A high school senior from Lithia, Florida has just been awarded the $1,000 grand prize in a scholarship competition. The 16-year-old, Laura Gonzalez, is on track to attend college next fall. She hails from Lithia, a suburb of Tampa in central-east Florida and is completing her last year at Newsome Highschool, with a total population of about 3,000 students. Her small school and community are thrilled for her and are all wishing her the best on her upcoming new chapter in life.
Gonzalez was looking through the offerings on Scholarships.com when something creative caught her eye. The website offers thousands of scholarships based on everything from merit to background to interests. You can utilize their great search engine that can instantly match you to scholarships that fit your profile.
What Gonzalez found was the annual 11th annual Drive2Life PSA Contest, offered by a government agency known as the National Road Safety Foundation. To apply for the scholarship, applicants were asked to write a script for a public service announcement that dealt with the dangers of driving in an intoxicated state.
Hoping to standout, her submission had “a different look and communicates a simple but important message about not letting a friend drive while under the influence.” This was according to Michelle Anderson, the director of operations at National Road Safety Foundation. The foundation was tasked with selecting the very best among thousands of applicants across the whole country.
The script Gonzalez wrote was unique in the sense that she looked back in history to deliver a modern-day message. She styled her announcement on the black and white films of the 1920’s silent era. In it, friends were planning to return after a night out. One of the two was visibly inebriated with either drugs or alcohol. Her sober friend took the keys and proceeded to drive home, while espousing the dangers of impaired driving. Her thoughts on her piece shows an earnest interest in helping others with her captivating take on the subject, "I hope it will draw in young people to watch it because it's eye-catching," she said.
She will go on to work virtually with an Emmy-winning production company in order to shoot, edit and distribute the announcement. But this is just the beginning for Gonzalez, who says she will go on to apply to a lot more scholarships. As she is saving up to attend Florida Atlantic University for a 4-year degree. She is still casting a wide net for assistance money, “I was so excited to win money for college, so now I go on scholarship websites once a week to look for scholarships that I can apply for,” she said.
It just goes to show you, no matter the size of your hometown, the whole world is out there waiting for you. There are more scholarships than ever before, so make sure to check with teachers, counselors and Scholarships.com.