Must be a current high school senior or undergraduate student
Must have a 2.5 GPA or higher
Must be a current high school senior or undergraduate student
Sloane Stephens has always been committed to giving back and supporting her community. As she competes at the highest levels of her sport, winning the US Open in 2017 and rising to become the #3 ranked player in the world, she also dedicates her time to charitable efforts with the Sloane Stephens Foundation. She founded the nonprofit in 2013 at the age of 20 to provide more opportunities to underserved children through education and sports.
Through her foundation, Sloane has helped level the playing field for over 8,000 underserved youth nationwide who otherwise would not have access to safe environments to learn, exercise or play.
Sloane continues making her impact through the $25,000 Sloane Stephens Doc & Glo Scholarship, created in honor of her late grandparents who were instrumental in Sloane’s life and firm believers in the power of education. This scholarship will support 20 students in paying for their education and following their dreams. All high school seniors and current undergraduate students with a GPA of 2.5 or higher are eligible to apply.
To apply, please share which quality you most value in yourself, and how you believe this characteristic will help you in life.
I remember going to Busch Gardens one summer and having a fantastic time. My family and I were walking around the park looking for more rollercoasters, but the mood of our trip changed when we heard hostile yelling behind us. We turned around and saw an argument taking place between two men one of whom, was mentally ill. We heard words like retard, stupid, and other profane words I will not mention. My parents and I exchanged a glance that said more than words could, then I immediately ran to help. Other bystanders were clearly bothered by the situation, but I was confused as to they did not intervene.
This situation allowed me to realize that I am a strong advocate for others. Every day I wonder if what I did was wrong because no one else had the same reaction, but then I remember that there is never anything wrong with lending a helping hand.
I find happiness knowing that I can be there for others when nobody else will step up to the plate. There is value in putting others before yourself and I’ve learned that throughout my life. The Bible accentuates to love your neighbor as you love yourself because, in the end, it always brings good measures.
Being someone who experiences anxiety and self-doubt, this question is no doubt hard for me to think of an answer for. Especially in our society today, I struggle with mental health just like any other teenager. As my senior year comes to an end it has been even more difficult. Having to think about my future, how I am going to get there, and how drastically my life is going to change due to the fact I have chosen to go to a four-year college two and a half hours away from my home. Then, of course, the leaving my friends I have grown up with since preschool aspect. It has been hard. But I can say wholeheartedly I have learned to accept and love this part of me. The quality I admire so much about myself is my sensitivity and caring heart.
It has been hard to come to terms with the fact I tend to struggle more with leaving things behind and starting a new chapter, but I have seen the beauty in that. Not everyone has that attachment to their childhood. I have been blessed by having an amazing family to grow up with and having the same friend group I have had since my elementary school days. Having my sensitivity comes with empathy. I hold a lot of emotions in my heart. Just thinking about graduation makes me happy but sad to the point I want to cry. And I love that part of me. It truly is a beautiful idea that people can just think about something that can make them smile or something that can make them cry. I know not a lot of people have this ability and I will forever cherish and admire this about me.
With this quality, I see a loving life laid out for me. I know there will be rough patches just like any other person would say but I am ready for it. Just because I have a soft heart doesn't mean I don't have goals and a drive to have success in my life. But my soft heart will help me along the way. I can see myself making friends in college and making friends in my career field of choice. Having all of these qualities have helped me decide to pursue my career in nursing. A great trait in nursing is empathy. In my Health Science class at my local career center, one of the top character traits we have learned about is empathy. Empathy is the ability to feel and understand one's emotions. This has helped me tremendously learn to love my empathetic soul. I know with this trait, I will be able to connect to my patients on another level, especially because I wish to pursue a career as a labor and delivery nurse. I hope to provide my patients with as much love and comfort as possible.
Overall, I know learning to love this quality of mine will help me in the future. With sensitivity, I can be sentimental towards patients who may be going through times of distress or even times of happiness. I hope someday I can make at least one person's day just by them feeling like I understood them and that I cared for them. That is truly all that matters to me. I feel called to bring more love into this world and I dream one day to make a change.
CUNY John Jay College of Criminal JusticeOceanside, NY
The quality that I value most in myself is that I am very passionate about helping others. Somehow, I find comfort and peace in being able to help others. My heart jumps for joy whenever I do, and whenever I am unable to help a person, it feels as if my heart sinks into an abyss. On occasions when I am out and a person who is in need of money approaches me, I always try to give what I can, because I believe that the little that I give can definitely make a difference. Additionally, I always give money to street performers because I love to help others. I strongly believe that if someone is in need of something, be it money, food, etc., once we are able to spare, if even a little bit, we should give. Thus, I practice that every time I go out. I really like this about me because the world could do with a little more kindness, and I am happy to be playing a part in doing so.
One of my aim in life is to create two centers. One for the homeless and one for women and young girls who are being abused and have nowhere to go and those who have been kicked out of their homes. I was inspired to build a center for females because of the stories I have read on Instagram from females in my home country. I do not stand for females to be abused, and some have to stay with the abuser because they have nowhere else to go. Therefore, I want to build a place for them to go. Hence, I hope to have two centers in Jamaica, and two here. Additionally, I hope that one day I will be able to go globally with my movement so that I can help more people from around the world. Therefore, having this quality will give me the drive and determination to fulfill my aspirations. I believe that if you are giving or doing something for another person, it should be done from the heart, or don't do it at all if you are going to feel bad or second guess after.
The Classical Academy High SchoolColorado Springs, CO
The characteristic I value most about myself is my inability to be intimidated.
It’s gotten me into a lot of trouble.
Back in middle school, my principal (who terrified all of my classmates) challenged me to a one-on-one debate in front of the entire debate team and anyone who wanted to watch. She’d noticed my potential and wanted to see how I did under pressure.
On a dare from one of my friends, I chose the topic that the school’s uniform policy was too stringent and needed reform. I argued for the motion. She argued against.
In one of the most intense encounters I’ve ever experienced, I laid out a passionate defense of my position, surrounded by nearly a hundred students who were all simultaneously rooting for me and terrified. She fought back, arguing in favor of the rules she’d set in place, and I attacked all of her arguments with as much vigor as I could muster.
The next day, the uniform was still in place, but the policies around jewelry, socks, and headbands had been loosened. I was hailed a school hero.
I’ve carried this same mindset with me as I moved halfway across the world and started at a public high school. I joined the debate team and continued to articulate my thoughts and emotions. I launched a project to advocate for HIV/AIDS, talking to hundreds of people and raising thousands of dollars. I organized bake sales for friends’ businesses, attended rallies to protest racial injustice, and learned to use writing and journalism as a way to speak up against injustice and corruption.
As an aspiring journalist, I know I’m going to be put in a lot of intimidating situations. Watchdog reporting is a method of exposing deliberately concealed information, and often involves bringing down high profile figures. If I’m honest, that terrifies me.
But I also remember the sixth grader who took on the principal to fight against what she considered unfairness. I remember the passion that she felt, the determination to bring change into a world that seemed content with everything being the way it was. And I know that little girl is still inside of me somewhere. Her heart beats for justice, and she’ll never stop until she achieves it.
The world needs people who will stand up and say, “this isn’t right.”
It needs the warriors, the storytellers, the people who are labeled ‘too much’. It needs people who unabashedly plunge themselves into the unfamiliar, the uncomfortable, and the intimidating.
It’s not going to be easy, but no one ever said it should be.
Let’s get started.
"Finish him". That is what my new tennis coach told me to do on a match day. It was expressed in that Mortal Kombat type of way. As the top seeded tennis player on my team, I play the top players of every school. Unfortunately, there are many schools I have played where the players have never picked up a racquet, until they joined their high school team. In this case, that was my situation. My opponent was a beginner, but I could see he was really trying. Instead of smashing the ball over the net on every point, I would push it over, so he would not lose motivation. I told my coach that if I play like I play other people at my level, I would demotivate him and he would never want to play tennis again. "I am here to encourage players to play the game, this is not a time for me to show off my athleticism", I told him. Quickly, throughout the season, my coach caught on that I was not going to humiliate other players that were just learning the game. In fact, I would help them understand the game better because their coaches also do not know the specifics of tennis. At times he would catch me showing an opponent how to hold their racquet correctly, or explaining the score. Then, at the end of those matches I would praise them for being out there. I know they appreciate me because at the district tournament, they would cheer for me. I have had their parents and coaches come up to me and tell me how much their kids enjoy playing me. It is very rewarding. I value my sportsmanship. Tennis is hard enough, physically and mentally, why make it difficult for novice players to want to continue. That is not to say that I play opponents at my level differently in regards to sportsmanship. I exhibit great sportsmanship on the court at all times, regardless of their level of playing. I am fair and respect the talents of my opponents.
Sportsmanship can go beyond sports too. In life I will always need to show this quality, whether that be in school/college, with my family, in my job, etc. In college, I can see me being supportive to my classmates and even offer assistance when I can. As an International Baccalaureate (IB) student, this is what we do. We encourage and show support. We also act with integrity in our school work. This will carry on to my post-secondary education. Integrity is a big part of sportsmanship and key in business. I would like to have a career as an actuary. With this career being considered a branch of mathematics, you have to have integrity. Numbers can tell stories too and I want those numbers to show my quality of work. I want to continue being a team player in everything I do. I have been playing tennis since I was nine years old. It has taught me a lot, but great sportsmanship is the one I am most proud of and one I can carry with me the rest of my life.
Qualities and characteristics assist us not only in identifying ourselves in society but also in reflecting on the person we are. Self-awareness, honesty, problem-solving, and sympathy are some of the qualities and attributes that I value the most in myself. I appreciate self-awareness in myself the most because whether I'm dealing with family difficulties, mental health concerns, and school, I'm aware of what I'm excellent at and how well I can tackle problems in my own manner. Ways to make me feel satisfied and at peace. When I have a lot of schoolwork and tests, I write things down and see where I can assist myself the best. The most difficult issue for me to comprehend. When I was dealing with my mental difficulties, I was depressed, didn't always want to get out with my family and friends, and had poor energy. Simply said, I'm giving it time. When friends invite me, I go, and gradually I begin to interact and attempt to be present at the moment in order to gain energy.
Also, I appreciate my self-awareness through strengthening my mental health concerns by doing activities I enjoy, such as photography. I have an Instagram account where I upload all of my photos shot with my DSLR camera. So I appreciate self-awareness because it allows me to understand where my difficulties are and how I can better them, as well as how I can use my talents to enhance the struggles that I experience or have. The second characteristic I appreciated was my honesty because being honest is vital in school, home, and public. I choose to do the right thing and tell the truth, not the unpleasant truth, but the sincere one. Because it takes a lot of courage to express the truth in a circumstance that makes me nervous. But I appreciate my honesty, especially with family, friends, and school, since it helps me build honest conversations, trust relationships, and a pleasant environment in which I see myself participating and feeling secure.
One trait I respect the most in myself is problem-solving because when I am in circumstances where I need to see a way out, to face the problem without causing harm to people, such as words, facial expressions, and actions, I value problem-solving most. I always find a safe method to handle things without having to deal with the repercussions. The final characteristic that I cherish in myself is compassion; no matter who or where the circumstance is, I always feel awful and pity for those who did not obtain what they expected. I feel pity for them when I see them at their lowest and want to be greater. That makes me want to assist them, give them advice, or reassure them that everything will be OK. The qualities and characteristics that I appreciate in myself help me identify myself and tell me how valuable I am as a person.
I believe that the qualities and characteristics that I have cherished the most in life have aided me on my life path and will continue to. When searching for employment and recognizing my worth in school, work, and friends, I learn how to be more self-aware, problem-solving, honest, and sympathetic. Or trying to demonstrate how capable of a leader I am. Using my talents to confront my challenges, such as school courses, my everyday life becoming from teenager to adult, demonstrates to me that my mistakes can be corrected. Being truthful to others inspires me to build stronger relationships and communicate more effectively.
Many people have told me that my personality is nurturing. I am welcoming and kind-hearted despite all the turmoil I have been through. I care for my friends as if they were my own family; I cook for them and feed them because of my experiences with eating disorders; I offer to take them places because I am a safe and responsible driver; I give them sound advice based on my experiences and offer my perspective on their issues, because there are lessons to be learned in every hardship we face. I even help them clean, because too many of my friends suffer from depression and anxiety, and they deserve to feel the warmth of a clean environment. Due to this, I have been nicknamed the mom of my friend group because of my homely personality and the empathy I exhibit. It is an honor that I carry through the halls of my school and down the streets of my town. Knowing that I have lessened the burden on a person, even for a fraction of a second, is why I strive to leave an impact on others— because help is always needed, whether it be rides to school or helping them fold laundry.
Oftentimes, I will overstep my boundaries and push a person past their limits—it feels tense in the moment, but when they look back in retrospect, they always thank me for what I pushed them to do. My personality is like a pendulum, swinging back and forth between the loving and abrasive parts of who I am, but there is always a balance between the two. I project my emotions honestly, and this straight-forward communication is what has helped me become as loving and nurturing as I am. These traits are valuable to me because I do not act on them for selfish reasons; I truly enjoy helping and being there for others, which is why I aspire to be a physician. I find peace in knowing my actions are driven for a cause, knowing that they mean something to someone. Perhaps it is selfish to feel validation over something as simple as helping someone; perhaps I have a savior complex, but nevertheless, I will offer my time and energy to those I love and care for at the expense of my own happiness every time.
These characteristics of my personality will help me in my life journey because as I move forward in life through college and relationships, I will slowly utilize my empathy, honesty, and communication skills to guide me through interviews, break-ups, friendships, and any interaction that requires basic compassion for one another. My long-term goals of becoming a surgeon are going to be faced with many challenges through board exams, interviews, and patient interactions that can jeopardize my entire career. These communication skills are not only useful in a clinical and professional setting, but they are essential to human connection. Communication skills and empathy are what makes a human a social being, and without those basic guides to social interaction, there would be no progress in this modern world. Having empathy shows that you understand a person despite not having paralleled their circumstances. A person can learn many things just from showcasing empathy, and it takes determination to put those lessons to real-life applications, which is what I strive to do for the remainder of my life. There are always new lessons to be learned, even if you think you know it all.
A quality that I value for myself is determination. With my father being an immigrant to the United States from Trinidad and Tobago, I believe that anything is possible as long as you put your mind to it. My father grew up poor in Trinidad and Tobago but wanted to obtain a better life for his family. Thus, he came to this country with only twenty dollars in his pocket. He came to the United States alone, worked two jobs trying to make ends meet while in community college. Through his tenacity, he was able to finish community college and then transfer to University of Illinois at Chicago, becoming a chemical engineer. My father did not have much when he came to this country, but now he has built a better life for himself and his children. The perseverance that my father had has shaped me into the person I am today.
Knowing that my father came to the United States with practically no money has made me determined to try and work even harder than my father did. Fortunately, living in the USA, there are more opportunities for success compared to what my homeland country had to offer. Growing up with great values to work hard and become successful have molded my character as a human.
In December 2019, everything changed. I was on my way to school when I suddenly came down with a high fever. Days after, my condition worsened, and I panicked. My dad told me to stay strong. I collapsed and spent ten days in the hospital, the doctors believed I had cancer. Several other specialists approached my case conservatively. Many treatments did not work. I endured extensive imaging, labs, and biopsies. My quality of life worsened drastically.
Finally, a new rheumatologist took my case. She correctly diagnosed me with multiple autoimmune diseases and initiated the appropriate treatment. However, this treatment suppressed my immune system, and I was advised to limit my exposure only to individuals at home.
I asked “why me” but remained optimistic. I started homebound tutoring, but social isolation swiftly overcame me. My peers continued life as normal while mine came to a halt.
Three months later, COVID-19 caused a widespread lockdown. My friends did not adjust well, so I comforted them. After all, I endured a three-month head start. I wanted to help my suffering classmates. I did not want my illness to limit me; I used it to propel me forward.
I presented a club idea to my school named “Kindness Through Crisis.” Students could virtually share their struggles and support each other. Sadly, I started losing hope in the club’s formation due to strict school policies. I spoke with my dad daily about this, his response was always to make it a reality, no matter the obstacles. I persisted, and the school finally approved my club. I remained determined.
As COVID cases continued to rise, I used my spare time to assist the less fortunate. Many were without computers, knowledge about COVID, or did not know how to make a vaccination appointment. I started mass campaigns on social media to help people schedule appointments for themselves and their families. I was able to help over 236 people secure appointments. Through my challenges, I continued to persevere just as how my father came to the U.S and persevered through his struggles for a better life.
While I attended a graduation party, the trailer to The Good Doctor caught my eye as it played on the screen. A smile swept across my face as I watched the precise procedure Dr. Shaun performed as he attempted to stabilize a patient at an airport. My goal to practice medicine grew even more. I started watching The Reside