One of the joys of hosting a scholarship competition is reading about the vast and varied individuals who apply. We received hundreds of applications from widely diverse backgrounds, interests, and career goals. We read about people’s childhoods in Lebanon, in Brooklyn, in rural Michigan, and how these upbringings inspired them to pursue engineering, rocket science, marketing, medicine, and public health. All of our applicants want to change the world in incredible ways, and we can’t wait to see what the future brings for them.
After weeks of reading, re-reading, and sorting through scores of young scholars, we’re happy to announce that we’ve selected Amy Burton Moore as the recipient of Creative Safety Supply’s 2018 Winter Scholarship!
After studying art and illustration at Utah State University, Amy was determined to stay out of the classroom. She was raised by a family of teachers, and wanted to give to the world through her art. After raising her children, however, she felt the drawn back to the classroom, and knew that she was going to return to school to pursue a degree in education. For years, she served on the board of the Utah Down Syndrome Foundation. Amy’s compelling and touching essay, which discusses the way her first child inspired and influenced her life, is what helped set her apart.
We’re happy to share Amy’s essay here:
I have chosen the path of a teacher. With half my life behind me and half ahead, I have invested in my own four children to prepare them for life on their own. Now that they are nearly grown, I desire to guide other teenagers as they acquire knowledge and skills that will shape and determine their futures.As a young person, I wanted to be anything but a teacher, even though both my parents and even grandparents were educators. I wanted to create without the perceived burden of teaching other people. Knowledge acquisition had always excited me, especially paired with the creative process, but I was focused on myself and my own freedom as an artist. I enjoyed creating art for others, however, and felt that was enough.
As I raised my babies into young children, and young children into teenagers, my perspective matured, and I began to sense and then to know the value in leading others to discover for themselves, to understand what their creativity could add to their lives and to the world. To my surprise, I saw what was possible one day while substitute teaching in a high school language arts classroom. I felt energized by the learning taking place around me, by the exchange of ideas, and by the creativity and enthusiasm of the students. As I continued to return to this classroom, I continued learning from them. I observed their interpretations of what makes us human, expressed through poetry, creative writing, literature, and personal narratives describing unique journeys based on their experience. I suddenly realized I felt at home. It wasn’t long before I chose to return to college for a teaching degree with a focus on language arts.
As a young undergraduate student, my focus was primarily creative. I relished conceiving a vision in my mind, fashioning it out of some artistic medium, and executing a final, finished product. Part of the enjoyment came from standing back at the end and appreciating all the creativity and effort that went into a piece or a project. Each was a testament to what creative thinking, paired with time and hard work, could produce.
My creative self took a leave of absence when my first child was born with significant medical complications relating to Down syndrome. My energies became devoted to her physical and developmental well-being. I volunteered on the state board of the Utah Down Syndrome Foundation (UDSF) to network with other parents and professionals to stay up on the latest developments pertaining to Down syndrome, and in so doing discovered a way to use my creative talents to accomplish my personal goals as a mother and as a disability advocate. I became the newsletter editor for the UDSF, channeling all my pent-up creativity and acquired knowledge into producing a bimonthly, 12-page, four-color newsletter to disseminate to hundreds of families affected by Down syndrome. I invested a great deal of time into designing, writing, editing, and accumulating the latest news from the Down syndrome world. Each month when the finished product mailed out, I was excited to see how it turned out. I produced six a year for fifteen years, staying abreast of all I needed to know to advocate for my daughter and sharing my findings with others in my situation – a very satisfying endeavor.
Now as a language arts teacher, I have enrolled in a Master’s of Education program which focuses on arts integration – how to tap into the creative capabilities of students so they can access learning through art, music, movement, drama, and poetry. Learning through the arts creates a path for students to look at any subject matter from a new perspective and with an open mind, to listen to new possibilities, and to learn through creativity as they immerse themselves in learning. This training will allow me to design curricula that excites my creativity, infusing my teaching with fun while maintaining a clear purpose and learning target. Accomplishing my academic goals translates into my students achieving their academic goals as well, which is a win all the way around.
As the winner of Creative Safety Supply’s 2017 Summer Scholarship, Amy will receive $1,000 toward her continuing education. We couldn’t possibly be happier to assist her efforts to improve the world.
We’d like to offer our heartfelt 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 July 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.