Scholarship Review

Katrina Carter

Valley High School
Senior? Yes
Elite top 100? Yes
Letters of recommendation: Letter of Recommendation 1, Letter of Recommendation 2


Connection isn’t a staccato of affirmations usurped by jingle-like adages, nor is it a cavalcade of commiseration. It’s grazing the individual within, relinquishing stereotype and transcending condition to cure that shared human dearth: isolation. Traversing a Broadway cast of roles – from callow youth to overseer to “veteran” – volunteerism has proved the North Star to my dithering compass, coaxing my wavelet from reticence and awakening the halcyon’s warble, gifting voice to the melody I yearn to impart as professional, camrade, and acquaintance alike.

The proem depicts a mite of 15 – diffident and bumbling – itching to impart a community presence through the pre-opening toil of Knead Café. With the cadence of time faces ebbed, evanesced, and materialized, and though each individual possessed a distinct cardinal melody and imparted a peculiar kindness, the motifs were a constant; they embraced me in my reticence, cherishing a wane smile in place of a chortle, praising my scurries through each string of afternoon shifts, aspiring to unfetter through the tribute of volunteer spotlight – fantastically, this benevolence was bestowed upon all who crossed the threshold; patrons weren’t dismissed as extensions of demographics, even in the aggrandizing sense – a woman weathering a lapse of homelessness, though lauded for her lionheart, was not reduced to a caricature of heroism or Hallmark inspiration. Adored for her vibrant moxie, bashful kindness, and wolfish laugh, she was bathed but in the affections of friendship. Moreover, while scarcely a priority, they charted constellations to aid in my independent fundraising.

A physical therapy escort at St. Margaret’s, my stringent duty was to accompany patients through their daily schedules. Through those brief corridor treks, I fine-tuned the anchor of empathic mirroring, matching tones both jaunty and somber and appeasing all taciturn inclinations, discerning the pillar of humanistic care in hospital confinement’s purgatory.

Tarrying to attend one final patient to their room, I was soon embraced by the company of an effervescent, grey-haired woman whose wisecracks crescendoed in a hyena’s chortle. Following her coy plea for family pet photoreels, rapport burgeoned between us, a pleasant chatter revived each Sunday round.

Habitually, I plopped in the chair besides her bed and lingered beyond shift’s end, hearkening to the treasure troves of her formative years, the escapades of unruly yet earnest grandchildren, and a smattering of fellow dog-owner sympathies. Our pleasure mutual, I felt through each half-hour “tea-time” that I was not merely an ink-slash across body requisites, but a valuable human presence. Like the hazy dog days of Scout Finch, these youthful afternoons solidified a cardinal precept: the indelible heart of prosaic interaction. One giggle unfurls in just a millisecond a sentient galaxy, a consciousness void of dolor. While modest and mere anodyne, no melancholy can erase the world conceived in those blithe moments. Thus, from bustling through a six-week annual fish-fry to concocting ice-cream sundaes alongside jittering tots to bagging beer cans and hypodermic needles in Valley community clean-ups to playing Cinderella in a terminally ill child’s farewell bash, I sought to evoke a personable ambiance.