2013 - 2014 WyzAnt college scholarship winners

If you could teach everyone in the world one thing, what would it be?

First Place Winner

Brandon from Greene, RI

College Freshman at University of Rhode Island

Never Lose Your Imagination

The largest influence in a successful childhood is having the ability to be creative. Whether it be playing doctor with neighborhood playmates or making cheesy monster movies with best friends, the power of imagination makes for a happier childhood, and a successful future of social interaction.

Now more than ever I’ve noticed society’s will to be creative has been demolished and replaced with fear of an imminent future. The amount of time parents get to spend with their children has been cut in half, and sometimes in thirds, and replaced with hours and hours of effort towards a paycheck that provides financial stability rather than true happiness. This trend is frightening because of its commonality, and this gradual commonality is even more frightening when we realize the negative influence this has on our nation’s youth.

I understand the crucial demand for financial stability, especially due to the current events in America, but this demand isolates the people who need the most attention in this world: our children. Without a doubt, children are the ones in this world meant to provide joy which, no matter how simplistic, allows for an escape from all the problems this nation holds.

My goal is to teach parents, siblings and children alike that, no matter how much negativity the future holds, nothing should hold you back from practicing creativity. An imagination is the key to happiness, as well as a way to maintain a family’s stability.

Nobody knows just what the future holds, and it goes without saying that most people don’t want to know. But the last thing anybody wants to find out is that our children aren’t happy. It’s time to return creativity to this nation, and open up our lives to brighter perspectives, and a more imaginative lifestyle.

Second Place Winner

Koralie from Katy, TX

High School Senior at Taylor High School

It's All About Perspective

Although born and raised in the United States, I have traveled to many countries, most often to my parents’ native country, Haiti. I have had the privilege to experience Haiti’s overwhelming beauty and magic despite the poverty which plagues its streets. Growing up, I heard it all, from comments like "You're from the poorest country in the Western Hemisphere" to even my friends questioning my nationality. As a young girl witnessing the killer earthquake’s destruction of my beloved country in 2010, via televised news broadcasts, along with the rest of the world, I was shaken by the images and stories I saw. I knew immediately that I wanted to one day become a global news broadcasting icon who could move the world just like I had been moved by the media coverage of the catastrophe in Haiti- one who would present the news with integrity, while preserving the dignity of others. Moreover, I began to develop the strong desire to teach others to look at tragic events and impoverished countries from a new perspective. I long to one day bring the face of humanity and human afflictions to living rooms worldwide, so that I may have the opportunity to teach otherwise ordinary people to take action and go beyond the news broadcasts or the stereotypes of a nation. The earthquake taught me that people lacking basic essentials had the uncanny ability to maintain optimism toward a positive future even in apparent times of despair, a quality that so many more fortunate individuals lack. I want to teach and inspire others to recognize and embrace the beauties of developing countries rather than dwell on their tribulations. I vow to teach everyone to dig within themselves and look at others with empathy in order to view their world with a different perspective.

Third Place Winner

Nevena from Crown Point, IN

College Junior at Indiana University Northwest

Understanding of Different Cultures

If I could teach everyone in the world one thing it would be the culture of tolerance and understanding. Today, we live in a melting pot of cultural, religious, and racial diversity. If we find a common platform, we can honor human dignity from whichever angle we look at it. Culture of tolerance and understanding promotes fairness and respect above all. If we are more open to other cultural differences, then this world can become a better place. We are often scared of things we do not know and everything that is considered different and unfamiliar. We are often eager to judge others so we are ignorant, fearful of change, and prejudiced. However, we should never be that way. My ancestors come from Serbia and when they came to America they brought their 'different' culture with them. I tried hard to retain bits and pieces of our culture, of who I am, and what I stand for. Quite often, I have been looked down upon from people who did not appreciate 'my' differences, my culture - me. So one day I made a vow to myself that I would learn everything I can about other cultures, that I would listen and embrace diversity, and wouldn’t judge people --- the way some people judged me. I strongly believe that with tolerance, wars cease and peace becomes our main initiative. Less violence and more inclusion is the true meaning of the global culture of tolerance and understanding.
Building strong bridges between different cultures will shape happier generations. The best way to do so is to look beyond one's own culture or religion, looking beyond one’s black and white world, and accept all shades of gray around us. As Mahatma Gandhi once said “No culture can live, if it attempts to be exclusive.”