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Cosette Curtis

2785

Bold Points

5x

Nominee

3x

Finalist

1x

Winner

Bio

Hey there! My name is Cosette Curtis, and I'm 18 years old. I come from a big family full of different backgrounds, stories, adoptions, races, and interests. I have a passion for foster care and adoption because my family has been heavily involved with it for 6 years. I am excited to be at college and pursuing a bachelor's degree in Social Work. My goal is to serve my community in an essential way by completing my degree and opening a private Social Work practice to work with children and families through case planning. I am currently enrolled at Shippensburg University of Pennsylvania as a Social Work Major. I am a member of the Wood Honor College at Ship where I take challenging general education classes to prepare me for my major-specific classes. At Ship, I am a member of Disciple-Makers Christian Fellowship where I serve on the Leadership Team. I also serve as the secretary of Shippensburg's concert choir, and I am a member of Madrigal Singers as well. I have really been enjoying my work so far at Ship, and I look forward to the coming years spent here! When I am not at college, I work my job back home, which is to be a Dietary Aid at Goodwill Nursing Home. I work in the kitchen to serve my residents the quality meals that they deserve. I thoroughly enjoy getting to talk to the residents about their lives and hearing their many stories. I am very grateful for the opportunity to work in a social environment while pursuing my major; it has greatly fueled my passion for Social Work!

Education

Shippensburg University of Pennsylvania

Bachelor's degree program
2022 - 2026

Salisbury-Elk Lick Jshs

High School
2018 - 2022

Miscellaneous

  • Desired degree level:

    Bachelor's degree program

  • Graduate schools of interest:

  • Transfer schools of interest:

  • Majors of interest:

    • Social Work
  • Not planning to go to medical school
  • Test scores:

    • 1210
      SAT
    • 1160
      PSAT

    Career

    • Dream career field:

      Social Work

    • Dream career goals:

      Child and Family Welfare Services

    • Dietary Aid

      Goodwill Mennonite Nursing Home
      2020 – Present4 years

    Sports

    Soccer

    Intramural
    2009 – 20167 years

    Public services

    • Volunteering

      Oak Dale Church — I help with service projects such as roadside cleanup, children's events, church meals, and fundraisers. I also volunteer for my Church's worship team and lead worship for their children's assembly.
      2018 – 2022
    • Volunteering

      Disciple-Makers Christian Fellowship — Leadership Team
      2023 – Present
    • Volunteering

      Big Red's Pantry — Volunteer for the pantry
      2022 – 2023

    Future Interests

    Advocacy

    Politics

    Volunteering

    Philanthropy

    Dr. Alexanderia K. Lane Memorial Scholarship
    It is important to help others because our world is growing increasingly isolated. Helping others brings us closer together, and helps counteract the divide we face. In our current age of social media, online shopping, mobile ordering, and "Snapchatting," we often find ourselves choosing convenience over connection. While technology does increase speed and convenience, it simply cannot replace the relationships that we can build by interacting with each other in person. When I find myself in a sticky situation, I take comfort in knowing that I have people around me who can help me out. I call my dad, or I go knock on a friend's dorm door to talk. When people offer their help to me, it reminds me that I'm not alone. Although I can feel isolated at times, knowing that I have people in my corner changes my outlook on the problem that seems too big to handle on my own. Connection is what builds foundations for growth and progression in our world. We cannot expect to thrive in a world where people are so incredibly isolated and independent that we are unfamiliar with the concept of helping others. The problem is that it is often easier to ignore those around us or to choose to block them out - acting in favor of our own problems. I suppose we humans can tend to be rather selfish beings when we choose what is simple and easy. This essay would be pretty grim if I left it there, so thankfully I don't believe that is the end of the narrative. Even though it is incredibly easy to find ourselves in a state of isolation, conditioned not to ask for help, we can also choose to break the cycle and start building connections again. Asking for help isn't easy, by any means! Frankly, it can be scary at times. But by allowing ourselves to be vulnerable, we can choose the way that leads to connection and progression in our world. Likewise, when those around us take the courageous step to be vulnerable and ask us for help, we are gifted an amazing opportunity to bridge the gap and build foundationally. In other words, the opportunity is two-sided. When life happens and problems arise, we can both learn to ask for help and be the help for someone else. If we truly care about having a connected, supported, and healthy society, it is absolutely crucial to help those around us.
    #Back2SchoolBold Scholarship
    My best back-to-school tip is to take the time to schedule out what you have to do. I use this ginormous planner from Walmart, and I just put everything in there, down to the smallest assignment, like, "Print out writing assignment for class on Thursday." That way, I know exactly what I have to do and when, and I can easily refer back to it whenever. It has saved my grades more than once, and I couldn't love it more because of it. What I do is take time at the beginning of every new week to plan out all of my assignments and write them in my planner. Then, as the week moves along, I can easily edit day-to-day, and reference my past entries. Having my week laid out in front of me makes my stress levels go down and helps me prioritize my time wisely so that I can still do things that I enjoy on top of homework. So there you have it: my advice is to invest in a overly large planner so that you actually know what's happening in your life! My Instagram handle is cosettecurtis :)
    Elevate Women in Technology Scholarship
    I am inspired by a technology that my mom wears every day: her hearing aids! My mom was born with significant hearing loss, which she struggled with throughout her childhood. I understand that she missed out on a lot of what was happening around her, from social clues to a warm hello when meeting someone. Unless she saw their lips move, she missed what was said. When my mom was 16, her parents began looking into hearing aids as a solution to her missing perspective. She went to consultations and doctor's appointments until she found the right pair for her. Growing up, I remember my mom constantly having problems with her hearing aids. Sometimes the frustration was so great that she would just take them out because they weren't making enough difference for the feedback and discomfort to be worth it. Throughout the years I have become used to repeating myself in a deeper octave and enunciating my words carefully to avoid miscommunication with my mom. I have witnessed many a day when the frustration of near deafness just becomes too much to bear. All of that changed, however, when my mom got an upgrade to her hearing aids. Her latest hearing aids are truly a wonder. My mom's hearing aids are her friend, and therefore mine. Her current pair has built-in Bluetooth which makes phone conversations a breeze! Just today I noticed my mom wearing her hearing aids in the pool, and upon an exclamation from me, she simply said, "They're water-proof!" They are truly a game-changer. My mom can adjust the background noise she hears, tune in directly to specific conversations, and turn her hearing aid volume up or down entirely by using an app on her phone. My mom's hearing aids have changed the lives of my entire family. They are a technology that I am truly inspired by because I have seen their impact directly through my relationship with my mom. Hearing aids are a technology that can and are changing the world. Any step that we can take to break down communication barriers is a step in the right direction. I hope to someday be able to say that every single person who would benefit from a pair of hearing aids has access to them. Everyone deserves the change to hear someone they love say, "Hello! I missed you. How have you been?"
    Hobbies Matter
    My favorite hobby is singing. I am not an extremely gifted singer, nor do I have a natural talent for music. I have grown up with it though, and I have found that it is a crucial part of my life. I grew up at Oak Dale church, full of folks who speak Pennsylvania Dutch and sing our hymns in 4 part harmony. I love the way the music swells through the church on the last verse of the hymns; each of the voice parts working together to make one powerful sound. Although my first memories of loving music occur during hymns sung in church, my church focuses largely on contemporary Christian worship music now. I joined the worship team at Oak Dale when I started high school. Now, in my fourth year serving, one of my favorite things to do is sing with my team. I feel as though my skill has grown through experience, and I am so thankful for that! When I first joined the team, I could barely keep a harmony line. Now, I am regularly leading worship songs for the whole congregation, and it makes me feel so fulfilled. I have to step back from worship at Oak Dale as I move to college. Worshiping the Lord through song with Oak Dale’s worship team is one of the things I will miss most about my high school years. A way that I have taken my love of song into my education setting is through PMEA festivals. Pennsylvania hosts music festivals every year, climbing from the county level all the way up to the state level. In order to pursue these festivals, I need to learn concert pieces from various composers and then audition on them for each festival. I have somehow managed to audition for and be accepted into District, Regional, and All-State choir this year! I am honored to be included in every single one of them. I have learned piles of music this year for performances with PMEA choirs. The songs chosen are full of soul, warmth, and feeling. When I learn them, I get just a taste of what they will be like at festivals – the real joy comes upon hearing everyone singing together. The strong foundation of the Bases, coupled with the harmonizing of the Altos, highlights the artful expression of the Tenors and Sopranos. The music fills my heart. There simply is no other way to describe it! Our world is so conflicted. Music is something that every single culture shares! Throughout the world, music changes just as much as language; each people having their own customs and styles. PMEA has allowed me to experience the culmination of many cultures around the world, from Africa, to England, to Asia. The great privilege of representing other cultures from around the world is only just part of why I love to sing. It truly is an honor to sing.
    Bold Financial Literacy Scholarship
    A personal finance lesson that I have found to be very helpful is the art of patience. Finances are an ever-growing, changing aspect of our lives, so it is important to understand what we have and when. Having patience when it comes to finances can sometimes be very difficult because there are always things begging for financial consideration – much of those things being ‘wants’ vs. ‘needs!’ Having the ability to be patient with our finances is so beneficial. There are times when I think that using my money to buy something could be really great, but when I take a moment to think about it and be patient, I realize that I don’t need that thing in the moment. Often when we choose to wait for something and be patient, a better option comes along that we would have missed otherwise. I am certainly far from perfect when it comes to patience in finances – savings being a stumbling block for me. I am working every day to save money for my education, but sometimes it can be challenging! I am working to grow in patience every day. I am so grateful for teachers who have taught me that being patient with my finances is a virtue that simply won’t disappoint. I chose to take Personal Finance this year, and I am so glad I did! I have learned numerous ways to make the most out of my finances, whether that is through saving or investing! In every situation though, patience is key. Finances are like a good pot of coffee; they take time to brew. Having patience with finances is a very important financial lesson!
    Bold Caring for Seniors Scholarship
    I have found that a great way to serve my community is by working at my local Retirement Home! I was hired in 2020 as a Housekeeper. I thought that I would be better suited to work away from the residents themselves, so housekeeping sounded like a good fit. Boy, did I misunderstand the job description! Over the summer, I ended up working full-time in housekeeping. Every day I was in and out of countless residents’ rooms, dusting their furniture, sweeping and mopping their floors, and sanitizing their bathrooms. Originally, when I was asked to take on housekeeping hours, I was intimidated by the responsibility of working where the residents are living. I was nervous about having to talk to them and engage them in their lives. If I could have had my pick, I would have never spoken to them! I am so glad that I had to step outside my comfort zone, because once I got the hang of my job, I found myself talking to every resident while cleaning their rooms! I know all of my residents by name, I know what they like to eat in the morning, when they go to activities, how warm they like their room, and how to make their beds in just the right way. Honestly, they are the farthest thing from intimidating – how naive I was! I am so privileged to be able to work at the retirement home that I do. I have learned so much about the history of my community and the families that are a part of it. My residents never cease to make me smile and to remind me “Don’t work too hard now, Sweetie!” I truly love the area of my life that includes these very special members of our world.
    Bold Study Strategies Scholarship
    A part of myself that I love a lot is my ability to study well. I had the great privilege of being homeschooled all the way through middle school, and one of the most important things I learned from my time at home was how to study. Homeschooling, unlike private or public schools, is a very self-motivated area of education. Because of this, I often struggled with preparing for tests, because I just didn’t know how to study! I remember quite distinctly expressing this concern to my dad one day, to which he responded simply, “Pretend that you are teaching the material to someone else!” These words changed the way I thought of studying! From then on, all the way to the end of my Senior year, I have used this study technique. When I have to prepare for any sort of exam, I prepare my material for study, and then teach it to my cat, or my houseplant! In so doing, I realize more fully what areas of the material I don’t have a great grasp on, and what areas I am more familiar with. When I am teaching someone else, my brain puts the information into understandable order in the form of a lesson, which in turn helps me to compartmentalize the material in my mind. I seriously recommend this study strategy to all of my friends and family. I guess I have my dad to thank for teaching me how to study!
    Bold Nature Matters Scholarship
    I love nature! Being from Pennsylvania, I experience a lot of the winter season, with the cold and snow. While I appreciate the cold, my favorite time of the year is early spring. Although the colder climates of the world are certainly beautiful as well, I never feel more connected to the world as when I can stand outside in bare feet and ground myself in the earth while smelling the sweet smells of green, growing things. Something that I do to appreciate nature is to walk barefoot during the warmer months of the year. The feeling of just being connected to the ground beneath my feet is just so calming for me! I feel more whole when I connect with the ground below; I feel steady. Another great way to appreciate nature is to take care of it. I have countless plants that live indoors, and I love to tend a garden outdoors! There is just something so special about planting and harvesting one’s own vegetables and such. I believe that the purpose of nature is to be beautiful. Even the very process of nature’s photosynthesis is astoundingly beautiful - something my mind cannot comprehend fully! Nature is truly magnificent. I am thankful to have the space to appreciate it as much as I do!
    Bold Goals Scholarship
    I have felt called to pursue Social Work for almost 4 years now. There have been several times that I have wondered if I am simply failing to pursue other options, but I always seem to come back to the same conviction of pursuing an education in Social Work. I come from a big family of 10, being the co-oldest of 7 siblings. Throughout the years, I have had the privilege of experiencing my family grow both biologically and through adoption. My two youngest siblings are a brother and sister who share a biological mama! I feel so reassured that anything they face, they will be able to face together. In addition to the two youngest, my older brother (older by exactly 1 month, hence the “co-oldest”) has been with my family for 4 years, having joined our family when he was 13 years old. Experiencing the adoption/foster care process several times in my family so far, I have had many opportunities to interact with my siblings’ Social Workers. I think this is where my passion for the field originated! I spent my childhood surrounded by a group of people whose mission was to further the lives of the children they worked with. They served to advocate for the children without voices, children without family support, troubled children, and children that no one wanted to claim. I think back to the positivity that these Social Workers poured out on my family, and especially my siblings, and all I want to do is be that for someone else. One of the reasons I want to pursue education in Social Work is so that I can return the favor to those who have served my family so faithfully over the years.
    Bold Wise Words Scholarship
    The wisest thing I've ever heard is this: "Age is just a number." Something that I have struggled with for many years is the idea that my age holds me back from opportunities I could otherwise pursue. I was often told as a child that I wasn't able to think properly or logically because I was too young. I was told that adults always knew better because they were more experienced, and that I should listen to them without questioning their reasoning because surely I was wrong. Surely I was "too young." When adults say things like, "You're too young," or, "You'll understand when you're older," I can't help but question this logic. My best friend has an uncle who is quite the character. I'm privileged to know him because he is a very deep thinker. Nothing is surface-level in his eyes. Something that he once said has really stuck with me; he said, "When I see a kid, an adult, a teen, or an elderly person, I don't think of that person in terms of their age. Instead, I try to think of that person in terms of what they believe, how they act, what ideas they call into question, and how they respond to the world around them. This, in turn, shapes how I relate to that person. There are plenty of adults whom I know who act like children, so I view them as childish. On the flip side, there are plenty of teens that think deeply and act maturely, so I view them as mature." This mindset is so important. If our culture would only stop putting the label of age on everyone's head! A person can be so much more or so much less than their age says they are. Age is just a number.
    HPF-RYW Orange Heart Scholarship
    Winner
    I come from a big family of 10, being the co-oldest of 7 siblings. Throughout the years, I have had the privilege of experiencing my family grow both biologically and through adoption. My two youngest siblings are a brother and sister who share a biological mama! I feel so reassured that anything they face, they will be able to face together. In addition to the two youngest, my older brother (older by exactly 1 month, hence the “co-oldest”) has been with my family for 4 years, having joined our family when he was 13 years old. Experiencing the adoption/foster care process several times in my family so far, I have had many opportunities to interact with my siblings’ Social Workers. I think this is where my passion for the field originated! I spent my childhood surrounded by a group of people whose mission was to further the lives of the children they worked with. They served to advocate for the children without voices, children without family support, troubled children, and children that no one wanted to claim. I think back to the positivity that these Social Workers poured out on my family, and especially my siblings, and all I want to do is be that for someone else. One of the reasons I want to pursue education in Social Work is so that I can return the favor to those who have served my family so faithfully over the years. Addiction plays an interesting role in the Social Work field. My understanding is that addiction is something that affects a lot of children in the system, unfortunately. My older brother is one of those kids. His biological parents abused substances for his entire life, and still to this day. My brother has suffered learning curves, stress-inducing situations involving drugs and alcohol, and a deep understanding of drug abuse that no child should ever have to carry. Unfortunately, my brother’s situation is not unique. The state chose intervention in his case, removing him from his parents, his sisters, and his community to place him in a foster home. The goal in Social Work is always to work towards reunion with parents. For my brother, this has not been something that he can reasonably hope for. His parents were given the ultimatum of getting clean or sacrificing their relationship with their son. Over the years he has had to watch them choose their habits over and over. Addictions have been the primary source of childhood trauma that my brother has experienced. He will have to process this trauma for the rest of his life. Something I often wonder is what if my brother’s parents had had a better relationship with their own parents? What if they had not been exposed to addiction when they were children themselves? What if they had support in their young lives? Would they have felt the need to turn to substance abuse? And of course, how is their addiction going to keep on affecting my brother for the rest of his life? Addiction is a symptom of searching - reaching out desperately for support in this world. My heart goes out to those who have never been given a hand to hold.
    Surya Education Assistance Scholarship
    I have felt called to pursue Social Work for almost 4 years now. There have been several times that I have wondered if I am simply failing to pursue other options, but I always seem to come back to the same conviction of pursuing an education in Social Work. I come from a big family of 10, being the co-oldest of 7 siblings. Throughout the years, I have had the privilege of experiencing my family grow both biologically and through adoption. My two youngest siblings are a brother and sister who share a biological mama! I feel so reassured that anything they face, they will be able to face together. In addition to the two youngest, my older brother (older by exactly 1 month, hence the “co-oldest”) has been with my family for 4 years, having joined our family when he was 13 years old. Experiencing the adoption/foster care process several times in my family so far, I have had many opportunities to interact with my siblings’ Social Workers. I think this is where my passion for the field originated! I spent my childhood surrounded by a group of people whose mission was to further the lives of the children they worked with. They served to advocate for the children without voices, children without family support, troubled children, and children that no one wanted to claim. I think back to the positivity that these Social Workers poured out on my family, and especially my siblings, and all I want to do is be that for someone else. One of the reasons I want to pursue education in Social Work is so that I can return the favor to those who have served my family so faithfully over the years. Another main drive for my passion lies a bit deeper under the surface. Ever since I was little, I have felt a connection to young kids. I love talking to them, holding them, and watching them learn and grow. The Lord has broken my heart many times over for the children in America’s foster care/adoption system. Through the stories of my siblings, I have looked into the realm of those who truly have no one who is fighting for them. Children without homes, families, and support are those of our world who are truly “The Least of These.” I feel a deep conviction that it is my responsibility to be a source of support and light to those children that need it! I am a broken person, seeking to help broken children and their families. Because of the experiences I have had with Child and Family Welfare Services, I am determined to bring children back into support and security. My education means a launching pad into the field for me. I will spend my time at college equipping myself for the job of caring for “The Least of These.” I feel a deep conviction towards Social Work. I know that I will be able to relate to the system, its people, and its trauma. I hope and pray that the thought of the steady Social Workers I got to know in my younger years will be a faithful reminder of my conviction in the field. I have a broken heart for the kids of America. They drive my passion for education!
    Youssef University’s College Life Scholarship
    What would I do with 1,000 dollars right now? What a question! If I was given 1,000 dollars right now, I would put it towards my college savings. I am enrolled at Shippensburg University, and I begin classes this fall! My ambition is to obtain my Master’s degree in Social Work, specializing in Child/Family Welfare Services. Because I feel strongly convicted to pursue my major of choice, I know there is nothing that will keep me from college, no matter how great the financial gap I have to cover! I am employed at Goodwill Mennonite Retirement Home, but because I am a Senior in high school, my working hours are limited. Any money that I make right now is going directly into my personal college savings. My desire is to graduate college with as little debt as possible, so I do my best to keep my expenses down, and my savings high! As of now, I feel confident in my ability to pay a portion of my college expenses. However, there is still a significant financial deficit that I have yet to meet. In keeping with my goal, 1,000 dollars would make such a difference! Having that amount of my financial responsibility lifted would honestly be life-changing.
    Deborah's Grace Scholarship
    I come from a very big family. My family consists of 5 biological kids, 2 adopted kids, and 1 legal guardianship kid. I am the oldest of the bio kids. Our family grew very quickly (according to some people's standards) during my early childhood. I had 4 siblings by the time I was 7. The 6th biological kid for my family was born but died the day after due to complications during his delivery. My brother's death brought a lot of heartache into my family. My mom developed postpartum depression, which she struggled with for 2 years. Our family felt broken and incomplete. We all agreed that we were supposed to keep increasing, so we decided to pursue adoption. It had been about 3 years since my brother died when we finally got placed with a baby. My youngest sister was brought into our family in 2017. In 2018, the state of Pennsylvania called upon our family to foster a 13-year-old boy from our community. He had been taken from his home at age 11 and placed into foster care. His current foster parents had decided they weren't equipped to deal with a "troubled teen." After some consideration, we decided to become his new foster home, with the intention of having him for under a year. So we welcomed my new older brother into the household. Fast forward 3 years, and he is a permanent member of our family. He is functionally adopted under a legal guardianship, and we will serve as his family for the rest of his life. Just last year, in 2020, amidst all the chaos of Covid and quarantine, we got a request from my sister's birth mom, asking us to take her new younger brother into our family. We chose to say yes and adopted our youngest member into our house in August of 2020. That's the most basic description of my family. We're a bit strewn together, but we wouldn't have it any other way. In the years of my life that I have experienced death, grief, addition, adoption, and growth, I have been on what feels like a giant rollercoaster. Nothing involving family is ever easy or simple; everything comes with its good and bad. Through the adversity, be it my mom's depression and the resulting challenges in our relationship, the core struggles of my older brother in dealing with the trauma that comes with being in and out of new families, or the challenge of raising 2 African American children in a White household, I have developed resilience. I am pursuing a career in Social Work. I want to be a part of the amazing group of people that our family has worked with over the past 5 years. The need for Social Workers is great, and it won't go away. I will be working with foster care and adoption cases in which I will be an advocate for the kids. I have seen the results of hard-working foster care workers in my sibling's lives, and I desire to be that influence in others' lives. Because of the adversity I have gone through within my family, I will be better equipped to relate to the people I work with. I have witnessed firsthand the effects of the CYS system, so I am dedicated to being the advocate of those children who must be dependent on it. I hope to be a source of hope in children's lives. We all need a family, so I will serve as the transportation towards a family for the kids I will work with.
    Bold Future of Education Scholarship
    One change that I believe would make education better for future generations is a shift in mindset regarding "necessary classes." So far, through my experience in high school, I have felt a lot of pressure to attend college. While this happens to be the path I've chosen, I have many friends that aren't going to college. Being in a school environment that views school (high school, in particular) as simply the pathway to college isn't encouraging to those who choose to pursue a direct entrance into the workforce. I believe that if administration, teachers, students, and parents alike began presenting high school as a precursor to life itself, instead of just to college, that students would be much more willing to learn, even if they do intend to graduate into the workforce. One very practical change would be a shift in priorities for high school students. In my school, I have classes that are non-negotiable, such as English and Math, and I have other classes that I can choose to take, such as Child Growth and Development and Personal Finance. My argument, however, is that the classes students must choose to take need to become more emphasized in our school systems. I for one know that I have a very limited understanding of the monetary system in the US, so I fully intend to pursue classes to help me expand that understanding. Some of my classmates, however, because those classes aren't required, aren't going to pursue that education. I believe that if those students who view school as not worthwhile were required to take such classes, the world would benefit greatly. The issue lies with the mindset behind higher-level education. Students heading into the workforce after high school don't see the significance of taking a class such as Personal Finance, because they assume that only students pursuing a higher level of education need to take it. If we shift our mindset towards one that emphasizes these crucial classes for all areas of ambition, we will see a growth in maturity, responsibility, and preparedness (financially, for example) from all of our students, including those graduating into the workforce. To summarize: I can see that the attitudes of leaders in education is not that of encouragement for those heading into the workforce. I believe that in order for every student, no matter their ambition, to benefit from high school, classes that pursue practical applications, such as Personal Finance, need to be mandatory in high school. Even students who are graduating into the workforce (or the military, for example) need to understand that leaders in education are interested in preparing them for the future too, just as much as their classmate who is heading to college.
    Bold Wise Words Scholarship
    The wisest thing I've ever heard is this: "Age is just a number." Something that I have struggled with for many years is the idea that my age holds me back from opportunities I could otherwise pursue. I was often told as a child that I wasn't able to think properly or logically because I was too young. I was told that adults always knew better because they were more experienced, and that I should listen to them without questioning their reasoning because surely I was wrong. Surely I was "too young." When adults say things like, "You're too young," or, "You'll understand when you're older," I can't help but question this logic. My best friend has an uncle who is quite the character. I'm privileged to know him because he is a very deep thinker. Nothing is surface-level in his eyes. Something that he once said has really stuck with me; he said, "When I see a kid, an adult, a teen, or an elderly person, I don't think of that person in terms of their age. Instead, I try to think of that person in terms of what they believe, how they act, what ideas they call into question, and how they respond to the world around them. This, in turn, shapes how I relate to that person. There are plenty of adults whom I know who act like children, so I view them as childish. On the flip side, there are plenty of teens that think deeply and act maturely, so I view them as mature." This mindset is so important. If our culture would only stop putting the label of age on everyone's head! A person can be so much more or so much less than their age says they are. Age is just a number.
    Bold Financial Freedom Scholarship
    The most helpful piece of financial advice I ever received is that taking time to apply for scholarships will be well worth it in the end. I have always known that I would attend college. I have always wanted to pursue a meaningful degree in order to make a difference in the world. It wasn't until I began high school that I realized the financial burden that going to college often means. My parents have made it clear that they cannot send me to college. They have promised to do their best to support me in all ways except financially. When I began high school, I realized that the full financial weight of attending college is on my shoulders, and that felt very overwhelming. I started expressing my concerns to some adults in my life, one of which suggested the book "Debt Free Degree" by Anthony ONeal and Dave Ramsey. Reading that book changed my viewpoint entirely. I started forming a game plan to attend college debt-free. Part of the awesome advice that I received from the book was that I should spend as much effort as possible applying for scholarships. It was made clear to me that it is 100% possible to attend college debt-free if I only apply the dedication needed. Now, I spend as much time as possible applying for scholarships. I am determined to go to college debt-free. Thanks to the advice I received, I now feel well-equipped to tackle the job of applying for as many scholarships as possible.
    Bold Deep Thinking Scholarship
    The biggest problem facing the world right now is self-absorption. The world is full of leaders. Everyone is in charge of something, be it simply themselves or other people. Leadership is best exemplified when someone thinks not of themselves, but the greater good of those around them. Parents lead their children, presidents lead their countries, and pastors lead their churches. What do they all have in common? Their goal is not to make themselves comfortable, but instead, to better the world of those they lead. The trouble comes when our leaders think too much of themselves in relation to the people they lead. Let's say for example, politics. As an American, there are many influential politicians I can look to for guidance in the political, social, and economic realms. I would like to think that these people are not swayed by their own initiatives, but that is simply not the case. When I hear the opinion of a politician, my first thought is, "Ok, what do they have to gain from saying these words? Are they speaking the truth, even if it isn't flattering, or are they sugar-coating scenarios to pave the way for their own agenda and ultimately success?" If we can begin to think of our leadership as for the benefit of others around us, rather than our own, we can begin to make progressive changes in the way we live our lives. I believe that the world, in turn, will see the positive progress of our shift in mindset regarding leadership. Self-centered leadership has no place in a well-oiled, driven, progressive world. Let's take control of our leadership and focus on those around us.
    Next Young Leaders Program Scholarship
    I am a member of the student government, COSA, at my high school. COSA stands for Council Of Student Advisors and represents the student body's decisions, opinions, issues, and ideas. As a member of COSA, it is my responsibility to display leadership. When decisions are made by the school administration, it is my job to listen to the student body's response, and convey it to administration. During the pandemic, schools throughout the US were thrown for a loop. Many changes were made, both on large and small scales. An example of such a change was the schedule. Our school schedules changed 3 different times throughout the school year, which wasn't easy to deal with. A lot of students felt lost with the constant changes, and everyone was dealing with a lot of uncertainty. During this troubling time, I demonstrated leadership in our COSA meetings. When I heard my fellow students voicing their opinions or concerns regarding the schedule changes, I brought them up to COSA. I was able to represent the greater student body by listening and remembering what my fellow students were feeling about the changes being made. When I brought up students' thoughts to COSA, administration listened and responded, because these thoughts came from a single, organized, responsive source. I am glad to have been able to represent my student body during the pandemic. COSA was able to make quite the difference in student life throughout the turbulence of the past year. It is through my leadership as a COSA member that I was able to make a positive difference in the school life of the student body. To me, being a leader means considering those being lead as a whole; as a body. A leader is not selfish or concerned with status. A leader's primary objective is the best outcome for the whole group. A leader is self-sacrificing; they are willing to put themselves in the line of fire for those they lead. Leaders are responsible for making well-informed decisions for the good of those they lead. A teacher leads their students, a paster leads their church, a president leads their country, and a parent leads their children all with the same mindset. Leadership is about looking beyond oneself and seeing those around. In the next few years, I plan to attend college with the goal of attaining a Master's degree in Social Work, specifically Foster Care and Adoption. The careers that I dream about have everything to do with little children. I come from a family with 8 kids; 3 of which are adopted. I know from personal experience that children in need of a home are also in need of leadership and guidance. I am so excited to be able to provide security found under leadership for the children I will come in contact with.