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Sophia Soto

1255

Bold Points

1x

Finalist

1x

Winner

Bio

I like horses

Education

William Penn-Griffin School for the Arts

High School
2020 - 2024

Miscellaneous

  • Desired degree level:

    Doctoral degree program (PhD, MD, JD, etc.)

  • Majors of interest:

    • Political Science and Government
    • Law
    • Philosophy, Politics, and Economics
    • History and Political Science
  • Not planning to go to medical school
  • Career

    • Dream career field:

      Government Administration

    • Dream career goals:

      Sports

      Softball

      Club
      2015 – 20227 years

      Equestrian

      Intramural
      2019 – Present5 years

      Arts

      • Penn-Griffin School for the Arts

        Visual Arts
        2020 – 2024

      Public services

      • Volunteering

        Circle C Equestrian Center — Riding Instructor in Training
        2020 – 2023
      Youth Equine Service Scholarship
      Winner
      For as long as I can remember, horses have held a tender place in my heart. From my experiences, I have come to appreciate the Arabic proverb proclaiming, “The wind of heaven is that which blows between a horse’s ears.” Graceful yet powerful, horses are central to my joy and identity. There is rarely a time when a horse's calming and intuitive nature has not been the perfect tonic for what is troubling me. When I am around a horse, I feel centered, present, and at peace. Over the past six years, I have worked with horses at Circle C Equestrian Center, a Girl Scout Barn in Sophia, NC. I began attending as a summer camper, and from the first day, I felt at home. I learned and progressed in my horsemanship skills until, in the fall of 2019, I became a Riding Instructor in Training, a volunteer position requiring time, training, and a strong work ethic. Looking back at my first RIIT training in 2019, I recall being so nervous that the barn director had to talk me out of my car! Like a newborn foal, I was unsure and unsteady. But soon, thanks to my experiences caring for and learning from the herd, I found my footing and the confidence to stand tall and run free. I am proud of my over 350 service hours at Circle C Equestrian Center, where I can use my passion for horses to lead, educate, and mentor others. With their unique ability to connect with humans, horses are the conduit through which I serve my community. Equines are also how I gained courage, confidence, character, and a deeper understanding of myself. The Barn was the first time I made part of my identity something other than academics. Previously, much of my self-worth was invested in my academic performance; the mere thought of getting a B was akin to ripping off part of my body. Because of my experiences at Circle C, I no longer defined myself by grades and learned to consider myself holistically. I realized that I am a multifaceted person who deserves more than to be defined merely by some letters on a report card. My coworkers did not care if I did poorly on a calculus quiz, and the horses certainly were indifferent. The most significant and unexpected effect of working at Circle C was discovering a love of working with and teaching children. Previously, I had detested the idea of being near children for any length of time, let alone trying to teach them. I was stuck in the mindset of “I’m here for the horses, not the kids.” However, their innocence, eagerness to learn, and tenacity soon grew on me. My initial disgust had turned to delight, and I knew I wanted to be a father when I grew up so that I may experience the adventure of nurturing the next generation every day. The lessons from volunteering have followed me through other parts of my life. Applying the horsemanship skills I acquired at Circle C, such as patience, communication, and leadership, has made everything smoother. For instance, I used my communication skills to negotiate in the student government, my patience to lead group projects, and my leadership to manage different activities. The ability to cooperate with others I may disagree with and synthesize plans and perspectives are beneficial traits that have already paid massive dividends. I have my volunteering to thank for my growth.