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Peyton Balazy

1295

Bold Points

1x

Finalist

1x

Winner

Bio

My friends and family call me PJ. I am a senior at Concord Carlisle High School in Massachusetts. I have had a great four years and am so happy to have been exposed to classes that pointed me in the direction of architecture and design. My senior research study focused on the health benefits of architectural design in clinical settings. This is definitely a career goal for me. Outside of school, I have spent most of my time in a boat, rowing toward my second goal. I have Olympic aspirations. Last year, I rowed for the US national U19 team in Paris, France. I will be rowing for the University of Virginia and hope to continue progress toward future national teams. This has been my passion since I was in the 7th grade, and it has never waned. My Dad died in 2019 after a long illness. I live with my mom and two brothers. My mom has two jobs. I don't have a ton of time to earn, given my rowing schedule, but I do work a steady job on weekends after practice in a cafe. Everyone in my family works to support our individual interests. I will lose this ability during the school year as a D1 athlete with a full course load. I would thoroughly appreciate any scholarship that could help me reach my two significant goals. I study hard, I train hard, and I work hard. I am looking forward to the next four years of sharpening my skills and expanding my appreciation for my academic and athletic interests.

Education

University of Virginia-Main Campus

Bachelor's degree program
2024 - 2028
  • Majors:
    • Civil Engineering

Concord Carlisle High

High School
2020 - 2024

Miscellaneous

  • Desired degree level:

    Master's degree program

  • Graduate schools of interest:

  • Transfer schools of interest:

  • Majors of interest:

    • Civil Engineering
  • Not planning to go to medical school
  • Career

    • Dream career field:

      Civil Engineering

    • Dream career goals:

    • server / barista / cleaner

      Saltbox Kitchen
      2023 – Present1 year
    • Ski Instructor for 3-6 year olds

      Vail Resorts- Okemo Mountain
      2019 – Present5 years

    Sports

    Swimming

    Junior Varsity
    2020 – 20211 year

    Rowing

    Club
    2019 – Present5 years

    Awards

    • USA U19 National Team
    • Head of the Charles Champion
    • 2nd Place at US Rowing Youth Nationals

    Research

    • Pre-Architecture Studies

      Concord Carlisle High School — Lead researcher
      2023 – Present

    Public services

    • Volunteering

      Rescuing Leftover Cuisine / MA branch — Lead Rescuer (drive food)
      2023 – Present
    • Volunteering

      Carlisle Trails Committee — ripping out (specific) plants on the trailside
      2019 – 2023

    Future Interests

    Advocacy

    Volunteering

    Philanthropy

    Entrepreneurship

    Reginald Kelley Scholarship
    The fifth-grade capstone project at my elementary school is “The Colonial Roadshow.” Each student takes on a research project that leads to deep and specific knowledge about a piece of our colonial history. Topics are far-ranging, from weapons and warfare to colonial dentistry. I chose colonial architecture. My first scope decision was to focus on commercial architecture. I discovered that I wanted to know more about public spaces. I continued this narrowing until I arrived at a specific building - The House of Burgesses in Williamsburg, VA. The building is unique - built to reflect both prior buildings that housed the seeds of democracy in Virginia and our nation. Its architecture is specific to the needs of those governing a colony, and it served as a meeting place for the founders of this nation until the start of the Revolutionary War. Its last iteration - the building that caught my attention - was constructed in the mid-18th century. It is the site of Patrick Henry’s famous “give me liberty or give me death” speech. I sent an email to the Colonial Williamsburg Archives, hoping they could help me with my research. I don’t think they typically field requests like mine; they called to ask where to send a copy of the building’s blueprints. I had never seen plans like these - they transported me to the mid 18th century- where governance - the seeds of American democracy - demanded specific design. I can remember my obsession with this building - its extreme functionality. The building has two matching rotundas connected by a conference room above an arched atria. A courtroom occupied one of the rounded wings, and the legislature occupied the other. The building itself was an architectural representation of our future democracy with equal and connected judiciary and legislature spaces. I am still fascinated by and focused on architecture that contributes to purpose. When I walk into a building, a school, a hospital, or a town hall, I immediately start seeing functional design and imagining improvements. I am particularly interested in how a building makes me feel. For this reason, I returned to architecture and design for my senior AP Capstone research project. I studied the design of hospitals and health centers and the effects of good design on the speed of healing. I want to be an architect. I want to design spaces that contribute to mental and physical well-being. To that end, I will attend the University of Virginia and pursue a degree in Civil Engineering. I have been passionate about structures and design since my fifth-grade colonial roadshow. Clearly, I need a solid education to bolster my dreams of architecture and design. I have never seen the building that occupied my 5th-grade imagination, but now that I will be going to school just 90 minutes from Colonial Williamsburg, I will definitely have that opportunity.
    Jennifer Webb-Cook Gameplan Scholarship
    Winner
    The single biggest obstacle for our family, since my dad died in 2019, is definitely financial stress. I wouldn’t say that I have “overcome” it as much as that I acknowledge it and understand the magnitude of my father’s health deterioration and ultimately how that impacted our family’s ability to live the life we used to live while he was alive and healthy. When I was little, my dad had a good job. We took vacations and went out to dinner often. I went to sleep-away camp in the summers. We lived in a big house and I don’t remember ever thinking about things like the cost of food or whether an activity was too expensive. My dad suffered from anxiety, depression, and then addiction. He wasn’t able to keep his job and he spent a lot of years trying to get better, but not succeeding. Eventually he died of liver failure. He was 46 years old. My dad didn’t want to be miserable. He was my soccer coach until I was in the fifth grade. I was absolutely terrible at soccer, but he had played in college and loved the game. I hung in until it was clear that all of my still-playing peers were far more talented. I discovered rowing right around the time that my dad stopped leaving the house. I rowed in a development program in the 7th grade and the next year, I rowed on a competitive team. It became something I do nearly every day - all seasons. It is hard to explain, but rowing takes tremendous stamina and a desire to push through pain. It feels peaceful and powerful to pull an oar blade through the river over and over. Sometimes I wonder if rowing might have helped my dad if he had tried it before it was too late. I think he would have connected with the meditative and endorphin producing qualities of my sport. He never got to see me in a boat. I rowed for an entire year while he was still alive and he just couldn’t bring himself down to the river. My mom knows how much rowing means to me. Season after season in this very expensive sport she has scraped together funds, set up payment plans, sold anything we have of value, just so I can row. We have other obstacles in our family - but most are overcome by making choices and recognizing our limitations. I direct my own healthcare, managing appointments. I cook for myself frequently and often do the grocery shopping. If the car needs an oil change or an inspection, I am able to handle it. My mom works full time. She also works a winter weekend job. These obstacles are just basic self-care but, I am pretty confident that there is a silver lining to this. I head to college having managed my school, my sport, my basic needs, and a part-time job. And the obstacles we have yet to face are pretty clear too. I feel my dad’s absence at milestones and also in little weird moments when I want to share something with him or cook a meal with him. He has been gone for five years. I really do wish he had seen me row. I have medaled at rowing’s national championship. I have won at Head of the Charles. I made the national team last summer and rowed at Worlds in Paris. It wasn’t “his sport” but I know he would have been proud.
    Michael Mattera Jr. Memorial Scholarship
    I am the oldest of three kids. We lost our dad five years ago at the end of his long battle with addiction and mental illness. My mom has been a single parent since then - but really long before July 17, 2019. My mom has always been an educational support. When I was born, she was an English teacher, and though she now holds other jobs, she still makes time to be a soundboard and grammar checker when I write for school (and to be fair, I’ll probably run this essay by her.) She makes the time to talk about my research, my challenges at school, and how to balance my school with my athletics. Yes, school comes first, and I am an excellent student, but the place my mom has been truly indispensable is in supporting my sport. I am a rower. I started right before my dad died, and it became my greatest love. I am accomplished. I have a silver medal from the US National Championships in 2023, a gold medal from the Head of the Charles, and I rowed my way onto the national team last summer. I represented the US in Paris at the World Junior Rowing Championships. Friends and family say kind words about my sacrifices; I have not attended a school play, football game, dance, or prom. I have missed traveling and seeing family. This is all true, but I would never be able to juggle school and rowing without the sacrifices made by my mom. She spent a lot of time in a car taking me to practice and races. My mom works two jobs because rowing is expensive. One summer, I was accepted onto a competitive team, which cost thousands of dollars. My mom sold her engagement ring to cover my costs. School is first. My mom is strict. If I don’t feel well enough to attend school, I must skip practice. I can’t remember many skipped practices or school days. I have taken rigorous courses, including AP physics, AP calculus, and AP Capstone Research. When I graduate with honors, I will also receive a (high school) certificate in engineering as I met those requirements with coding, architecture, and three engineering classes. I work hard in school and in the boat, and I think my successes feed each other. I would not be in the position I am, heading to the University of Virginia to study engineering, without the support of my mom. She works, and cares for our home, me and my brothers. She supports our academics and our sports (they play sports too!) She doesn’t go on vacations, go out for dinner, or spend money on herself. All of her energy is directed towards us. I would love to help alleviate even a little financial stress. Thank you for your consideration.
    John Young 'Pursue Your Passion' Scholarship
    The fifth-grade capstone project at my elementary school is “The Colonial Roadshow.” Each student embraces a research project that leads to deep and specific knowledge about a piece of our colonial history. Topics are far-ranging, from weapons and warfare to colonial dentistry. I was already interested in design, so I chose colonial architecture. My first scope decision was to focus on public spaces. Then, I decided that I wanted to know more about how design is informed by functional needs. I continued this narrowing until I arrived at a specific building - The House of Burgesses in Williamsburg, VA. Its construction was completed in 1754 and it served as a meeting place for the nation’s founders until the start of the Revolutionary War. It is the site of Patrick Henry’s famous “give me liberty or give me death” speech. I sent an email to the Colonial Williamsburg Archives, hoping they could help.They generously sent a copy of the building’s blueprints. I had never seen plans like these; they transported me to the mid 18th century where the seeds of American democracy demanded specific design. The building has two matching rotundas connected by a conference room above an arched atria. A courtroom occupied one of the rounded wings, and the legislature occupied the other. The building itself was an architectural representation of our future democracy with equal and connected judiciary and legislative spaces. I was, and still am, fascinated by architecture that contributes to purpose. When I walk into a building, a school, a hospital, or a town hall, I immediately start seeing functional design and imagining improvements. I am also interested in how a building makes me feel. For this reason, I returned to architecture and design for my senior AP Research Capstone this past year. I studied the design of hospitals and health centers and the effects of good design on the speed of healing. It was during this year-long research project that I connected my passion to a plan. I want to be an architect. I want to design spaces that contribute to mental and physical well-being. My research led me to discover health correlations with specific design elements. I lost my father in 2019 to addiction and other health challenges. This definitely contributes to my motivation to design for wellness. To that end, I will attend the University of Virginia and pursue a degree in Civil Engineering. I have been passionate about structures and design for as long as I can remember. Clearly, I need a solid education to bolster my dreams of designing spaces that contribute to health and healing. I appreciate any financial scholarship to help me pursue my passion. My education will be a long road, but I am determined to travel it, knowing that someday, my hospital and health center designs will contribute to wellness.
    Curtis Holloway Memorial Scholarship
    I am the oldest of three kids. We lost our dad five years ago at the end of his long battle with addiction and mental illness. My mom has been a single parent since then - but really long before July 17, 2019. My mom has always been an educational support. When I was born, she was an English teacher, and though she now holds other jobs, she still makes time to be a soundboard and grammar checker when I write for school (and to be fair, I’ll probably run this essay by her.) She makes the time to talk about my research, my challenges at school, and how to balance my school with my athletics. Yes, school comes first, and I am an excellent student, but the place my mom has been truly indispensable is in supporting my sport. I am a rower. I started right before my dad died, and it became my greatest love. I am accomplished. I have a silver medal from the US National Championships in 2023, a gold medal from the Head of the Charles, and I rowed my way onto the national team last summer. I represented the US in Paris at the World Junior Rowing Championships. Friends and family say kind words about my sacrifices; I have not attended a school play, football game, dance, or prom. I have missed traveling and seeing family. This is all true, but I would never be able to juggle school and rowing without the sacrifices made by my mom. She spent a lot of time in a car taking me to practice and races. My mom works two jobs because rowing is expensive. One summer, I was accepted onto a competitive team, which cost thousands of dollars. My mom sold her engagement ring to cover my costs. School is first. My mom is strict. If I don’t feel well enough to attend school, I must skip practice. I can’t remember many skipped practices or school days. I have taken rigorous courses, including AP physics, AP calculus, and AP Capstone Research. When I graduate with honors, I will also receive a (high school) certificate in engineering as I met those requirements with coding, architecture, and three engineering classes. I work hard in school and in the boat, and I think my successes feed each other. I would not be in the position I am, heading to the University of Virginia to study engineering, without the support of my mom. She works, and cares for our home, me and my brothers. She supports our academics and our sports (they play sports too!) She doesn’t go on vacations, go out for dinner, or spend money on herself. All of her energy is directed towards us. I would love to help alleviate even a little financial stress. Thank you for your consideration.
    August Engler Memorial Scholarship
    The fifth-grade capstone project at my elementary school is “The Colonial Roadshow.” Each student takes on a research project that leads to deep and specific knowledge about a piece of our colonial history. Topics are far-ranging, from weapons and warfare to colonial dentistry. I chose colonial architecture. My first scope decision was to focus on commercial architecture. I discovered that I wanted to know more about public spaces. I continued this narrowing until I arrived at a specific building - The House of Burgesses in Williamsburg, VA. The building is unique - built to reflect both prior buildings that housed the seeds of democracy in Virginia and our nation. Its architecture is specific to the needs of those governing a colony, and it served as a meeting place for the founders of this nation until the start of the Revolutionary War. Its last iteration - the building that caught my attention - was constructed in the mid-18th century. It is the site of Patrick Henry’s famous “give me liberty or give me death” speech. I sent an email to the Colonial Williamsburg Archives, hoping they could help me with my research. I don’t think they typically field requests like mine; they called to ask where to send a copy of the building’s blueprints. I had never seen plans like these - they transported me to the mid 18th century- where governance - the seeds of American democracy - demanded specific design. I can remember my obsession with this building - its extreme functionality. The building has two matching rotundas connected by a conference room above an arched atria. A courtroom occupied one of the rounded wings, and the legislature occupied the other. The building itself was an architectural representation of our future democracy with equal and connected judiciary and legislature spaces. I am still fascinated by and focused on architecture that contributes to purpose. When I walk into a building, a school, a hospital, or a town hall, I immediately start seeing functional design and imagining improvements. I am particularly interested in how a building makes me feel. For this reason, I returned to architecture and design for my senior AP Capstone research project. I studied the design of hospitals and health centers and the effects of good design on the speed of healing. I want to be an architect. I want to design spaces that contribute to mental and physical well-being. To that end, I will attend the University of Virginia and pursue a degree in Civil Engineering. I have been passionate about structures and design since my fifth-grade colonial roadshow. Clearly, I need a solid education to bolster my dreams of architecture and design. I have never seen the building that occupied my 5th-grade imagination, but now that I will be going to school just 90 minutes from Colonial Williamsburg, I will definitely have that opportunity. I appreciate any financial scholarship to help me accomplish my goals. I am so sorry for your loss. I know what it is like to lose someone, as my father died of complications with addiction and mental health struggles when I was 13 years old.
    Resilient Scholar Award
    The humid August air suffocates my skin as we arrive at a trailhead marked Appalachian Trail/Long Trail. Bromley, the mountain that we slowly climb, is not a familiar fixture in my memories. However, it holds significance in that my dad once through-hiked the Long Trail, crossing the spine of tall peaks across Massachusetts through Vermont and to Canada. This mountain was early in his quest. I was small, but I remember meeting him mid-journey after he spent a cold, wet June trudging through deep forest cover. He looked tired but peaceful and calm. His time on the trail was definitely not the easy, romanticized walk in the woods he probably imagined it would be. It rained every day. All of his belongings were damp or broken. He was nearly 30 pounds lighter. But, he seemed relaxed and, well, happy. I didn’t fully understand why this moment felt so significant until much later; it was the eye of the storm. My dad suffered from severe anxiety and depression. He found relief in booze and would increasingly turn to that remedy in the years that followed his epic hike. My mom made every effort to shield me and my brothers from the ugliest parts of his illness, but there were things she couldn’t hide - his absences and erratic behavior only now are starting to make sense. The Long Trail quest was a drastic effort to soothe his pain. It worked, temporarily. He was visibly and memorably changed. But unless he was actually hiking, the mental illnesses weren’t going to disappear. His liver failed when he was 46 years old. He lost his life, but he left me with a deep interest in the healing powers of the mountains. On that sticky day, my mom follows close behind, tapping her hiking poles. Those poles have come with us on our backpacking trips in the mountains of New England. There, we have learned many wilderness lessons. Some are essential for survival, like filtering enough water; some are essential for recovery, like the magic of dipping feet in a cold spring; and one is that just being out there sparks joy. One day, on the ridge of New Hampshire’s Pemi loop, an ultra runner sped past, but not before I was able to ask if he was attempting the whole loop. He replied that he was trying to break the speed record for the entire Appalachian Trail! The mountains are not only healing, but they also inspire people to push beyond what they think is possible. Karel Sabbe, a dentist from Belgium, did break the speed record for the AT just days after he passed us. My dad pushed through tremendous physical and mental discomfort on that same trail in search of tangible peace. Mountains have power. Finally, we stop at an overlook, the expanse of the Green Mountains enveloping us. As we sit on the ledge, a cool breeze offers some relief, and my mom takes a small box from her backpack. In the place where my dad felt the most himself, we opened the box and tossed his ashes over the cliff. I hike to reach a new peak. I hike to challenge myself. I hike to ground myself. My dad understood the meditative, healing quality of the mountains, the way that they effortlessly create space for thought and reflection but reduce the overwhelming stress of life. It is amazing - for so many people - for the through-hikers, ultra-runners, and me. I am sorry that for him, it just wasn’t enough.