The Web Savvy Marketing team would like to congratulate Jo Hamlin, our scholarship winner for 2013. Jo is a graduate of Grayling High School and will be attending college in the fall and pursing a career in criminal justice.
I started the scholarship and chose my hometown in northern Michigan because I wanted to give back to the village that raised me. I had not expected that the students applying would be descendants of those within my village. Jo’s grandparents were very special to me and I spent a great deal of time at their house during my high school years. Her aunt was one of my best friends and I went to my sophomore prom with her uncle, another aunt, and a family friend.
For Jo, this connection actually went against her. I made every effort I could to not select her for this scholarship. I did not want to show any favoritism and I tried very hard to push aside the affection I have for her extended family.
As I went through applications I reviewed academics, work history, and answers to the questions I had presented each student. And while Jo had a solid grade point average and ACT score, this was not the determining factor for the award. I believe grades and scores do not define the person or their core within. Instead I placed greater emphasis on employment history, extra curricular activities, and answers to my open ended questions. I asked the students what made them happy and then I gave them a chance to tell me anything they wanted to share. Jo took full advantage of these two questions and she provided creative answers that came from her heart. This is what I was seeking and I knew her answers were 100% honest because they portrayed a teenager with the same qualities I remembered in her aunts.
Jo’s response included:
I like simple things like a relaxing horseback ride to much more exciting endeavors like tackling a major essay. In addition, I find jubilation in: funny jokes and sarcasm. Looking at old home videos can bring a smile to my face as can a fresh baked oatmeal chocolate chip cookie. My grandma asking me if I want a sandwich, or my sister doing a freaky face makes me happy. Once I complete high school, pursuing my adult life and a career is what will cause me glee. The cherry on top of this educational ice cream sundae would be to still compete in sports like basketball and barrel racing. Of course, the chocolate topping is maintaining and building more positive relationships with my friends, family and people I have yet to meet. Then, eventually I hope to become a police officer and give back to all the generous people who have supported me over the years.
Her response was fun, creative, and personal. From her answers I knew she was truly the same type of person that I grew up with in my little town. I could tell she also recognizes the beauty of that town and the people within it. Jo is a bit wiser than I am, because she seems to have figured this out at a much younger age than I did. I didn’t see the magic Grayling offered until I was much older and with children of my own.
I look forward to reading next year’s submissions and once again being able to provide the scholarship for my hometown high school.
Jo we all wish you much success in college and a life filed with horses, family, and ice cream sundaes!