On November 4th GEAR UP welcomed and presented guest speaker Kristina Ellis to Southridge High. GEAR UP partnered with Southridge High to adjust the day’s class schedule. During this schedule change, all junior students were given the chance to listen to Kristina speak about her experiences and what could be expected when applying for scholarships. News media got wind of the guest speaker from Tennessee coming to share her insight at Southridge High School and made an appearance to catch quick interviews with a couple students and Kristina herself. Winner of $500,000 in scholarships and the author of Confessions of a Scholarship Winner, Kristina Ellis shared her tips and tricks on the scholarship application process to all who attended her presentations.
One of our GEAR UP Ambassadors had the opportunity to introduce her to the stage as the junior class took their seats. She was able to relate with the student’s thoughts of fearing rejection and or the lack of motivation to apply for scholarships simply because of the mindset of not feeling smart enough to receive one. Students were surprised to find out Kristina wasn’t a straight A student. Her strategy was to apply to all scholarships she came across that pertained to her and to stay active with school clubs and extracurricular activities, as well as to step up in leadership roles. In hopes to stay a step ahead of any competition, she invented and led her own shoe drive for kids in need. Kristina shared other tips such as, don’t underestimate scholarships that offer small rewards because they will add up, and scholarships of all kinds exist if you search for them. She also informed students that not winning every scholarship you apply for is normal and expected.
Kristina made sure to leave enough time for questions and answers at the end of her presentation to junior students. Students were reminded that here at Southridge, they are lucky enough to have a Scholarship Specialist as a resource. The hours of research that Kristina had to put in for hunting down scholarships is mostly taken care of for Southridge students thanks to our Scholarship Specialist, as well as GEAR UP staff who post upcoming scholarships on a bulletin board in the school’s main hallway.
Teachers at Southridge were also given an opportunity to meet one on one with Kristina Ellis at the end of the day during a brief presentation held in the school’s library. The last presentation given was opened up to all students and parents in the Kennewick School District. In total we had 75 parents show up to hear Kristina Ellis speak on the importance of scholarships and the strategies she used to be a successful scholarship winner. GEAR UP was more than grateful to have such an amazing and successful person come and share her ways to prepare for post-secondary education with Southridge’s students and parents!