Lessons Learned From Awarding Multiple $10,000 Scholarships

Our 2021 scholarship has come to a close and the winners have been chosen. This was my first year as scholarship chairperson and I am going to be completely honest with you, it was not what I expected. 

I expected applications to come in, I would read and review them and then choose the winners. However, there was a lot of in-between that I didn’t see coming. Applications did come in, and I did read and review them. But instead of just casually choosing a winner, I read the applications again, and again. And then I tried to determine which applications should be considered finalists. And then I read the applications again. After that, I spoke with mentors of these students to verify projects and receive a little more insight on them and the project they were carrying out in their community. After every single conversation, I was convinced THIS was the student that deserved the scholarship. I made 15+ phone calls, but could only choose 5 winners. 

Needless to say, it was stressful! However, it was still an incredible experience. Here are a few things I learned along the way. 

There is so much good in this world. So, so, so much good. 

A lot of this good is coming from the youth in our communities. 

I underestimated what 17 to 18-year-olds were capable of. 

They are also more empathetic than we give them credit for. 

Our future is actually in really good hands. 

Reading through each project that these students submitted was incredible to hear more about the struggles in their community and how they sought out to find a solution and fix these problems. Becoming a scholarship chairperson was quite possibly the best decision I’ve made. These kids truly do deserve so much recognition, whether they won the scholarship award or not!