Pearl-Cohn student earns scholarship with winning essay
Girls Inc. is a national program that aims to inspire all girls to be strong, smart and bold by equipping them with the skills to navigate gender, economic and social barriers. The YWCA of Nashville and Middle Tennessee supports the program in several Metro Schools.
The scholarship was awarded to Lucki by Be About Change, a nonprofit committed to providing higher education scholarships to students from low-income households.
Read Lucki's award-winning essay:
“There will be pizza,” are the words that stole my attention. A room with food and beverages, a couple of girls, and a strange woman who would ask a million questions that I would give a simple lie to is what I imagined Girls Inc. would be. In the beginning, I was only there simply for a meal that I knew I wouldn’t get otherwise. One could never be certain of tomorrow when living in a small duplex with three adults, three delinquents, and one monthly income. Life seemed like a game that we’d always lose. My mom felt this defeat the most, and every time I looked in her eyes I could feel her constant agony, and hear her desperate cry and it killed me. They say as a child you shouldn’t worry too much about “grown up problems,” yet I could never stop worrying. I always wanted to help even if it meant sacrificing something that I wanted. I would wait a months’ time for forty-five minutes of small talk, free food, and the key ingredients towards a better life. In Girls Inc. I began to notice that most of the girls had part time jobs, and were working when they didn’t have school. This made me realize that I was also able to get a job and contribute to myself and my family, even at a young age of fifteen. So I applied to Kroger, and because of what I learned in Girls Inc. I quickly obtained an interview and in no time, I became a working girl! Joining Girls Inc. and obtaining a job are some of the best choices I’ve made in my life so far. Although it is rough going to school full time and working I wouldn’t regret my decision to work because it pushed me to work even harder. “What doesn’t kill makes you stronger” is a quote that I live by every day. To me this quote is all about persevering even through your darkest days, and with the financial literacy I gained from Girls Inc., I am equipped with the strength to persevere, and thrive through every hardship and challenge that’s is thrown at me.
Over the years I have seen myself mature into a responsible young woman. I have overcome shyness, and low-self-esteem while battling health issues. Who would ever think that “tiny Lucki” would speak in front of roughly 1500 people? Never in a million years did I think I would have such an enlightening opportunity, but I guess dreams do come true, and now public speaking is a reality for me as well as a great skill and asset that I am proud to have. Not only have I overcome shyness, I have also become more focused and aware of my grades and how they have a huge role in life after high school. Prior to Girls. Inc., I was enrolled in all honors classes, but I wasn’t always attentive to how each assignment played a role in my overall grade, GPA, and college. It wasn’t until my Girls Inc. instructor showed me and my classmates the average annual income of people with some high school experience, only a high school diploma, and etc., when I realized that living paycheck to paycheck is not the life I want for myself and for my future family. After that when my junior year began, I came to school every day dedicated and focused to learn.
For each semester I had a goal, and when I reached one goal I’d replace that goal with a new and improved higher standard. I maintained A’s and B’s until I finally reached my goal and became a straight A student. Along with achieving better grades, I also started to join school clubs, sports, and activities. I became an Academies of Nashville Ambassador, a peer mentor, a student leader, I participated in mock trial, I joined the soccer team, I ran for SGA, I am in Girls Inc., and I am enrolled in AP and Honor classes, all while maintaining my part time job where I worked at least twenty-eight hours a week. In addition to that, I also started taking advantage of internships opportunities, and academy based summer camps. I am two-year Warner Music Nashville intern, I was an intern for the academy award winning actress Reese Witherspoon in her new store Draper James, and I attended Grammy Camp. Having said that, my AP and Honor courses, my grades, and my extracurricular activities are the source that eliminated my low-self-esteem. Being a part of all these tremendous things have made me realize my worth and my potential, and I am overjoyed, and honored to be equipped such great strength and power to work hard and be where I want to be. One of things I value most in life is having the ability to make a choice, and being able to be in control of what route I choose in life. Thanks to Girls Inc., I have the knowledge that is preparing me for the rest of my life. With that said, Girls Inc. is an organization that builds our community by equipping young woman with the passion, drive, and tools in effort to reform society.