Best Foot Forward Scholarship

Congratulations to our Scholarship Winners!

The trial lawyers at Grant Law Office would like to congratulate all of our scholarship winners. We launched our Best Foot Forward scholarship in 2018 to assist deserving college-bound students in paying for secondary educational expenses. We hope that by offering this money, we are helping not only one student, but an entire community that will reap the benefits of that student's drive for success.

Grant Law Office would like to thank all who applied. Please check our blog and Facebook page for announcements and other scholarship opportunities.

2019 Winning Entry

"I gradually came to the realization that I wouldn’t change my major – education was where I needed to be."

- Madeline S., 2019 Scholarship Winner

Short Essay

“Why, when we say the word ‘something’ do we usually say ‘sumpthing?’”

“Umm, it’s...I don’t know. Can you explain that one again?”

"One day I just realized that I couldn’t declare anything else and that I had known that for a while. I loved kids and learning. Teaching felt like a good career for me. Nothing else seemed to fit the same."
- Madeline S.

It was late on a Monday night, and I sat next to my classmate, Jamie, at a long table on the second floor of the library. We had a linguistics quiz in the morning, and while I was eating up every bit of information from the class, it just didn’t click for everyone. Jamie was one of those people.

“It’s the insertion of a voiceless stop.” I slowly explained that it occurs when two specific types of sounds pronounced from the same place in the mouth follow each other.

“So, what’s the place of articulation for the ‘m’?”

I watched as Jamie leaned back in his chair, hands behind his head, pressing his lips together and muttering “muh, muh.”

“It’s a, um, bilabial?”

"I gradually came to the realization that I wouldn’t change my major – education was where I needed to be. But I didn’t know why. I wasn’t burning with passion and motivation to one day step into a classroom. Until that Monday night in the library."
- Madeline S.

“Yep, and what’s the place of articulation for the ‘p’?”

He focused again, pressing his lips together to create a “puh, puh.”

“Oh, it’s bilabial.”

“Right, we add in the voiceless stop—the ‘p’ – that’s pronounced in the same place as the nasal sound – the ‘m.’” I was met with a big, beautiful “Ohhhh!” as I saw him make the connection.

“Man, I’m so glad you’re going to be a teacher.”

His comment caught me off guard, and I couldn’t help but smile. That night we had won a bunch of little battles, where he started to understand a topic better. But, seeing the brilliant light bulb come on in that moment gave me a joy I wasn’t expecting to find in the library at 9:30 on a Monday night.

When I was applying for colleges, I didn’t know what I wanted to major in. I had a couple of ideas, but I just wasn’t sure. During the spring of my senior year of high school, I gradually came to the conclusion that I would go into Early Childhood Education. There was no one moment where I made the decision, no divine revelation. One day I just realized that I couldn’t declare anything else and that I had known that for a while. I loved kids and learning. Teaching felt like a good career for me. Nothing else seemed to fit the same.

So, I adopted the facade of being sure of my major to wear, confidently, when distant relatives and parents’ friends interrogated me about my future. As I started my freshman year, I got excited about being a part of the education program at my school. Just as before, I gradually came to the realization that I wouldn’t change my major – education was where I needed to be. But I didn’t know why. I wasn’t burning with passion and motivation to, one day, step into a classroom, until that Monday night in the library.

After Jamie told me he was happy I was in education, I knew, for the first time, why I was, too.

"After Jamie told me he was happy I was in education, I knew, for the first time, why I was, too. After that night, I looked forward to walking through the topics of our class with Jamie. I craved the “lightbulb moment."
- Madeline S.

After that night, I looked forward to walking through the topics of our class with Jamie. I craved the “lightbulb moment.” I asked him what kinds of subjects were easiest for him, and found ways to present linguistics to him through that lens. Like the time I showed him that the 12 main verb tenses in English are like math. You identify the triggers of each tense and add them together to get the combined tense you want. I witnessed the gears turn in his head, and he came up with a sentence in past perfect progressive without referencing his notes. It made me proud of him and proud of myself, and zealous about becoming a teacher.

A few months later, as I walked to the porch of our humanities building, I received an email titled, “Tutoring Position.” My heart fluttered as I opened the email and read, “...your name has been recommended to us...” I sat down in a rocking chair and simply grinned for a few minutes. It wasn’t a guaranteed job, but even interviewing for a tutoring position made me excited.

I had calmed myself down enough to pull out some homework to do when a man in a suit stepped out of the building and politely asked me what the name of it was. Though his speech was excellent, he was clearly a non-native English speaker.

“It’s called Evans,” I said.

“Evan, like up there?” He pointed toward the sky.

“No, Evans.”

He still seemed confused, so I pulled out a notecard and wrote it for him.

“Ohhh, ee-vuns.”

“Evans,” I corrected.

He raised an eyebrow. “The whole of the United States calls it ‘Evans?’”

“Yes, some people have it as a name.” I laughed.

While he texted his friend directions to the building, he asked me what I studied. The word “education” had hardly left my mouth before he was nodding and expressing his approval. When he had finished up, he shook his head.

“Evans, really? So, what do you call that?” He pointed to the sky again.

“Heaven.”

“And what do you call this?” He pointed to the building.

“Evans. The difference is it doesn’t have the ‘huh’ sound.”

“Ahh,” was his sound of realization. He shook his finger, “See, this is why you are going to be a good teacher!”

The small moment made me laugh. I doubt it was a good reflection of my teaching capabilities, but it was another lightbulb moment. That man had provided me with a little bit of joy that took me back to the library. Jamie had helped me to realize my passion for helping people learn, figuring out what makes it click for them, and witnessing the lightbulb turn on. In a way, Jamie’s “Ohhh” moment as he understood an insertion rule of phonology was my “Ohhh” moment, as I understood why I was on the education path.

I typed up an email to the tutoring center: “I would love to interview!”

- Madeline S.


2018 Winning Entry

"Knowledge will never run out for any of us, and that’s the most joyous fact of all."

- Katie D., 2018 Scholarship Winner

Introduction

My name is Katie Davis; I am 17 years old and currently residing in Central Georgia. I have been dual-enrolling full-time at Middle Georgia State University for the past two years. I also happen to be the founder/CEO of a local nonprofit that donates necessities to foster children and supports indigenous Guatemalan women (check it out at samestarscanvas.org!). I have chosen to apply for the Grant Law Office scholarship in hopes of easing the financial burden that even in-state tuition would be on my family. I hope to use this scholarship to help me study architecture, which I aim to eventually get a PhD in. Thank you for the opportunity!

Short Essay

The shaggy-haired senior at the desk in front of me had his credit card and phone pulled out under his desk, not-so-discreetly ordering shoes online. My best friend at the desk beside me was doodling suns and cartoon pigs on her binder. It was the last day of school, but the documentary projected on the board as an afterthought by my tired Latin teacher made all the summer excitement fizzing in the room around me turn to static.

"Even if I set out to learn everything possible about just a single topic (say, crows, my favorite animal), there will never be enough time to read every book written on them."
- Katie D.

The broad and impossible arcs of the Coliseum, the perfect and effortless way they distributed unimaginable weights—it all seemed to make time stop for a moment. The three ancient architectural orders present struck me; a detail easily glossed over at first glance, but an aspect so pivotal it can’t be unseen even in the grainy light of a projector, victim of budget cuts. How could an ancient construction essentially made of just arches become so visually powerful and hold up such enormous weights?

The video slid to a new image, a rendering of Roman aqueducts. Again, it seemed impossible for the time. I imagined the dozens of miles of grassy plains that those precisely sloped structures traveled on. I thought of the bathhouses and fountains, hallmarks of Roman culture. None of it would be possible without architecture like this.

In that moment, more than anything, I wanted to create something just as impossible, just as beautiful. I want to be a part of earth's architecture. I want to contribute more beauty, purpose, and structure into the world, and celebrate the steady root it holds in culture.

One of my favorite lines of Shakespeare appears in As You like It: “The fool doth think he is wise, but the wise man knows himself to be a fool.”

"The thing about education is that the further you get into it, the more you realize that you really do not know much at all about anything."
- Katie D.

The thing about education is that the further you get into it, the more you realize that you really do not know much at all about anything. After learning about fractions and division in 3rd-grade math, I was so sure that I knew every possible thing there was to learn about arithmetic. Almost a decade later, sitting in a college calculus class, I have never been more aware of just how little of mathematic theory I actually know. The other day, I was sitting in my local library and came to the heart-wrenching realization that even if I read every single one of the thousands of books in the building—which would literally take over a lifetime to do—I would only have been introduced to a practically nonexistent fraction of the knowledge there is to be discovered.

There would still be hundreds of thousands of libraries in the world filled with millions more books, including ones written in countless different languages that would take lifetimes to become proficient in. Even if I set out to learn everything possible about just a single topic (say, crows, my favorite animal), there will never be enough time to read every book written on them.

Though an initially discouraging thought to consider, it is also a humbling and thrilling one; no matter how many people you meet or experiences you’ve had or courses you’ve taken, there will always be even smarter people to learn from, more lessons to be discovered, and a further sense of understanding to capture. Knowledge will never run out for any of us, and that’s the most joyous fact of all.

We must not be third graders satisfied with knowing only a multiplication table. We must further our ventures in everything in hopes of reaching the point in which we fully realize that we know nothing. I am looking forward to furthering that realization through a collegiate study of architecture.

- Katie D.