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Wow! What An Experience MAG
I first learned about the HOBY scholarship in the fall of my sophomore year.The Hugh O'Brien Youth Foundation was offering a scholarship for sophomores who showed leadership. On the advice of my guidance counselor I filled out an application. Then the top two qualifiers in my school were interviewed, which involved answering many questions about my volunteer work and how I hoped to benefit from the HOBY experience. The following night I found out I was the recipient of the award, and would be attending a four-day seminar in June. After a few weeks I began to receive large quantities of information about the upcoming events. I was also telephoned by a number of past HOBY members who were calling to make sure any questions that I might have were answered. My group leader then called and explained all about the upcoming plans.
Thursday, June 4th finally arrived and I was off to meet student leaders from all over Massachusetts. I arrived at Boston University, where we stayed, and was greeted by many friendly faces. After everyone was checked in, we met with our groups. In our groups we had many icebreakers that helped us to get to know everyone else. This was the start of our action-packed four days.
We started our seminar with a discussion on leadership led by Dr. Helen Vasallo of Worcester Polytechnic Institute. She encouraged us to set our goals and spoke about our upcoming college years. We also visited the State House where we discussed our rights and how we can protect them. We concluded the day with rap sessions wherewe talked among the people in our group and discussed events of the day.
The highlight of Friday was the time each group spent doing community service projects. These included working with City Year, The Boston Urban Gardeners, and also The Mayor's Youth Leadership Corps. There was also those who volunteered time at Rosie's Place and at Keystone Apartments. Group nine spent their time at the Keystone Apartments updating Emergency Medical Forms. The Keystone Apartments are for elderly people, many of whom are Russian and Japanese. I was somewhat nervous about dealing with many elderly people and those who spoke different languages. But once we got started and saw the great appreciation that these people showed us, it became quite enjoyable. It was obvious that many of these people were looking forward to seeing us because they were very hospitable. Many of us found ourselves speaking to these wonderful people for a long time. It was also wonderful to see people who spoke foreign languages trying to be helpful just the same.
The most memorable part of Saturday was the Management Simulation Exercise where each group had two hours to set up a company and to have it reach certain goals. Each group was a different company so no one knew what the others were trying to accomplish. Some were trying to gain wealth for their companies, while others were trying to build roads or buildings. At the end of the set time period, each team discussed their strategies and whether or not they had achieved their goal. The point of this exercise was to show the importance of teamwork and also to show what the real working world is like.
Sunday morning was the last day and our great time was coming to a close. That morning we learned about the HOBY Alumni Association which helps bring this experience to students all over the United States. We also spoke to a panel of sports figures who explained how they keep their drive and determination going, including a member of the Boston Bruins, an Olympic Rower and a coach from Boston College. From this we learned how we too could stay motivated.
The final banquet was waiting and our four days were coming to an end. I couldn't believe it was over. The first thing I did after the banquet was sign up to be part of the Alumni Association. I couldn't wait to get home and tell everyone about the people I had met and the things that I had learned. That is why I would encourage any freshman or sophomore to look into this program. I'll close with a statement from Hugh O'Brien, the founder of the Foundation:
"I do not believe we are all born equal.
Physical and emotional differences, parental guidance,
Varying environments, being in the right place at the right
time all play a role in enhancing or limiting development.
But, I do believe every man or woman,
if given the right opportunity and encouragement to recognize
their potential, regardless of their background,
has the freedom to choose in our world.
will an individual be a taker or a giver in life?
Will he or she be satisfied merely to exist
or will he or she seek a meaningful purpose?
Will he or she dare to dream the impossible dream?
I believe every person is created as the steward of
his or her own destiny with great power
for a specific purpose to share with others through
service, a reverence for life in a spirit of love."n