Scholarship Review

Sylvia Dawson

Mt Pleasant Area Junior/Senior High School
Senior? Yes
Elite top 100? Yes
Letters of recommendation: Letter of Recommendation 1, Letter of Recommendation 2


Volunteerism means a lot to me. It has actually changed my life. I have had the amazing opportunity to participate in the Rotary Youth Exchange Program and spend a year studying abroad in Barcelona, Spain. What makes it such a special program is that it is entirely run by volunteers. I have had the chance to meet many of the Rotarians who have helped send me on exchange, whether in helping with paperwork, organizing events for the other exchange students and I, or many of the other tasks that are involved with an international exchange student program. I thank them every chance I get, because I know that without them volunteering their free time and resources, I never would have had this lifechanging opportunity.
When I see all they do to for us students, teenagers from all over the world, on exchange, they inspire me to volunteer more as well. An exchange is not a vacation, it is a year-long learning experience that changes your life, opens your eyes, and builds an entirely new perspective for how you see and react to the world around you. All the volunteers who work hard to help us achieve this truly believe that they are giving us an advantage in life, and I believe that they are.
When I return after my exchange, I know for sure that I will see volunteerism differently. I am inspired to volunteer more and in different ways, and hope to make the world a better place while doing so. I am and will be forever grateful to the amazing Rotarians who helped me achieve some of my dreams, and plan on volunteering in the exchange program itself as well, as a ROTEX, a young adult who has already completed an exchange, and helps both the volunteers and the current exchange students.