Second Place Scholarship Winner - Justin P.

scholarshipBackground on the Picture Keeper Scholarship

Here at Picture Keeper we value hard work and entrepreneurship. As a startup company focused on protecting memories, we know that it takes dedication and determination to turn your idea into reality and chasing your dreams can be hard! That’s why we’re giving away scholarships towards two students who are chasing their dreams twice a year. The first place winner receives a $1,500 award, the second place winner receives a $1,000 award and the third place winner receives a Picture Keeper Connect!

Students from across the country were asked to submit an essay about what they are doing to follow their dreams, along with a picture to go along with it using #PictureKeeper on Instagram and/or Twitter. They also needed to be a high school graduate (or equivalent) with a GPA of 3.0 or higher and enrolled into a college program. We received many wonderful submissions, but after careful consideration, we narrowed it down to three winners!

We are excited to share with you, Justin P, our second place scholarship winner!

A welcoming mother opened the door, with curious faces peaking behind her. I could taste the powerful aroma of Bhutanese spices lingering from the simmering ema datshi. After exchanging greetings, the children settled to commence today’s English and math lessons.

That’s when I met Monika. I complimented her Spongebob shirt. She beamed, “yellow my favorite.” I found yellow paper and wrote “sun.” “Suhn,” she repeated. I smiled, “Good. Let’s look out the window. The sun is that bright circle up there.” Eventually, we carried on to Dr. Seuss and addition games until time concluded.

After several tutoring sessions, I would come to understand Monika’s distinct personality. One day, she found a praying mantis, picked it up fearlessly and threw it on her brothers, who shrieked at the top of their lungs while shooing it off and retreating home. This fearlessness perfectly displayed her natural confidence, which I observed every time she dug in the dirt or fought to play soccer with the boys. Monika is a world shaker. Being a refugee in the US with traditional family ideals, there are many pressures for Monika to fit the images of being American, Bhutanese, and a girl, but no expectations of conformity can contain her urge to be herself. This world-shaking quality made Monika stand out and makes me want to help children like her.

Upon our last session together, we concluded with a bittersweet “See you again!” But most importantly: “I love you!” For the first time, I found love and joy independent of my family and God. She helped to solidify my commitment to helping others learn and grow. I was overjoyed knowing that she was prepared to take on a world of hardship with new hope, and that I was along for the beginning of that journey.