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2013 Recipient Reflection (8/1/13)

As I update the website, I have to take a minute to reflect on this year’s application process. I was a bit nervous about having to juggle the tail end of my first year of teaching at Burlington Township High School (BTHS) with a swarm of incoming applications. However, I was eager to present the opportunity to the seniors in our district, as well as have some of my staff members spread the word to any other worthy seniors they knew. As a result, we were able to pull in some applications from south Jersey (BTHS and Rancocas Valley). Networking is underway. I was also able to pull in some applications from some former schools such as Ewing, Hamilton High West. The surprises came from Bucks County Technical High School (Fairless Hills, PA), and Indianapolis, Indiana.

Among the applicants, I was able to select three young ladies based on their applications, recommendations, and essays. It was not easy, but the committee felt good about its selection. All three ladies have been affected by breast cancer whether it was a grandmother, aunt, or godmother.

I met Kenisha during her senior awards night at Rancocas Valley Regional High School in Mount Holly, just ten minutes away from BTHS. Our schools are somewhat rivals. The students were enthusiastic, welcoming, and congratulatory. There was also one survivor in attendance. Kenisha will be attending Burlington County College. I then met Na’ima on a trip back to my alma mater, Ewing High School. She took home several awards that night, thus proving she will be a great addition to Howard University’s class of 2017. Ironically, I sat at the same table as her proud mother. In the audience were some of my old teachers, classmates, and two survivors, one of whom is a staff member and mother of a 2009 recipient, the other a devoted member of the guidance office. It was so nice to go back and feel the love and support I was given when my mom passed away when I was a junior student in 2006. Lastly, I met Ashanti and her mother at the Barnes and Noble in Fairless Hills; we talked about tips for freshman move in day, textbooks, financial aid, and traveling. I personally know a few people at NC A&T. From this meeting alone, I knew she was more than deserving of the award.

I look forward to the next batch of applicants; hopefully we can pull in some more male applicants.

-Tyler Barnes

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