Haidee Graves Awarded Four-Year Scholarship To The University of South Florida!
Today I announced the winner of the “Raise the Bar on Florida Education” college scholarship contest that I have been promoting here on “You Sleep When You Die.”
Along with University of South Florida President Dr. Judy Genshaft, I surprised Haidee this morning. With her family in attendance, I let her know that from over 1,100 entries, her essay stood out from the pack.
Haidee’s entry captured my attention right away. It was concise, specific – and most importantly, actionable. Success in the classroom starts with inspirational teachers who make it fun and exciting to learn, and I am not alone in believing that Florida is failing miserably in that area. There are no more excuses. It’s time for a change.
We shouldn’t be hiring teachers and handing out tenure because of their G.P.A. or collegiate pedigree. Teachers need to be motivational and inspire exceptionalism in the classroom…and in life.
This was a great experience for me and I was blown away by the overwhelming response for the contest. It truly was empowering to see so many young people speaking out about what’s happening in our state’s educational system.
Here’s an excerpt from Haidee’s essay that really shows the time and thought that she put into her submission.
“What good are smaller class sizes when a teacher doesn’t know how to connect and relate to an individual student?” wrote Graves. “What is the use in more afterschool programs when you don’t have coaches that encourage kids to join? School faculty is by far the biggest determining factor of a student’s success. Florida should focus on finding the right employees who can guide kids towards graduation.”
What made this day extra special was seeing the huge smile on Haidee’s face and the sense of pride that her parents had for their daughter. Additionally, it’s Haidee’s 20th birthday today. What a birthday present!
In closing, I want to issue a challenge to CEO’s and business owners everywhere. What, specifically, can you do to support education in your community? It’s my blog, but your voice. I want to hear you.
Do your best to make a difference in someone’s life. There are many deserving students like Haidee.