I am thrilled to announce the 2019 Tiger Drive Scholarship Recipients from Carson High School. This year’s scholarship is in fun-loving memory of John Langdon Lane and recognizes students who are reaching, learning, and growing beyond their familiar environment.
The scholarship is funded by a portion of the proceeds of my novels, Tiger Drive and In the Doghouse: A Couple’s Breakup from Their Dog’s Point of View. Some incredibly kind individuals also donated to the scholarship, of which, one of them will be gifted with a signed copy of Women Warriors: An Unexpected History by Pamela D. Toler. Pamela, thank you for this excellent work of history and for your support!
And judges–thank you for reading each essay with such care and intention.
The winners are . . .
Congratulations, Sy’Johnniqa and Crystal!
You are official tigers! ROAR!
Here are excerpts from their essays
I found myself in a different state of mind at the age of 13. I was sitting in the hospital when the doctor came out to tell me that my mom, my only parent raising me and my 2 younger brothers, was in a coma. He continued with the fact that she was not going to survive, and he was certain. Thoughts raced through my head…how was I going to survive, how would I take care of my brothers. My Dad was in jail. It was going to be up to me to step up. The next few years were challenging. My Mom did come through, but it was never the same. That day changed me in many ways, mostly for the good as I had to mature early, and I quickly learned that if I wanted something, I needed to be strong, work hard and never lose sight of pursuing my goals.
My name is Sy’Johnniqa M. I am strong and I will be successful in achieving greatness.
I came to Carson High School as a new student to the district, after living homeless in Washington for months. Fortunately for me, I found some tremendous role models who saw something in me; who believed in me and took me under their wing. They have guided me throughout the past four years and have helped me be successful. I am very fortunate to have these types of leaders in my life. I have found success and surpassed many expectations of what my life would be like. I am a member of the CHS orchestra, have participated in school sports, and serve on the CHS Student Council I also found a leadership role in belonging the Blue Crew. This Crew helps new students orientation and annual study sessions. Now that I have the chance to give back…during the Freshman Solutions program which is for struggling freshman and runs for 2 hours after school every day. I know what a different life I would have if people didn’t step in and help me, so I want to do the same for others and help them find their way to success.
I know in 8 short months, I will be graduating. This is an exciting time, as well as a scary venture. I know I want to pursue a degree from a local college or University in the field of Business. I am going to begin my journey as a Rotary Exchange Student in Brazil, which will open up so many opportunities for me. This is the exciting part of the future, furthering my education, obtaining a degree and securing a good job. The scary part is the unknown of what challenges lie ahead. I need to obtain financial assistance in order to attend University. My father in jail will not be able to assist me with this, and having two younger brothers and a Mom making very little income is not in shape to help me either. I am exploring every avenue possible to make me successful in achieving my goals. My own personal drive will be my key to helping others in the future; this is critically important to me. In everything I have done in my time at Carson High, I have held this value at my core, and I have aimed to spread joy in all of my actions. As a future business owner, maybe one day I will be able to set a scholarship to help future students attend the University of their Dreams.
When I was a child, my world was full of endless possibilities and infinite dreams. I dreamt of becoming a doctor. At such a young and naive age, it never once crossed my mind that one day I would face so many barriers that would hinder me from pursuing this dream. Now that I have grown up, I have come to understand that according to society, I cannot pursue this dream for two reasons: I am a woman, and I am Hispanic. However, I am not meant to live up to society’s standards, I am meant to live up and exceed my own. I have come to realize that my words and actions and ideas have the power to make a difference. Too many times, I have faced sexism and discrimination. Too many times, I have let people knock me down. Too many times, I have doubted my potential. There comes a point where enough is enough. My experiences have pushed me, inspired me, ignited in me a passion to represent women and Hispanics as people who are capable of leading and excelling.
My journey is only just beginning; next year, I plan on attending the University of Nevada, Reno. I will major in Neuroscience and minor in Spanish Translation. After earning my bachelor’s degree, I plan on attending medical school. My career goal is to become an Obstetrician/ Gynecologist. I know I can contribute so much to the community as a doctor because not only will I be dedicated and hard working, I also have the advantage of being bilingual. As a bilingual doctor, I will be able to help Spanish speaking patients. One of my goals is to inspire and empower Hispanic students to follow their career goals. I want them to understand that being Hispanic should not be a barrier. Institutional racism has been a constant barrier along my journey, and I want to work to help remove that barrier for the generation yet to come. As a first-generation college student, college is important because it will allow me to set an example for my younger siblings and anyone else in the same situation. College will give me the opportunity to pursue a career in medicine because a higher education means open doors. Doors that lead to dreams. Dreams that lead to change. Change that makes the world a better place. Ultimately, the success I find will not be my own; it will be made of the many memories, supporters and triumphs which I have faced.
Wow, right. These young women are more than worthy, they are ready!
Sy’Johniqa and Crystal, we believe in you, and we will enjoy watching you blossom. Thank you for being exactly who you are!
And thank you to the wonderful team at CHS: counselors, teachers, and librarian(s)! You are making a difference every day.
Friends, thanks for being here to celebrate another scholarship year. Your support of my novels, and this
P.S. If you would like to donate additional funds to either of these two superstars, please send me an email at email@example.com. If you’d like to contribute to next year’s scholarship, buy my novels, Tiger Drive or In the Doghouse. A portion of the proceeds helps fund the scholarship.
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