Winners were announced for the annual ‘Save Me A Spot In College‘ contest sponsored by The Campaign for College Opportunity. 6th to 12th grade contestants can enter videos, essays, or posters in response to the following prompts:
(1) Tell California leaders why you and your peers are One in a Million, and (2) Why should California leaders save you and your peers a spot in college?
This year, California GEAR UP Director Shelley Davis was a judge in the contest, and shared one of the essay entries that was particularly moving. Shelley believes all students deserve access to an excellent education to give students a chance at a college education. “This powerful student voice renewed my resolve to ensure opportunity for ALL students”.
Written by 9th grader Rachel Johnson at Castro Valley High School who was nominated for the grand prize:
Have you ever heard the echo of a gunshot? Did you ever see a warm body hit the cold ground, life pouring out red on the pavement? Were you ever scared to walk your city streets because you’re blue or red? Do the sirens act as your lullaby, singing you to sleep as you cry? How could we escape this never-ending nightmare; will we ever be given the chance?
Most of my peers would say no; we won’t have the chance or the choice. They always look for someone to blame; believing we don’t have a voice. Either be blue, red, or dead. It’s no longer a black and white world with just shades of gray. It is a world of colors, and colors can kill. Wear the wrong color and a passing car might put you on the sidewalk forever. I want you to help me show my peers that the paths of blue and red aren’t our only options. There is the path of life and knowledge that is obtainable only through college.
Through college we can gain knowledge and wisdom. We can be the movers of mountains and sustainers of mankind. And if we find the mountain unmovable, then maybe with an education we can learn to tunnel through the mountain to the other side where colors are a thing to be admired and cherished for their differences, and not the cause for hate and blood-shed. Maybe through college, we can learn and then teach that we are not just red or blue, or black or white. Color should not define us; color should heighten our appreciation for each other. College can be the canvas that helps define us. Maybe red can shape industry and yellow can revitalize the economy; blue can feed the hungry and green can find clean fuel sources. But in reality, all this can only happen when all our colors work together. And college is the place where this rainbow of colors can rise from the mist and coalesce into the color of purpose.
We can do these things because we are the world’s future, but only if we are blessed with a college education. What we become depends not only on us, but on your commitment to us. Will you save us a spot?
To view the other contest winners and their entries, please visit the contest site here.
This year California GEAR UP gave 288 Trust Awards to middle grades students across California and 50 awards at Valley High School in Sacramento with the expectation that offering a monetary incentive to students will stimulate the entire family and school community to support his or her preparation for college.