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Shelby Swander


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I am the valedictorian of Grayling High School with a GPA of 4.312 and an SAT score of 1430. My plan for higher education is to attend Michigan State University in the fall to major in Agribusiness Management. I have not decided on any additional majors or minors at this time.


Grayling High School

High School
2020 - 2024


  • Desired degree level:

    Bachelor's degree program

  • Majors of interest:

    • Business Administration, Management and Operations
    • Agricultural Business and Management
    • Agricultural Engineering
  • Not planning to go to medical school
  • Test scores:

    • 1430


    • Dream career field:


    • Dream career goals:

      Argibusiness/Business Owner

    • Line Cook

      Paddle Hard Brewery
      2020 – Present4 years
    • Farmer

      2010 – Present14 years



    2020 – Present4 years


    Junior Varsity
    2020 – Present4 years


    • Zoology/Animal Biology

      4-H — Member
      2018 – Present


    • School

      2020 – 2020

    Public services

    • Volunteering

      E-Free Church — Nursery Help
      2020 – 2021

    Future Interests




    Curtis Holloway Memorial Scholarship
    More than anyone else, my mother has supported me the most in reaching my academic goals. I am President of my school's National Honor Society and Valedictorian, with a graduating GPA of 4.312, an SAT score of 1430, and college credits from seven AP classes. These achievements are not just mine but a testament to the help and encouragement from my mother, who has been my constant cheerleader and guide. In my early years, I lived with my mother and father, but my father suffered from a work accident when I was very young, leaving him disabled, so my mother had to work twice as much to provide for us; she worked as a paramedic in many ways through multiple jobs. She would give me everything I needed and enroll me in numerous activities to help me become the person I am now. Even now, when it is only her and I due to a divorce, she works exceptionally hard to help me succeed. She provides for the farm we live on, where I raise my 4-H animals, helps me pay for insurance and gas when I am low on money, comes to all of my sporting events that she can, and much more. Even more evidently, she has always expressed that she believes I can do great things and has always boosted my self-confidence. Despite not knowing my future, she has supported me through all my decisions, even taking me to college applications and visits. At one point, I wanted to be a doctor, and she was happy to support that decision. Still, even when I realized that that was not the career I wanted to pursue, she supported me nonetheless, showing her unwavering trust and belief in my abilities. She does not only support me. I am only one of three daughters and one granddaughter, with whom she has helped through every step of their lives. Her helpfulness extends to all family, friends, and coworkers blessed to be around her without a second thought. Her selflessness and generosity are not limited to our family but extend to everyone she encounters, making her a pillar of support and love in our community. In addition to her academic support, my mother has taught me to be a good person. Reflecting good morals herself, she taught me how to decipher right from wrong and always help others. Her actions have been a testament to her character, and she has been a fantastic role model for my whole life. I strive to emulate her kindness, compassion, and work ethic. I hope to be half as good of a person, mother, coworker, boss, aunt, grandma, and employee as she is.
    RonranGlee Literary Scholarship
    "The Hollow Men" by T.S. Eliot: I We are the hollow men We are the stuffed men Leaning together Headpiece filled with straw. Alas! Our dried voices, when We whisper together Are quiet and meaningless As wind in dry grass Or rats' feet over broken glass In our dry cellar Shape without form, shade without colour, Paralysed force, gesture without motion; Those who have crossed With direct eyes, to death's other Kingdom Remember us-if at all-not as lost Violent souls, but only As the hollow men The stuffed men. II Eyes I dare not meet in dreams In death's dream kingdom These do not appear: There, the eyes are Sunlight on a broken column There, is a tree swinging And voices are In the wind's singing More distant and more solemn Than a fading star. Let me be no nearer In death's dream kingdom Let me also wear Such deliberate disguises Rat's coat, crowskin, crossed staves In a field Behaving as the wind behaves No nearer- Not that final meeting In the twilight kingdom III This is the dead land This is cactus land Here the stone images Are raised, here they receive The supplication of a dead man's hand Under the twinkle of a fading star. Is it like this In death's other kingdom Waking alone At the hour when we are Trembling with tenderness Lips that would kiss Form prayers to broken stone. IV The eyes are not here There are no eyes here In this valley of dying stars In this hollow valley This broken jaw of our lost kingdoms In this last of meeting places We grope together And avoid speech Gathered on this beach of the tumid river Sightless, unless The eyes reappear As the perpetual star Multifoliate rose Of death's twilight kingdom The hope only Of empty men. V Here we go round the prickly pear Prickly pear prickly pear Here we go round the prickly pear At five o'clock in the morning. Between the idea And the reality Between the motion And the act Falls the Shadow For Thine is the Kingdom Between the conception And the creation Between the emotion And the response Falls the Shadow Life is very long Between the desire And the spasm Between the potency And the existence Between the essence And the descent Falls the Shadow For Thine is the Kingdom For Thine is Life is For Thine is the This is the way the world ends This is the way the world ends Not with a bang but a whimper. In the poem The Hollow Men, T.S. Eliot conveys that life becomes meaningless and empty without religion through symbolization, imagery, and figurative language. He explains that irreligious people—referred to as hollow men—are useless and devoid because they have nothing to believe in, so they are living for nothing. Eliot describes the afterlife they arrive at after they die as a cold, desolate, lonely place where they become more meaningless than in their lives. The author also elucidates that the Shadow that follows them, the opposite of God, separates all of the abstractness of the world, leaving them in nothingness.   People who decline to have a religion are left useless and lonely. Without something to look forward to after death, these religionless people live meaningless lives. The author begins the poem with, “We are the hollow men / We are the stuffed men / Leaning together / Headpiece filled with straw” (Eliot lines 1-4). The hollow, stuffed men symbolize people who believe in no religion. They are stuffed with their atheistic beliefs but are ultimately left hollow because these beliefs leave them with nothing to live for. The author displays that these people move along with life as hollow men since they have no meaning. Eliot describes the hollow men as the following: “Shape without form, shade without color, / Paralyzed force, gesture without motion” (Eliot lines 11-12). The paradoxes of shape and form, shade and color, and gesture and motion give the reader the basic idea of what a hollow man looks/acts like. Having shape but not form signifies a lack of depth to the men. Shade but no color indicates that the hollow men have no visual perception—because shade cannot exist without having color first. Finally, the gesture without motion signifies the men are motionless. Overall, the author describes the men as dead bodies wandering around, awaiting the final death. In short, the men mentioned above are hollow because they have nothing to live for since they abstain from the practice of religion. The author relates them to dead bodies because without having a purpose—or at least hope—these men live meaningless lives that wait for the final death.   Without anything to look forward to after death, people are left to fear the afterlife. These people attempt to wear disguises to hide them from their inevitable deaths because they are unaware of what occurs afterward. The author states, “There, the eyes are / Sunlight on a broken column. / There, is a tree swinging / And voices are / In the wind’s singing / More distant and more solemn / Than a fading star” (Eliot lines 21-28). The metaphor that relates the eyes to “sunlight on a broken column” allows the reader to conclude that the eyes belong to someone who looks kindly over everything—God. The “tree swinging” and “wind’s singing” metaphors represent the meaningless movements of the hollow men; since they are “more distant and more solemn” “than a fading star,” they are farther away in the afterlife than when the hollow men were alive; this signifies that God put the hollow men in a kingdom where they are entirely meaningless. As a result of this fear, the hollow men “also wear / Such deliberate disguises / Rat’s coat, crowskin, crossed staves / In a field” (Eliot lines 31-34). The author uses scarecrow imagery to relate the hollow men to the lifeless, stuffed, worthless men who sit in a field forever. At the same time, the author says that the scarecrow’s clothes are a disguise, which could represent the idea that the hollow men want to hide from death because, without religion, they fear what the conclusion of life means. Ultimately, the author shows the reader that the hollow men not stuffed with religion will be cast into a desolate afterlife, regardless of how they attempt to disguise themselves.   Irreligious people find themselves cast into a lonely existence abundant in broken prayers where they suffer from continued loneliness in their states of uselessness as they near death’s door. The author describes the place where hollow men arrive after death as a barren, deserted land where they endure hardships of silence. Eliot shows the conditions of the men in the following: “Walking alone / At the hour when we are / Trembling with tenderness. / Lips that would kiss / Form prayers to broken stone” (Eliot lines 47-51). The author uses detail and imagery to show the hollow men’s actions in the desert land. He explains that the hollow men are alone, even though they are all together. They are “trembling,” which signifies they are frightened, so the reader can conclude that the hollow men finally feel something in this land as they never could while alive. The author also states that the hollow men that would kiss instead “form prayers to broken stone,” showing that they have begun to pray and hope for better circumstances in their afterlives. Concluding, as the hollow men reached death, they found themselves in a barren land. Much like a desert, this land is challenging on their bodies and frightens them. As they realize their situations, they begin praying for a better situation.   On their way to death, non-religious persons will find themselves struggling with blindness and muteness as they beg God for an eternal life different from a dark, desolate land. After living a meaningless life without dedication to religion, non-religious people must face the cruel death and afterlife—explained very similarly to what many people know as Hell. The author describes this place as a “valley of dying stars,” a “hollow valley,” and a “broken jaw of our lost kingdoms” (Eliot lines 54-56). The valley symbolizes the land where irreligious, dead people reach that is apart from the Lord. The author describes it as a wasteland where eyes cannot see, voices cannot make sound, and religion does not exist. He also shows that this valley is different from the rest of the kingdoms, signifying that this is the only place hollow men can go, and they can only wish to beg to move somewhere better. “Sightless, unless / The eyes reappear / As the perpetual star, / Multifoliate rose / Of death’s twilight kingdom. / The hope only / Of empty men” (Eliot lines 61-67). The author mentions that these two items are the only hope of the hollow men to obtain a better situation than the desolate kingdom they are in. He shows the hollow men in a location of eternal torment, with the only way out being to talk to the God they would not consider when they were living. In short, if men remain undedicated to anything in life—in this case, religion—they will find themselves faced with many hardships on their way to death. Their need to preserve their well-being forces them to finally look to God in the afterlife to plead for a better situation; expectedly, God does not give them a chance to beg.   As people with whole lives of religion have God, the non-religious only have the Shadow that casts them into eternal nothingness. The difference between God and the Shadow is God connects the physical and the ideas, and the Shadow separates them and makes them indistinguishable. The author personifies a Shadow that separates much of the physical world with the ideas that correlate. The Shadow separates “the idea” and “the reality,” meaning the world that people’s minds concept and the world they can experience to show the mental alienation of people who are unbelievers (Eliot lines 72-73). Separating “the motion” and “the act” means the Shadow separates the task and the outcome, which results in zero outcomes from nonbelievers (Eliot lines 74-75). Differently, the separation of “the conception” and “the creation” signifies that the Shadow segregates the religious and scientific processes of fertilization (Eliot lines 78-79). The Shadow separates “the emotion” and “the response” in the same way as “the desire” and “the spasm” to show the hollow men as unable to respond and move as they wish to (Eliot lines 80-81, 84-85). Isolating “the potency” and “the existence” means isolating what does exist and what could exist, disregarding the idea that God creates everything (Eliot lines 86-87). Finally, the differentiation of “the essence” and “the descent” separates the past and present, or the time before Christ and the time after (Eliot lines 88-89). As shown, the author portrays the idea that non-religious people abandon the positive aspects of life because they have to live with the Shadow as opposed to God. Without God, the Shadow forever forces them into a world of abstract nothingness.   In conclusion, through symbolization, imagery, and figurative language, T.S. Eliot conveys that life becomes meaningless and empty without religion. He shows that the irreligious, hollow men are useless and devoid because they have nothing to believe in. Also, since they are unknowing about what arrives after death, they fear the afterlife. Eliot describes their afterlives as a cold, desolate, lonely place where they cannot look to anyone for help; they endure hardships they cannot escape. The author also illuminates that a Shadow follows the hollow men in their kingdoms of death, which appears to be the opposite of God. The Shadow separates all the abstractness of the world, such as ideas and reality, leaving them in nothingness. They are left to live their eternal lives in anguish because they cannot speak, move, touch, or see; they are left alone in an infinite void of nothingness.
    Jessie Koci Future Entrepreneurs Scholarship
    I aspire to join Michigan State University in the fall and pursue a major in Agribusiness Management. This is a pivotal step towards my grand vision of not just owning a farm but operating an entire agricultural industry. This industry will provide me with a way to follow my passion for farming while demonstrating my long-term commitment and ambition. I also envision a unique venture on the same farm—an animal therapy business. This venture, born out of my love for animals and a keen eye for profitable opportunities, will be a testament to my entrepreneurial spirit. Furthermore, I have contemplated continuing my education after graduating from Michigan State University, possibly pursuing a graduate degree in agriculture. I chose a major in Agribusiness Management because I have always dreamed of being a farm owner. This major will equip me with the skills to own and operate a farm effectively and efficiently. My 4-H program, which I have been a part of for thirteen years, has deepened my connection with farming and revealed my passion for agriculture and raising animals. The business aspect of my major will enable me to launch an innovative animal therapy business, a unique and profitable venture that combines my love for animals with a promising business opportunity. This business will stand out for its unique way of connecting with animals, demonstrating my innovative thinking and entrepreneurial spirit. I have set my sights on an entrepreneurial career because I yearn to be the master of my own destiny. I am determined to become my own boss and to have the freedom to set my own days, hours, and pay. I am driven to be the sole decision-maker in shaping my future. With an entrepreneurial career, I will have the opportunity to build a business with ideas and goals that are uniquely mine. Understandably, creating and running a sole proprietor business will be difficult. I have a better chance of succeeding in my business ventures because not only will I have some education in the business field, but agriculture is also an essential industry worldwide. My business goals will become a reality with the hard work and dedication I have to offer and the help I will have from my family. I also have a backup career in emergency medical services, a field that will always need a worker and will always provide money, allowing me to stay afloat financially while building my businesses. To me, a successful life will include a house, a vehicle, and a job. The house and vehicle will need to be large enough for the large family I want, and the job must allow me to be financially stable enough to provide for a large family. Granted, I will be more successful if I pursue my career dreams of becoming a farm and business owner. However, as long as I can expand my family and live comfortably without worrying about money, I will be successful.
    Redefining Victory Scholarship
    The textbook definition of success is the accomplishment of an aim or purpose. I agree with this definition entirely because, to me, success is something a person gets after they achieve a goal or a dream regardless of the size or type. For example, some people may consider success in the workplace a holiday bonus, and others may consider it a three-dollar raise. Both of these examples accurately reflect success. The only difference between the two examples is the amount of success. A person with an unbiased outside point of view may see the three-dollar raise as a more considerable benefit than the holiday bonus, which leads him or her to believe that one worker was more successful than the other. The success ranking represents a common misconception throughout society. Some quickly compare different people's successes, leading some to believe that particular successes are less significant. I think success can show in any situation, and various achievements can be important to different people. An example regarding my life is my vague, immediate future successes: graduating high school, beginning work as an EMT-B, showing and selling my 4-H animals at my last fair, and starting college at Michigan State University. I will be satisfied if I complete these tasks because it will signify that I succeeded in following through on my plans. To be more successful, I would set goals for these tasks. For example, my goal for graduating high school was to graduate as the valedictorian with a high GPA and SAT score. Because of this dream, I worked harder in school; as a result, in March, my high school—Grayling High School—announced me as the Class of 2024 Valedictorian. This achievement presented itself as one of my biggest successes, and as long as I graduate, I will have fully completed that dream/goal of mine. In the same way, my goal when showing and selling my 4-H animals in August this year is to train my animals for showmanship so that when I step into the ring to show them, they perform the best, which will introduce a more significant success. Similarly, instead of simply attending college in the fall, I want to begin college with a proper room, appropriate classes, a job, and a plan for the semester. Building on this goal, I would like to have enough money from scholarships, federal student aid, and my summer job to help pay for most of my tuition so I do not have to stress about thousands of dollars in student loans when I graduate and begin looking for work. This opportunity will assist me in succeeding in the previously stated goal by adding to the money I can pay my tuition with. After I graduate college, buying a car, buying a house, and finding a job will all be simpler if I do not have to stress about paying back student loans for decades after graduation. Scholarships are enormous opportunities for students from small towns with low average incomes to create a dent in the money they borrowed to pursue higher education. Without the added stress of loans, students can focus more on succeeding throughout college.