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Lucas Whitaker

2960

Bold Points

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Finalist

Bio

I am a changemaker. From fundraising to hosting discussions and even meeting with policymakers, I do whatever I can to better my community and the world around me. By pursuing an education in international relations, I plan on continuing with this on a global scale. Any scholarship would help me achieve my goals in an academic and professional context. My ultimate goal is to pursue a career in foreign aid and human rights. I want to work hands-on with NGOs, local communities, and local governments to aid different communities around the world where needed. Higher education is a crucial step in achieving this, but as a transgender first-generation college student from a low-income home, this isn’t as obtainable as it should be. Although my financial situation is not ideal, I’ve managed to be successful regardless. I worked hard to obtain a highly-selective U.S. government-funded scholarship to study in Bulgaria for a year, making me a global citizen. Being an exchange student has taught me more about both another culture and myself. I’ve learned that I can do anything I put my mind to, including quickly learning a difficult language like Bulgarian, regardless of where in the world I am. With any scholarship, I plan on continuing with this mindset through both academic and non-academic engagement. Whether that would be through student leadership or community involvement, I know I could apply my change-making capabilities, dreams, and passions wherever I go.

Education

John Cabot University

Bachelor's degree program
2021 - 2026
  • Majors:
    • International Relations and National Security Studies

Hazen Uhsd # 26

High School
2019 - 2022

Miscellaneous

  • Desired degree level:

    Master's degree program

  • Graduate schools of interest:

  • Transfer schools of interest:

  • Majors of interest:

    • International Relations and National Security Studies
    • Political Science and Government
    • International/Globalization Studies
  • Not planning to go to medical school
  • Career

    • Dream career field:

      International Affairs

    • Dream career goals:

      Foreign Service Worker/Diplomat

    • Produce Stocker and Cashier

      Buffalo Mountain Co-op
      2021 – Present3 years
    • Cook, waiter, dishwasher

      Perennial Pleasures Nursery
      2020 – 20211 year

    Sports

    Mixed Martial Arts

    Intramural
    2020 – Present4 years

    Awards

    • Green Belt with Three Stripes

    Soccer

    Club
    2015 – 20161 year

    Research

    • Bilingual, Multilingual, and Multicultural Education

      Kennedy-Lugar Youth Exchange and Study — Youth Diplomat
      2021 – 2022

    Arts

    • Quilts of Valor

      Visual Arts
      2018 – 2019
    • Independent

      Design
      2020 – 2021
    • Hazen Union Select Chorus

      Music
      2019 – 2021
    • Cantabella Childrens Chorus

      Music
      2017 – 2019
    • Hazen Union Drama Club

      Acting
      Once Upon a Mattress, Fantasticks, Shrek the Musical Jr, How to Live on Earth
      2019 – 2021

    Public services

    • Advocacy

      NAMI Vermont — Advocacy Board Member
      2020 – 2021
    • Volunteering

      Quilts of Valor — Quilt maker
      2018 – 2019
    • Volunteering

      VFW — Assisting Veterans
      2016 – 2019
    • Public Service (Politics)

      Hardwick Town House Board — Board Member
      2020 – Present
    • Advocacy

      Hazen Union School — Raising money, speaking at meetings.
      2019 – Present
    • Volunteering

      Elks Lodge — Waiter, Traffic director, receptionist, clean-up, event organizer
      2016 – 2019
    • Volunteering

      East Hardwick Grange — Cook
      2020 – 2021
    • Volunteering

      Red Cross — Receptionist
      2019 – Present

    Future Interests

    Advocacy

    Politics

    Volunteering

    @GrowingWithGabby National Scholarship Month TikTok Scholarship
    Bold Love Yourself Scholarship
    I'm a naturally curious person. I aim to always learn more about everything in the world around me. Of course, this could mean academics, but I view knowledge more on a global scale. I strive to continue learning about other people, cultures, the world around me, and even myself. I love my genuine love for learning, and I love that this love translates into teaching as well. If I see something that I want, I immediately take the steps that I can towards getting it. I have a dream, and I make it a part of my daily life to work towards achieving it. I admire my own ambition and how it relates back to my curiosity and love for adventure. I love that in everything I do, I do with the intention of bringing something positive to the table. I go out of my way to help people, and to help the world around me. Whether that's picking up trash on the sidewalk, holding the door open for someone, or raising awareness in important topics, I strive to leave this world better than it was when I came into it- and I love that about me.
    Art of Giving Scholarship
    My name is Lucas Whitaker, and I come from a low-income home. Growing up, I had a single-parent provider. Last summer, that single parent of mine passed away from stage four pancreatic cancer. My father always encouraged me to follow my dreams, even up until the very day he died. Luckily, my stepmom came into my life when I was 12, and she is now my legal guardian. However, my stepmom is disabled and unable to work. With this being said, I live off of social security checks, month to month. I have big dreams of changing the world. I'm pursuing a degree in social science and humanities. As a transgender youth, I want to inspire people like myself around the world to do what they love and be proud of who they are. I want to work to make the world a better place, one person at a time. I'm going on an exchange year this fall to help discover what I'm most passionate about. I plan on working with refugees and teaching kids and adults alike English. I want to work with underrepresented communities to pursue a peaceful and sustainable future. With all of this being said, I do not have the funds to attend university full-time. I want to pursue a bachelor's degree but do not by any means have the funds to do so. I'm solely responsible for paying for my education. I apply for every scholarship I'm eligible for with hopes of saving up enough money to pay for my education. I'm willing to work hard and do whatever I need to pursue my dreams, just like my father told me to. Any financial assistance means the world to me.
    Ethel Hayes Destigmatization of Mental Health Scholarship
    Growing up, I was physically and emotionally abused. By the time I was six years old, I was already having thoughts of suicide. I was able to be happier and healthier once my abuser was out of my life at eleven years old, but that didn't last long. I came out as transgender in 2017. Luckily, I was accepted with open arms. However, the year before that, I struggled horribly with my identity. I was harassed by people at my school for being openly queer, and I felt unloved and unwanted. I struggled with self-harm and suicidal ideation for a whole year until I finally came to terms with my gender identity in 2017. I relapsed back into my self-harm habits the summer of 2018 before my freshman year of high school after the horrible anxiety and stress I experienced at home and online pushed me to the edge. I ended up attempting to take my own life on June 29th, 2018. I overdosed on ibuprofen and went to sleep, hoping I wouldn't wake up. Big surprise, I woke up with the worst stomach ache of my life. I stayed silent and told nobody what I had done. I went to my stepmom and told her my stomach hurt, but told her I didn't know why. I somehow got by with being in pain for over a week and convincing people I just had the stomach flu. It wasn't until about two months later on my 2nd day of school that I confessed to my guidance counselor about my suicide attempt during an anxiety attack. I ended up going to the hospital and staying at inpatient and outpatient programs for a total of two months. To conclude, I struggled for years with mental illness. I wasn't able to get a proper diagnosis until I was out of the hospital at 14 years old. I was diagnosed with a depressive disorder, to nobody's surprise. I've been passionate about the stigma around mental health conversations and youth suicide ever since, but I never thought that I had a voice to convey it. I figured that as a student, nobody would take me seriously. I was mistaken. When I was 15 and living in rural Vermont, a student at my school took his own life. Everyone was shocked. I didn't know him personally because I had only moved there about seven months prior. Even though I didn't know him personally, it hit me like a ton of bricks. Everyone in my school was so on edge. There was an incident where two students who I'd known to be good friends broke out into a shouting match. Later that month, I submitted an essay in the Bernie Sanders State of the Union Essay Contest. This is an annual essay contest for high school students to write about an issue that they'd address if they were president of the US and how they'd address it. I wrote about mental health services in American high schools and youth suicide. Originally, this was just a school assignment. I was going to write something about climate change or healthcare to finish the assignment. However, I realized that I needed to write about something more important. So I finally used my voice. I wasn't at all expecting on winning anything; that was never my intention. I remember telling my stepmom what I wrote about and telling her, "If I don't win, I really hope that someone who wrote about the same topic does". So when I got a phone call telling me I won second place, I was shocked. I felt liberated and head. This sparked a match inside of me that I never knew was there. I proceeded to start a Go-Fund-Me for my school's mental health department. I really wanted school-wide mental health screenings. I ended up raising $2k in secret. Unfortunately, this money had to be refunded due to covid shutting down the school and people in financial hardship. The following year I was interviewed by colleagues of Senator Sanders about my essay, which was posted in a video on his Facebook page. I was invited to speak at Sanders's student town meeting this past year. It was liberating to see other students speak about something that I was just as passionate about. I'm currently in the works of planning a March for Mental Health in my community this summer that will include a march in town ending with speeches and stories from students and community members. Ultimately, I completely changed my career choices because of mental health. I desperately want to work towards eliminating the stigma against mental illness and conversations around mental health. Nobody should suffer alone. I've decided I want to pursue a career in social sciences and/or humanities. I want to continue to advocate for things I'm passionate about, mental health being the most important to me.
    Misha Brahmbhatt Help Your Community Scholarship
    I became a part of the community in Hardwick, Vermont two years ago. It was the complete opposite of what I was used to in California: a tight-knit group of people who knew about everyone and everything in their town. Six months after living in this new town, tragedy hit. A junior at our school suddenly took his own life. Everyone was affected. Even me, someone who barely knew the boy. As a suicide survivor, having to watch my entire community go through this emotional turmoil was devastating. I’d always been passionate about mental health awareness and suicide prevention, but I never thought I had a voice to speak on it. This was the last straw. I consulted teachers about what we could do to instill change. We talked about creating a safe space in our school, creating a club, and school-wide mental health screenings. I decided to start a go-fund-me for my school in secret. I didn’t expect it to go anywhere; I wanted to see what I could do. A month after starting the campaign, I ended up raising $2k. I was shocked. I took this money to my school board and we discussed different avenues of using the donations, but ultimately they left it up to me. I knew that school-wide mental health screenings weren’t possible at the time, so I decided I wanted to put it towards a mental health “club” or safe space for our students. Then Covid hit. We went into lockdown, and all my plans were put to a screeching halt. My parents urged me to refund the donations because of the financial hardship people faced during the pandemic. I cried more than I had in years. I felt like I failed our students. In reality, it wasn’t in my hands anymore. I abided by my parents' wishes and refunded the money. I ended up transferring schools due to the pandemic. I was invited to speak at Senator Sanders’s student town meeting this past year, and it was liberating to be able to share my passion for mental health awareness with other students my age all over Vermont. This was the only thing I did publicly regarding student mental health, though. However, I am not done by any means. I’m on track to leave the country this fall to study abroad on a cultural exchange for an entire year, so I will no longer be living here for longer than vacation periods. This summer, I have big plans for my community: a March for Mental Health. I want to get every person in my community thinking. I want students to know their voices are heard, and I want them to speak at the event if they please. I want parents and teachers to know that they are not alone in what they might be experiencing with these children. I want every voice to be heard; I want to get the ball rolling on mental health discussions. Mental health is just as important as physical health. There shouldn't be a taboo around these conversations, and yet there is. I want my community to be one of the first to raise awareness on this topic and give people the resources they need. I plan to leave this community better than when I entered it. We never should’ve lost the student we did. We will work towards a future that will never lose another. I plan to be an inspiration and a voice for those who feel they do not have one. That is how I have helped and will continue to help my community.
    John J. DiPietro COME OUT STRONG Scholarship
    Growing up, I had a single father. We lived in a city in California. He worked in a neighboring town. Taking into account California traffic, it was a long commute. With this being said, my father would sleep in his car 4-5 days a week just to provide for his two kids. My sister and I lived with a nanny: the only nanny my dad could find to take care of us while he worked. Little did he know, my nanny would abuse us behind his back. There wasn't a day that went by where I wasn't physically reprimanded for things that shouldn't have required such a violent punishment. For years, I assumed that my father was fully aware of the things that went on while he worked and that said things were normal. It wasn't until I was 11, and my nanny was no longer in my life that I realized this wasn't the case. When my dad brought home my stepmom, a woman he had been long-term friends with online, we talked about things that went on in our daily life. It was then that we realized my dad was oblivious to the abuse that occurred while he worked. My father is the strongest person I've ever met. He overcame so many things throughout his life and did his absolute best to protect and provide for his children. So the fact that we were being abused behind his back tore him apart. Long story short, charges couldn't be pressed. Of course, we did our best but because we had no physical proof of abuse at the time, the police refused to do anything. I didn’t know at the time how badly this broke my dad’s heart. I didn’t know at the time how badly he was beating himself up over this when in reality it wasn’t his fault. My dad would spend as much time with us as he could at the time. I loved to go on ten-mile bike rides and to go to the grocery store with him. He would take us to the movies every few months. Anytime my dad did something with me, it was the highlight of my week. Fast forward to when my nanny was no longer in my life, we moved to a city closer to where my dad worked. He was no longer sleeping in his car, and he’d come home every night. I remember how the house would come alive when he was back. My dad would always encourage me to follow my dreams. He knew how passionate I was about music, and would always encourage me to pursue what I loved. In reality, I just wanted to make him proud. Looking back on it, I took everything for granted. My dad has always been the only person that’s ever stuck by me through and through; the only person that actively looked out for my best interest. With that being said, in November of 2019, my dad was diagnosed with stage-four pancreatic cancer. I was 15 when this happened. I was shocked. My dad, the strongest man I knew, the person that could overcome anything and everything had cancer. I never realized how scary cancer was until I had to watch my parent die before my eyes. He passed away about eight months later, on June 12th of 2020. Every time I thought he was going to pass away up until that point, he continued to keep fighting. I didn’t think he’d see my birthday in January, but he did. I didn’t think he’d see his 60th birthday in February, but he did. I didn’t think he’d see his anniversary with my stepmom in April, but he did. So there I was, assuming he’d see my surgery on June 16th...and he didn’t. Up until he died, he would constantly apologize to me for the abuse I endured as a child. It was then that I realized how he had continued to blame himself all these years. Nothing I said would convince him that I wasn’t upset with him and that it wasn’t his fault. The day he passed away was rough. He was in a lot of pain. I’ve never cried as much as I did when we had to help move him to clean his sheets and make him comfortable. It hurt so badly to see his mortality. I had always seen my dad as a strong, secure man, so seeing him on his deathbed was unimaginable. I remember him telling me that very morning to follow my dreams. He made me hold his hand as he did so. I tried so hard not to cry because I wanted to be strong for him. Looking back on it, it’s kind of ironic. He spent his whole life trying to be strong for me, and here I was returning the favor. We take a lot of things for granted and we don’t realize what we have until it’s gone. These statements were things I heard all of the time, but never things that I thought I would have to live by. But here I am now, coming up on a year without my role model. Never in a million years did I think my dad would die before I graduated high school, but here we are. This year on June 12th, the first anniversary of his crossing, I will be graduating. It’s from here where I will forever live by the last thing my father ever told me: to follow my dreams. I won’t let anything get in the way of me achieving the things I want to achieve, and I will take every obstacle as a challenge. I will continue to make my father proud in every area of life. My dad is the strongest person I know, and I’m his son.
    Bold Moments No-Essay Scholarship
    As you can tell, this image is a relatively low-quality screenshot. More specifically, this is a screenshot from Senator Bernie Sanders of Vermont's Youtube page from when I was invited to speak at the live-streamed student town meeting! In this meeting, we discussed student mental health during the Covid-19 Pandemic, where I shared my personal story along with how I felt we could assist students during this time.
    Bubba Wallace Live to Be Different Scholarship
    I was born female. With that being said, I'm a man. My name is Lucas Whitaker, and I'm a 17-year-old transgender man. When I was thirteen and barely out as transgender, I attended a Christian church. I started going to this church because a friend of mine invited me. I had been going there for a while, and they had always known me to be a girl. So once I started living as a boy, it didn't go over that well. My dad, my stepmom, and I had a meeting with the pastor and youth leaders. This meeting had nothing to do with my transition: it was simply about my faith and connecting with a religious mentor through the church. My pastor looked between my parents and me and told us that he would be teaching things in his sermons that would be things I wouldn't want to hear. When he asked if that was okay, I said it was totally fine! Little did I know he was talking about...me. My identity. Who I was. Me, being the dumb 13-year-old I was, just thought he was talking about "adult" content that wasn't appropriate for my age. When we got into the car to go home, my parents asked me if I understood what he had said and then explained what it meant. I remembered feeling torn apart. I cried like a baby. Later that day, I texted my youth leader and asked her where in the bible it said that my identity was "wrong". Never did I get a straight answer. It was always the same "God made you perfect the way you are". Well if that was the case, then God made me transgender! I continued to attend youth groups but it just got worse and worse. I was told I needed to stop using the men's restroom...even though I used the boy's restrooms and locker rooms at school. I was so deeply hurt that my own church was continuing to disregard who I was. They didn't even know me. They refused to look past their internal biases and misconstrued beliefs to just show common respect. "Lucas, they're not ever gonna be happy until you show up to Sunday service in a dress." I'll never forget my stepmom telling me this. It was at this point I had to stop attending my church. The community that loved to preach love and acceptance was the very same community shunning me and tearing me down. The same people who preached about youth mental health and teen suicide were driving me deeper into a depressive state. I stopped attending services altogether without any notice. There was only one time months later that I decided to go back to the youth group. I was approached before it started and told quietly that they were now splitting boys and girls during youth group and I would have to stay with the girls. I was humiliated! I spent the entire service dissociating and waiting for it to end so I could go home and cry. I couldn't even hide in the bathrooms because I would be forced to use the one that didn't align with my gender. Ultimately, I truly feel as if I was kicked out of my church. It was one of the most upsetting experiences of my life. But alas, it was all for the better. Through some brief online research, we were able to find a new community to attend on Sundays. It wasn't a Christian church, but it ended up being the absolute most loving, caring and accepting environment I'd ever been in. I was able to navigate my beliefs regarding religion and discover that Christianity wasn't for me after all. I learned about world cultures and religions and felt as if I was allowed to really grow into myself. This experience I will never forget. It really helped me see that not everything is as it seems, and there will always be people who will be blinded by their own ignorance to even see you for who you are. Now, years later, I am fully transitioned and happier than ever. I will never forget the hurt I felt, and how I was able to overcome it. Ultimately, if it weren't for that experience, I wouldn't have found the beautiful community I did. I'll continue to utilize my experiences to help me better understand not only other people's way of thinking but also my own boundaries and self-worth.