The Worldwide ERC® Foundation for Workforce Mobility and Regional Relocation Group Student Essay Scholarship Program
The Foundation for Workforce Mobility holds several events each year to support and further its mission to energize the global community through charitable giving. One of those is an annual high school student scholarship essay program. In cooperation with any Worldwide ERC®–recognized regional relocation groups who wish to participate, the Foundation encourages high school students with relocation experience to submit essays sharing their personal stories, what they learned from their move (or moves), and/or what advice they might have for other young students going through the same process. Regional groups select an award-winning essay, and the students receive funds in support of future endeavors. In 2017, the Foundation and participating regional relocation groups granted a total of $11,000 to 11 high school students around the country.
All who serve on the Foundation Board of Trustees thank the members of the Austin Relocation Council, Bay Area Mobility Management, the Charlotte Metro Area Relocation Council, the Corporate Relocation Council of Chicago, the Greater Richmond Relocation Council, Houston Relocation Professionals, the Metro Atlanta Relocation Council, the New Jersey Relocation Council, the Southeastern Regional Relocation Council, the Tennessee Relocation Council, and North Texas Relocation Professionals for their support, and we congratulate the winning students. Excerpts from their award-winning submissions follow.
Austin Relocation Council
In school, I strive to succeed and be the best at everything that I do. By being the graduating salutatorian of a new school, I am showing other students that I have the ability to succeed regardless of my circumstances. My focus and hard work do not go unnoticed. Many students who have met me would have thought that I had been attending this high school all four years simply because of my outgoing, energetic personality. I have been able to quickly build relationships with my classmates and teachers simply because I was not afraid to speak up and tell others about myself.
I chose to be a leader not only inside the classroom but also outside by participating in many community service events and extracurricular activities. Even though I was new to the school, I tried out for the volleyball team because I believed that it was an opportunity for me to make friends while participating in an activity I loved. As captain of the team, I was surrounded by girls who looked to me for support, direction, and encouragement. This experience taught me that I will never know what opportunities could arise if I do not take a step outside of my comfort zone. Read more of Hepsiba’s story.
Carlos Gomez Pacheco
Bay Area Mobility Management
My grandparents were born in Oxkutzcab, Mexico, and worked as farmers since they were teenagers. They never went to formal school but they knew the value of education. In order to spare me from the hardships they faced, my grandparents always told me to work hard to achieve my dreams, show up early, and always be respectful. Today, I feel happy knowing that I will be the first person in my family to attend college.
In addition to my challenging time learning English as a second language, I also had a good time joining after-school programs and clubs that helped me to practice English in an environment surrounded by teenagers who were having the same difficulty as me. I attended the first day of school with no idea of joining a club; today I am the president of one. I joined the Awaken Dreamers Club because a friend of mine invited me, and from the first day, I absolutely wanted to stay.
The advice I would give to another teenager preparing to relocate would be that wherever you go, seek out and take advantage of opportunities. I have to admit that it is so hard coming to a new place where you are not used to it, but this challenging phase of our lives makes us stronger; we are able to learn new things like cultures and languages, while at the same time teaching others about our culture, language, and traditions. Read more of Carlos’ story, and why Nelson Mandela’s quote that “education is the most powerful weapon which you can use to change the world” resonates with him.
Charlotte Metro Area Relocation Council
A little over three years ago, my family packed all our belongings into a mover’s truck and drove it over 600 miles down the East Coast, from the big, vibrant New York City to the small, quaint Concord, North Carolina.
I had a very difficult time adjusting to my school. I felt singled out because of my skin color and my accent; it didn’t seem to match the rest of the student body’s. More so, my mindset and personal life didn’t seem to match up either. I met people whose biggest problems were that the new Lilly Pulitzer season had sold out. I didn’t even know who Lilly Pulitzer was, let alone that it was a store. It became harder when upperclassmen ridiculed me for my background and the way I dressed. Learn about the rest of Danielle’s story, and how she overcame the challenges.
Corporate Relocation Council of Chicago
Upon arrival in my new hometown, my initial instinct was to stay quiet, withdrawn, and not make any effort to meet anyone or blend in. I felt uncomfortable eating in the cafeteria, where other classmates would see me alone and I was embarrassed of myself, embarrassed that I did not have any close friends or people I could eat lunch with. While staying quiet made me feel more secure, it was always hard and took time to make quality friends and find a group to fit in.
My new school guidance counselor encouraged me to become open to making new friends. She pointed out that the only way I will blend in and find quality friends would be by getting involved in activities. Using my counselor’s advice, I made sure to get involved in clubs which interested me. I met my closest friends through these clubs and will always be thankful to my guidance counselor who gave me this invaluable tip, which led to many new opportunities. I am now outgoing and feel comfortable to socialize, interact, and blend in with a group of new people, and consider myself very confident in that environment. No matter how hard a challenge might seem, with the advice of mentors and those around you, there is always a way to find the positives in every situation. Read more about how Emily turned her family’s relocation into a learning and personal growth experience.
Greater Richmond Relocation Council
From my birthplace in Georgia, I’ve moved to Texas, Michigan, Washington, D.C., Germany, Poland, Germany (again), Ohio, Massachusetts, and finally Virginia. That’s a grand total of nine moves in 17 years. As a military child, I didn’t understand how atypical moving was since I was surrounded by kids with the same lifestyle. Especially living in Europe, I took my situation for granted and never fully appreciated the food, tourism, and language opportunities available to me.
And here I am today, in Yorktown, Virginia, about to graduate from high school, two years after moving from Boston, Massachusetts. Leaving my home in Boston, many friends remarked that I was strong and brave for accepting the challenge to move. Moving was never my choice, but my attitude toward change was a choice, and I am proud to say that I have lived to tell the tale of a military brat. To say the process was hard is an understatement, but I will admit that the process has hardened my character and produced an adaptable young woman. Read further details about Veronica’s journey and the advice she offers other moving teens.
Houston Relocation Professionals
My first two weeks in Houston were pretty solitary as neither school nor soccer tryouts had begun yet. During these lonesome days I really got to thinking about life itself and why before that summer I had always put the thoughts and opinions of others before my own. It seemed foolish in retrospect, thinking about if other students thought I was “cool” or whatnot. Emphasizing this new perspective on life I gained during summer, I began my journey in Houston. The first weeks were rough. I felt ostracized and uncomfortable in most of my classes, but then came soccer tryouts. Soccer, the one thing that had truly stayed constant throughout my whole life, is my sanctuary from all other troubles.
Working as hard as I could, I was accepted into the club team in The Woodlands and became a part of the Rush family. This family became my first connection in Houston, allowing my confidence to surge forward and bring out the best of me in the school setting as well. Furthermore, following my philosophy of putting my own thoughts above the opinions of the masses, I met a couple of the best friends I have ever had. Learn more about Federico’s transition.
Metro Atlanta Relocation Council
Arriving a month into the school year, I was buried in an abyss of work. At the same time, my grandmother’s house flooded, leaving the molded floorboards of the kitchen unstable, a metaphor to my life. It was at that breaking point when I found inspiration. I knew that my character is not determined by the person I am on a good day, but rather the person I choose to be on my worst day. I found inspiration and strength within myself that I never knew existed.
With newfound confidence, I began rising up to leadership opportunities at my school. One of these leadership positions was being the founder and president of our school’s Girl Up chapter. Being passionate about social equality, I began advocating and educating my community about gender inequality. How would I get people interested? How do I educate high school students about global events? The answer was simple. When I moved across the country, everything in my life changed, except people. People naturally want to help each other out, as it is a part of our humanity. Thus, I knew that I had to appeal to my peers by educating them on gender discrimination and explaining to them how they can impact the lives of countless girls around the world. See what else Sara did to turn her transferring student experience into community advocacy.
New Jersey Relocation Council
Since 2011, my mother had been in an abusive relationship with a man who she once thought was her Prince Charming. I knew I had to put an end to the long dreary years of abuse. This was one of the scariest things I have ever done in my life but because I knew what he was capable of, that was the last thing on my mind. At the end of the day, I knew it wasn’t about me, it was about the woman who sacrificed so much for my brother and me.
After long talks with my mother and family in New Jersey, I decided [that] to put my pride aside and put my family’s safety first was the only thing to do. After moving to Jersey, my mom was jobless, my brother and I had to enroll into a new high school; we all basically had to start over in the middle of our lives. Following our move to Perth Amboy, one thing I really never forgot is the light that I saw in my mother’s eyes. It was like she had become a new person since moving from Ohio and it was an amazing sight to see. Discover more about Deonte’s personal journey.
Southeastern Regional Relocation Council
I was shooting on my old basketball hoop when one of the movers was sitting down on a box and drinking some water. I casually rolled the ball in his direction as if by accident. His head turned up and he made eye contact with me. I was frozen like a deer in the headlights. Did I make a mistake? Was I out of line? I worried, and I too started to sweat. Did I offend him? Was I a distraction? He reached down for the ball and felt it in his hands for about 10 seconds as he assessed the ball’s leather and markings, then he looked up at the hoop with the same eyes and glare that I received. As if it was poetry in motion he shot the ball with ease, his release art in its essence. Five feet over the backboard it went and into the bushes behind.
We both looked at each other and he laughed, then I felt it was all right to laugh and did as well. “Li’l rusty, aren’t I?” he asked. A little bit, but I am too, I said with some comfort and respect. He just shook his head and let out some small chuckles here and there, then walked back into the garage to take on his daunting task. Read on for how that shared moment helped to shape David’s transition from Alabama to Florida.
Tennessee Relocation Council
I lived in Yangzhou, China, until my family from Indiana adopted me in 2007 when I was 10 years old. Ever since my family traveled to China to meet me, they have been intrigued by Eastern culture. My father works for a global diesel engine company. The company brought many foreigners from various continents in the world to our small town in Indiana. My siblings and I grew up with the influence of many foreign cultures, with close friends from India, China, Japan, Mexico, Brazil, and other places.
In middle school, my father was offered an expatriate assignment in South Korea. Our time in Korea came to an end at the beginning of my junior year in high school. Even though we knew we had to restart our lives in a new place again, we felt confident that these factors were going to accommodate our fresh start. After all, this would be the third big move in my life. Read the full article to see how Claire’s transition to Tennessee turned out.
North Texas Relocation Professionals
I was born and raised as a pure Oregonian: I loved the rainforest weather and crisp air and lush foliage that came with it. Just thinking about the prospect of living in Texas, the flat ground, dry and hot air, tiny shrubs, and cowboy accent gave me headaches. Nevertheless, I faced my future with a positive outlook.
The depression did not hit me until I had started school. I was undoubtedly shy those first few weeks. While my mind told me to step forward, my body was screaming at me to hide somewhere. I felt that all I received were glares, neglect, and shrugs.
For many days, I remember sitting on my bed looking out of my window at the night sky, and remembering the Spanish movie Bajo la Misma Luna, Under the Same Moon. My current life and my past life are all underneath the same night sky, yet I was so distant from my past, my home, my friends, and my comfort zone. I couldn’t help it when tears flooded down my face because it just hurt so much thinking that I would forever be that alone. Now thinking back, those thoughts seem really silly. Continue to the full article to see how Karen turned her moving experience around.