Our favorite student essays of 2016

Each summer, Farther Foundation provides opportunities for deserving high school students to participate in education travel programs across the country and around the world. They return from their experiences more confident, more engaged in their education and eager to pursue a more ambitious set of opportunities in the world.

They also return with stories to share with us. All of our students write essays that tell us about their experiences, what they learned and how they have grown. We select our favorites and award the students prizes for their achievement. Here are excerpts from our prize winners this year!

1st Prize

Shayna traveled to Germany on a cultural immersion exchange program.

“If it wasn’t for Bavaria, I doubt I would’ve ever been able to truly understand peace, for all that it is and does for a person. I doubt I would’ve ever had the opportunity to learn that being comfortable isn’t a warning sign. I doubt I would’ve ever believed that peace could last for longer than an ignorant moment. I never knew that peace could be so disarming, something so gentle and sweet. I never thought accepting peace would be something I’d have to learn, but I’m so happy that I did.”

2nd Prize

Jazmin participated in a pre-college neuroscience program at Brown University.

“It felt a lot differently than I thought, after all it was a plastinated brain. Not one oozing with blood, lipids, and other liquids. It was dry, rough, and not at all squishy, which was a relief because I might have fainted if it was. In the end, I learned that I am mentally ready to live on my own as a college student. I also learned that I do wish to pursue majoring in neuroscience because the brain fascinates me both on a 2-dimensional and 3-dimensional scale.”

3rd Prize (Tie)

Nora explored her passion for drama at Boston University

“This summer, I spent five amazing weeks studying theatre at Boston University. In the third week, our teacher gave us an assignment. ‘Pick out a topic from a newspaper article that you feel is important to talk about.’ When one of my classmates chose a piece about gun violence, it triggered horrible memories and great sadness for me. In November of 2015, I lost my friend to gun violence.  She was, simply, ‘in the wrong place at the wrong time.’ Her death rocked me. Now I know I can use my voice, my theatre skills to promote social change, social awareness. I can take all that emotion, all that feeling and put it into my work. And hopefully my performance will drive awareness on issues that are important.”  

3rd Prize (Tie)

Vanessa went to Ecuador where she participated in service programs and explored the local culture.

“I feel that I left half of myself in Ecuador -- the part of me that would always hold me back from doing amazing things. Others noticed this difference too. I shed the person who was nervous about doing new things, amazing things, such as trying new foods, like seafood, or challenging myself at school by signing up to join new clubs and the flag football team. Before, I figured I shouldn’t join too many things because it would be difficult to keep up with homework, but I have found that it helps me to manage my time more wisely, and most importantly becoming more independent.”

Congratulations to our essay contest winners!                                 

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