We Have Winners!
Our Second Annual Scholarship Contest has concluded, and what an amazing experience it has been! Congratulations to our First Place winner Samantha Grady from Coral Springs, Florida! We will be publishing Samantha’s winning essay in this space soon.
In this year’s competition, we asked high school seniors to focus on a personal prayer experience and how that experience informed their own thoughts about violence in schools. We received over 450 essays from students in 44 states, and which reflected a wide range of spiritual and religious experiences including Buddhist, Hindu, Christian, Muslim, Jewish, Pagan-Wiccan, Agnostic and Atheist. They included essays from teenagers like Samantha, who survived a school shooting, and others impacted by the continuing and terrifying reality of violence finding its way to their school.
Due to some last minute fund raising activity, we were able to award two additional scholarships of $500.00 each. These awards went to DY of Kentucky, and Kieran Hogan of Pennsylvania. And, our Board wanted to recognize the excellence of three additional essays and awarded three honorariums of $100.00 each. Congratulations to Shyan Koul of Massachusetts, Holland Dykstra of Minnesota, and Cara Wagner of Ohio. We have notified all of the winners and are in the process of connecting with the colleges our winners will be attending, and writing the checks!
We are so grateful to the donors who responded to our pleas for additional funds so we could make this small improvement to our award. Thank you all! The quality of the essays - of the creativity, original thought, heart and soul - made it impossible to choose just one.
Our Board of Advisors once again made this whole process possible. These 12 hearty souls read all of the 450 essays with the respect and care they deserved. They never lost their excitement over the entries, and never said “no” when I kept sending 10 or 12 more their way, as the essays poured in. These folk are educators, therapists, parents, and spiritual seekers in their own right. The 15 Finalists they selected all had their champions, but in the end, our Board of Directors felt confident in their choices of winners. We will be publishing the essays throughout this year in order to honor the winners, as well as to share these profound experiences.
At Prayer Soup, we have always believed that as human beings searching for meaning, purpose and connection, we have far more in common with each other, than we have differences. These essays once again proved us right! Our humble gratitude goes out to every student who shared their experiences. Your essays moved us, humbled us, and, truly, gave us hope for the future.