Today I am preparing to send out a student's application for the Jack Kent Cooke Scholarship
is what IT is all about folks:
It was a hot day in Mysore, India, the summer before my senior year of high school. I walked through the run-down entrance of a local school to help serve lunch to its underprivileged students. The headmistress told us how excited the children had been anticipating our arrival. These were poor village children who would faint during morning prayers because they had not eaten in days. When we walked back outside, we saw that the children had lined up their steel plates on the concrete floor and were eagerly awaiting their meal. As I was helping serve their food, my eyes met those of one of the little girls. She smiled timidly and I smiled back. As I did, I saw her face light up and I could feel my heart melt. In that instant I felt as though my entire outlook on life had changed. These kids had next to nothing at home. Yet day after day they continued to come to school, their hunger-starved but smiling faces eager to learn. I realized then just how much I took for granted. Though most of them had lived less than half as long as I had, they possessed a strength that I could not even begin to grasp. Sometimes wisdom can come from the most unexpected places. One girl’s smile, a smile tested by more hardships than I could ever imagine, has given me the motivation to devote my life to help whomever I can, however I can. I have those kids to thank for opening my eyes to the true meaning of determination, for in their strength, they possess a courage most of us will never understand.