2021 Scholarship Recipients
Younce, Vtipil, Baznik & Banks, P.A., would like to congratulate all of the applicants to our annual scholarship contest. We received many compelling essays and although we wish we could award every student who applied, we had to narrow our selection down to ten finalists and from there two winners. Please join us in congratulating our winners, John Jackson, and Hayden Cagle, and be sure to check back next year to apply for our scholarship.
1st Place – John Jackson
The COVID-19 disease has spread like a wildfire throughout the world. When we first started hearing about new cases of the disease, I kept hearing from news sources that COVID-19 affects minorities much more seriously than it does other groups. Being a minority myself, this information did not sit well with me. It created a lot of fear and anxiety. How in the world could a virus pick and choose who it affects and somehow seek out minorities and people of color?
In doing research to find answers, I learned that a large factor in this disease bias is linked to access to healthcare. In many minority communities, people do not have health insurance. With the costs of medical care being so high, this group often cannot afford adequate medical treatment. By the time they get the virus and worsen from its effects, they are often so sick and do not respond to treatment leading to death.
Health facilities are also not usually convenient to minorities especially in low-income areas. With people not having transportation and not being comfortable leaving their familiar surroundings, they are often not able to access necessary care in a timely manner. This barrier further increases the disparity in receiving treatment.
Another factor is trust. Minorities and people of color historically have been misguided and mistreated by government, law officers, healthcare officials, and other leaders who did not genuinely have their best interest at heart. As a result, this group of people are hesitant to seek medical care when needed and instead turn to spiritual leaders for prayer. They frequently miss out on the benefits of modern medicine that has been proven to save lives.
The lack of access to healthcare is definitely one of the most pressing global issues in the world today that has been highlighted by the COVID-19 pandemic. It has unfortunately been responsible for many people suffering unnecessarily and dying. If more people were able to have medical insurance, then they would be able to receive needed care in the early stages of disease before it progresses. If more clinics and hospitals were built in minority neighborhoods, then those individuals would feel more comfortable about receiving care and be able to access the clinic easier when transportation is not available. Also, if the government and other leaders end the injustices against minorities and people of color, they would be more likely to seek care and trust the medical advances that have been made to prevent serious illness and death. Making progress in these areas will be a much needed benefit and result of the pandemic. I hope to see changes made in this area of society to add a silver lining to the life-altering effects that this virus has imposed on us all.
2nd Place – Hayden Cagle
In my experience this past year with jumping back into social situations, interacting with my peers is a little bit like riding a bike. No matter how long it has been since I last talked to someone outside of my household, it’s always pretty easy to get back into the rhythm of conversations with people that I love. I’m a little bit rusty at first, of course, but after a few hours, a couple days, or a week, I’m always able to jump back into conversations fairly easily. I don’t really think that social interactions as an entity will be intrinsically different once COVID finally decides to move on, rather, I think the biggest change in our daily lives will be with whom we have those social interactions.
This whole pandemic has served, if nothing else, to dichotomize the people around me. It’s a pretty simple separation, too, but it’s given a whole new perspective on those that I actually want to spend time with versus those who aren’t worth the energy. There are those that have religiously followed social guidelines and government restrictions through the whole pandemic, and there are those who haven’t. It’s a whole new way by which to measure those who actually care about other people and those who just put up a caring facade in order to further their own agendas. I know so many people who constantly claim to “love” and “care about” everyone, yet they go out and party, eat dinner in restaurants, or sleep over at their friends’ houses. They’ve been able to have a social life, sure, but in doing so they’ve lost the respect of many people that used to care about them. There’s been a line created in thick sharpie separating those who have and those who haven’t been following restrictions, and the hardest part about getting back to normal, for me, will be to find new relationships with those I know actually care about others’ health and wellbeing.
I fully believe that at some point, my social interactions will go back to pretty much how they were pre-COVID. I’ll be able to spend the night at my friends’ houses without worrying about their grandmas getting sick, I’ll be able to ride in the car with the windows up, and I’ll be able to see my friends’ beautiful smiles as we hang out without having to wear masks. My social battery may run out a little bit earlier, or I may have a little bit more of a struggle coming up with the right things to say, but I know that there will be normalcy sooner or later. I also take a lot of comfort in knowing that the people I choose to spend time with actually care about me and the rest of the world. I know that they value the health and wellbeing even of the strangers standing next to them in the store, and that makes me extremely happy and proud to call them my friends. I can’t help but hope that others had the same experience with the pandemic, as being able to find your people is so important.
- Hannah McCain
- Daniel Forde
- Alexis Franklin
- Aubrey Spicola
- Keon Marcus
- Olivia Holman
- Dakota Batchek
- Cameron Tinsley