International College Counselors announces the winners of the 2013 College Scholarship Essay Contest. Four winning high school students received $250 college scholarships.
“This year’s winning essays inspired us and resonated with us intellectually,” said Mandee Heller Adler, CEO and founder of International College Counselors. “These teens gave the topic a lot of thought, and mustered constructive ideas. Choosing the winners was a hard decision.”
Students from across the country entered the annual College Scholarship Essay Contest this year. They wrote essays that answered the question: “If you could change one thing about your education, what would it be?”
Several common themes emerged, including more integration of life experiences, addressing classroom overcrowding, the enhancement of educational opportunities for students with learning disabilities, making classrooms more exciting, the elimination of tests, and increasing the usage of technology.
One winner was selected from Miami-Dade County, one from Broward County, one from Palm Beach County and one from outside the tri-county area.
The Miami-Dade County winner was Bianca Roberson a 11th grader from Dr. Michael M. Krop High School in Miami. She wrote an essay called “Test, Exam, Quiz, or None of the Above.” Said Bianca, “Students can go beyond taking a test and effectively comprehend what they learn. Students can do an oral presentation on the topic. They can create PowerPoint presentations and teach their peers. Students can have a debate on the topic and the winning team can receive an ‘A’. Students can make a movie, song or poem to present in the class. If students communicated and interacted more, they would have the confidence to make an impression at any job interview.”
The Broward winner was Nicole Malanga an 11th grader from Everglades High School in Miramar. Her essay was called “Just Imagine.” Wrote Nicole, “The only way to break the mold of simple, shallow learning is to add more creativity to our education. Too many uninspired assignments may lead students to think that the bare minimum is enough. Instead, assignments that are open to individual interpretations teach students that their imagination is their only limit. For example, rather than requiring students to write a routine biography of George Washington, assign an essay to reflect on the influence of our first president on modern times.”
Palm Beach winner Daniella Wirtschafter a 9th grader from Donna Klein Jewish Academy in Boca Raton wrote about a school without walls. Said Daniella, “I would create a series of international projects where students around the world would be able to collaborate on a given task. This would enable students the opportunity to create an international connection through working together in small groups on projects with other students of similar age and level. This project would implement partnering, teach the students to work as a team, and embrace multiculturalism.”
The scholarship winner from out of the tri-county area was Paola Betancourt a 10th grader from Ridge Community High School in Davenport, FL. She wrote about changing schools one computer code at a time. Wrote Paola, “Coding offers a chance of countless opportunities, helps train the brain and inspire students to create new products. Computer programming jobs are growing twice times the national average, yet there is a lack of people filling in the huge void. Without [coding] classes, students are missing out on the verge of golden opportunities to have successful careers.”
Students in grades 9-11 were asked to submit a 500-word essay written in either English or Spanish. Essays were judged on the basis of originality and effectiveness of argument or presentation.
This is the fourth year International College Counselors awarded college scholarships.
“Congratulations to all the scholarship winners and to everyone that put forth their best effort in submitting an essay. We are already looking forward to next year,” said Adler.