In these unprecedented times, we are proud to continue awarding scholarships to individuals continuing their education and pursuing their goals. In the past we’ve helped an emergency department technician who went above and beyond while working during COVID-19 to a United States Veteran returning to school. Each year we are astounded at the accomplishments of applicants and are humbled to read through hundreds of essays from passionate students from widely diverse backgrounds, interests, and ambitions.

Given the recent global public health crisis, we were inspired to see the drive and determination of America’s young scholars. After careful consideration however, we are happy to announce that the winner of Creative Safety Supply’s 2021 Fall Scholarship is Ella Stone of Lewisville, Texas!

Ella, who is just 15 years old, will be attending Southern New Hampshire University this fall where she will be studying mathematics before pursuing a graduate degree in education. Ella has been homeschooled, allowing her to receive a high school diploma and 88 college credits before she can even have a driver’s license! During the COVID-19 pandemic, Ella volunteered with a group of students to virtually tutor refugee students and outreach to these newcomer students. Ella’s extremely impressive academic history and dedication to helping others helped set her apart.

We are proud to publish Ella’s essays, in its entirety here:

1. What career path have you chosen? What made you choose this path? (300-500 words)

Exponential Impact

Tremendously influenced by my benevolent yet sensible great-grandparents, who survived The Great Depression, my family is generously frugal. Since dad teaches and mom homeschooled me, money is not overly abundant. My family of five sacrifices our time and budget to bless others.

My earliest memories involve serving. Weekly, mom and I volunteered at my sister’s school. At a food pantry, as a toddler, I stocked food alongside my family. I help my parents serve in church ministries. When I was young, each year, my family volunteered the entire summer at a youth camp. I would pull weeds, plant flowers, and do other age-appropriate tasks. Since my family volunteers, serving comes naturally.

Like a fireplace, our home is inviting. Acquaintances stayed for days, months, or longer. When I was six, a guest with crucial needs arrived. Living a nightmare, an undernourished, 91⁄2-year-old came for a “few weeks” while CPS investigated. The hair-raising discoveries were unfathomable. A few weeks became a few years. Our guest became my sister. Often stuck in her past, her challenges are innumerable. Nine years of abuse and neglect explain the triggers that set her ablaze. Acting with compassion is not easy, but it can have an exponential impact.

Compelled by compassion, I volunteer at SportsWorld, a sports camp that hosts 700 kids from the community. As a Connects Crew member, I welcome church visitors. Involved in AWANA programs, I serve as a mentor to younger clubbers. My choir and I encourage those in nursing homes and juvenile detention centers. Serving has contributed to my career choice.

Vividly, I remember 2nd-grade. Some of my classmates struggled with our math topics. Since these concepts came easy to me, my teacher had me assist. While guiding my classmates through two-digit subtraction, I patiently described the process. The key was understanding where to start. If they would begin by subtracting the ones-digit first, then move on to the tens-digit, they would often achieve success. No one could have known the significance this would have. Knowing I can make an exponential impact, I selflessly serve.

During 2nd grade, it became apparent that the expectation of students working at the same pace hindered me. As a homeschooled, 15-year-old high school graduate, I explore my passions at an accelerated rate. Dedicated to my studies, I completed many college courses and have a 4.0 college GPA. In the fall, I will enter college with 88 credits. Eagerly, I assist others with the knowledge I acquire to.

This fall, I was accepted into Dallas College’s Honors Program and STEM League. Mu Alpha Theta and Phi Theta Kappa induction at 14 was also an immense honor. Earning the bronze, silver, and gold President’s Volunteer Service Awards during the pandemic has been a worthwhile experience. As an Educators Rising Honor Society member, my focus is unwavering. With a goal to teach upper-level mathematics, I will earn my Bachelor in Mathematics at 17 and a Master’s at 19. Pursuing my passions while pouring into others simply adds up.

2. How have you used creative thinking/problem solving to help you accomplish your academic or personal goals? (500-750 words)

Although I have regularly volunteered, COVID-19 presented challenges for various service opportunities with which I am involved. Thinking outside the box, I explored new ways that I could assist others. During the pandemic, schools closed, forcing students online. While many struggled, those hit the hardest were refugee students who came to the United States in the past few years. Armed with this information, I approached some high school students who, like myself, are pursuing The Congressional Award. We began virtually tutoring refugee students. Advancing technologies allow me to be in Texas while I tutor students in California. With the assistance of AI translation software and volunteer translators, we currently assist students who speak 12 languages other than English. In these unprecedented times, I serve those who might otherwise go overlooked.

We now have 32 volunteers who have invested 2500 hours tutoring hundreds of refugee students. I received April’s Tutor of the Month award for my outreach to and impact on my students. As the assigned tutor for 15 newcomer students, I invest at least seven hours each week assisting them. My students are gaining an understanding of topics with which they previously struggled. More importantly, they are gaining a sense of dignity and belonging. In May, Willow Way Tutoring unanimously elected me as their Director of Student Outreach and Engagement. While I strive to help our students make advancements in their education, more importantly, I show them that they are valued.

A school district official from the refugee program we work with said that the average refugee in their newcomer program speaks only 90-seconds of English each day. These newcomer students feel disconnected and unwelcome by their American classmates. Understandably, in zoom classrooms of over 30 students, it is not surprising that the refugee students do not participate in the virtual discussions. Acting as a conversation partner for my students, they practice speaking English in a safe environment. Without the fear of ridicule, they are advancing in their abilities. With the help of language translation software, using Artificial Intelligence, language barriers are removed, allowing diverse students to participate. Newcomer students are growing in their fluency and confidence. Teachers in the school district have commented what a remarkable difference our tutoring is making.

While working with these refugee students, my tutoring abilities continue to grow, and I have even greater confidence in my career choice to teach mathematics. It
is an honor to be considered for the generous Creative Safety Supply Scholarship. My age, drive, unwillingness to settle for average, and

compassion for others make me uniquely qualified for this award. Being awarded this scholarship would put me one step closer to my dream of becoming a math teacher, where I will continue investing in others. By helping my students achieve their dreams, I will achieve mine. As your recipient, I will put others first and compassionately reaching out to those in need. Should I be selected for this award, your generosity will exponentially expand as I lead, serve, and teach.

As the winner of Creative Safety Supply’s 2021 Spring Scholarship, Ella will receive $1,000 toward continuing her education. We couldn’t be happier to assist her efforts to improve the world.

We would also like to extend our sincere gratitude to everyone who applied for this scholarship. and we invite everyone who did not win to apply for our future scholarships. We host two scholarship contests each year, and the deadline for our next scholarship award ends on December 15. If you or someone you know is attending an institute of higher learning, have a look at our scholarship page which includes all of the information necessary to apply.

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