); Garrett Musson (Elbert, Colo., Western State College of Colorado); Haley Strader (Greensburg, Ky., University of the Cumberlands); Jamie Price (Luling, La., Nicholls State University); Jasmine Segall (Berkeley, Calif., University of California, Berkeley); Jenna Magness (Whiteford, Md., Harford Community College); Kalli Krueger (Nashotah, Wis., Carroll University); Katharine Kmiecik (New York, Parsons The New School for Design); Kenneth Ramsey (McAlester, Okla., University of Central Oklahoma); Kiera Sarill (Arlington, Mass., Brandeis University); Kimberly Thornton (Wildomar, Calif., California Baptist University); Lacey Ludlam (Haynesville, La., University of Arkansas Community College at Hope); Lauren Koneski (State College, Penn., Pennsylvania State University); Lily Orcutt (Los Angeles, Occidental College); Luke Mahler (Kill Devil Hills, N.C., University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill); Marie Mahaney (Platteville, Wis., University of Wisconsin – Platteville); Marissa Parker (Hemet, Calif., California State University, Fullerton); Markayle Acord (Bonners Ferry, Idaho, Corban University); Mathew Miller (Newburyport, Mass., University of New England); Matthew Bonczek (State College, Penn., Pennsylvania State University); Melissa Free (Highland Springs, Va., Old Dominion University); Michael Bennett (Campo, Calif., Cuyamaca College); Michael Lawrence (Anamosa, Iowa, Loras College); Omar Khraishah (State College, Penn., Pennsylvania State University); Robert Peavy (Lizella, Ga., The University of Georgia); Ryan Field (Tallahassee, Fla., The Florida State University); Samuel Calvin (Altoona, Penn., Pennsylvania State University – Altoona); Sara Alcid (Bryn Mawr, Penn., Bryn Mawr College); Tasha Gibson (Lubbock, Texas, Lubbock Christian University); William Erik Omholt-Montague (Missoula, Mont., The University of Montana)