Varsity Tutors Scholarship Winner

Congratulations to our scholarship winner!
  • Rank: 1
  • 31 Votes
Ni Na Ngo
Lawrenceville, GA
April 2019

Jumping Over the Gate - Varsity Tutors Scholarship Essay

Out of the 12 years of receiving education from public school setting after public school setting, I always did what was told. Whether it was completing an essay with exactly twenty five sentences while doing a handstand and simultaneously watching a monkey eat a banana or running a marathon while singing my favorite pop tracks on key while playing the violin, I would have done anything anyone told me without much thought. This is how I thrived through my classes for years. I would rise as various times in early morning, go to my school, sit down, take notes, do the assignment and receive my A in the class, rinse and repeat.

That was the routine up until freshman year in high school. I was ambitious to taking my first creative writing class, and the teacher was humorous and welcoming. I might as well have signed my soul over without much thought, because the next day felt like going to the Underworld and back. I had completed the assignment of writing a paragraph on the topic question: "How could a student like you change the world?" I had written about ambition and my drive to better the world with bettering the world around me with acts of kindness. It took my teacher ten seconds to read my essay. He breathed the words, "How superficial." He then proceeded to fist my paper into a ball and threw it into the trashcan whilst I stood there watching him do it.
Day after day, he would read my papers, crumple it in my face and tell me that I was being superficial. Unfortunately, with all the crumpled papers, my grade began to plummet drastically. It took me a while (and a lot of balls of crumpled up paper) to realize what he wanted from me. I didn't understand at first, but it was until I wrote about about the environment and how I wanted to better it. I flipped through it, and in my head, I was just thinking "Who is this? This is my handwriting, but I would never say anything of these things." We had another assignment coming up that was writing an essay about how our environment and where we were from affects the views that you have. On that day, I sat down and typed away on my keyboard.

Two days later, I handed in my paper in. In this particular essay, I talked about my struggles growing up as being labeled as a "SpEd" student as a child, and the fact that I always had these labels that kept me contained and limited me from achieving my dreams. I talked about the times when people told me that I would never make it far in life, and I should just give in. I wrote about how my parents, even though they were ashamed of me, they stuck with me. I wrote about the days when I was pushed to work hard past to the point I thought of giving up. I wrote how the people around me shaped who I was. A special education student that worked herself to the bone to defy her labels until they were lifted from her, and people started to accept her for who she was. I wrote about the glory and the euphoria I went through when I went from "SpEd" to labeled "Gifted".

It was after school on a Thursday when my teacher read my story. He was in tears when I looked up from my remediation assignment, and he told me that I must have finally went through to myself and saw the stoned message he was trying to deliver to me. All this time he didn't want to read about my best groomed self that wanted to single handedly save the Amazon forest or find a cure to a rare unknown disease. He wanted to know who I was as a person. He was tired of watching groomed, not genuine people, and he just longed to see someone that would show their true colors. He claimed to seeing right through me, and after a long talk about myself and who I was, I went home with an A+ paper in my book bag and the feeling of accomplishment on my chest.