2016 Building A Better World Winners

McKenna Whipple and Savana Cooper   

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Congratulations Ladies!  You each have won a $3000 award from Building A Better World Scholarship.  Please go here to learn more about the history of our Scholarship. 

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Useful Scholarship Sights

When jumping on the web and looking for scholarships, you need to be discerning.  There’s a lot of junk out there. Don’t waste your valuable time on junky sights like Fast Web.  Find scholarships that fit your skills specifically …

Below are links to web based college scholarship sites that have been found to be useful.  Remember, always Local first. After that, get to the  Oakridge High School College Advisors Office and check with the Institution that you plan on attending.  Make sure that you apply for every available scholarship through the University Financial Aid office of your collegiate institution once you have been accepted.  Call them, set up an appointment, and go.  Make sure that you take note of the deadlines.  Colleges offer wide array of scholarships and grants to incoming freshman.

Then try these websites as well…

Scholarships.com  A very good website, scholarships.com provides all sorts of goodies.  It has a deep scholarship bank organized by state, sex, diversity, career choice – all sorts of criteria. But maybe the best option this site offers is a great comparison of the colleges and universities themselves.  The College Search tab allows you to pull up various schools and compare them on all sorts of criteria from size and price, to incoming diversity and ACT scores.  Many of the schools also feature 6:00 videos created by YOUniversityTV.   The videos are cool and get around to places you don’t normally see.  Take a look – you’ll get a good look at the school.

Michigan Only Scholarships – from Scholarships.com breaks their offerings down by state.  The Michigan list is a good one.  I’d recommend that you investigate the sight.

Salliemae.com – This is an excellent national scholarship sight that uses your personal information to link you to scholarships around the nation.  Unlike Fastweb (which I don’t recommend)  most all of the scholarships at Sallie mae are reliable.  By creating a personal profile the sight increases your opportunity for scholarships that fit YOU.  Just go to the link – START HERE – and create a profile.

Davidson Institute for Talent Development This is a pretty eclectic site.  It will link you up with challenging scholarships, searching for young people who are truly trying to make a difference in the world.  You might find something unique to your talents here.

Scholarshiphelp.org – Seems to be a solid site at providing you advice in completing scholarship applications.  Their suggestions on essay writing and interviewing are useful.  They provide a list of links that take you to other websites that provide additional scholarship offerings. Scholarshiphelp.org is worth a good long look.

Whatever you do – make sure to check if you qualify for the  T.I.P. Scholarship.  


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Savana Cooper – 2016 BBW Scholarship Winner

Below are excerpts from Savana Cooper’s winning essay for the Global Awareness portion of the 2016 Building A Better World Scholarship.  You can fine 2016 BBW Winners.  

We tend to Isolate Ourselves – “We tend to isolate ourselves in our lives and in our responsibilities, but we forget that there is more. There are more beliefs, more people, and more experiences. These are all things that if we had the interest to seek to understand, it would make co-existing with other races and cultures more experiential and peaceful. Given this, it is indeed our responsibility to become educated on not only foreign cultures, but foreign issues. This is why it is so great that we have an exchange student program at our school, because we get to hear stories as well as personal experiences from students all around the world.”

American Model United Nations at MCC – “On a more personal level, I am currently in the Early College program and attending Muskegon Community College. I have to say that the most informational thing I have done regarding Global Awareness is  taking part in the American Model United Nations.  For those not familiar with the AMUN, colleges from around the United States choose a country to study all aspects of their economy and politics. Last year I studied food security and nutrition in Rwanda, and I learned so much about Sub-Saharan Africa along the way. During our conferences in Chicago, listening to other college students talk about the issues in their country they represent was very informative. It takes passion, and it takes an open mind to learn about other countries. This coming fall semester at Muskegon Community College, I plan on taking the course again to study a different country.”

American Sign Language –  “I have also been taking classes in American Sign Language. This is an interest that I picked up when I traveled to Washington DC last May with Oakridge Close Up. I have recently found a passion in sign language and the Deaf community. An interpreter for sign language tends to travel around the United States quite often. This career field would be quite different than what my original plans are of becoming a veterinarian, so I have not quite decided which one is the best option for me.”

Travel Abroad with WMU –  “In the spring of 2017 after I graduate from Muskegon Community College with my Associates in Art and Science, I plan to transfer to Western Michigan University. WMU has a great study abroad program, and has connections with a college in Berlin, Germany. I plan to apply for this program and I await the opportunities this will bring me.”



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McKenna Whipple – 2016 BBW Scholarship Winner

Below are excerpts from McKenna Whipple’s winning essay for the Independent Travel portion of the 2016 Building A Better World Scholarship. 2016 BBW Winners.  

McKenna’s journey will take she and her Aunt to the “Rift Children’s Village” in Tanzania in the summer of 2107. Please go here to watch the Sixty Minutes segment on the Village.  Please go here to find the website for the Village. 

Individual Travel is a Powerful Thing  – “Individual travel is such a powerful thing that causes a person to grow, but I think that this experience would provide even more than that for me.  I would be technically alone (unless another person from the area chose to volunteer with me) but would be with a group of people that I would stay with, connect with, grow with, and get close to.  It gives me an opportunity to reach out and affect people, but also be affected at the same time.  It gives me a chance to safely explore Africa and some of its culture.  I feel very confident in this program and that it would be life changing for me.  This is the next place that I want to go, and the next page that I want to read.”

My duties in the Village –  “ Volunteers stay in the village for 3-8 weeks at a time and help out as “moms” to the 94 children that live there.  I would be assigned to a household of 8-10 children with another volunteer and a Tanzanian “Momma” who stays there permanently to help.  I would be responsible to help wake the kids up, feed them breakfast, walk them to school, help teach class, play outside, and the many other tasks that a parent or teacher would do throughout the day. ..How amazing it would be to not only be opening myself up to this brand new culture, but also in turn helping other people learn as well..”

I have plans to become a Teacher  – “As of right now, I have plans to become a Teacher.  I have grown up with my mother, aunt, and uncle all being educators and have greatly admired them for it.  I was born with a passion for teaching that only flourished whenever I’ve had the chance to help student teach or tutor, and the thought of teaching in Africa is an opportunity to not pass up.  To have that experience under my belt .. I think that it will even provide me with further insight on the types of things I could do with teaching.”  

What if? –  “What if I eventually joined the Tanzanian Children’s Fund on staff someday?
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2017 Building A Better World Scholarship is open for business

Please go here to access the 2017 OEA / OPC Building A Better World Scholarship.

Three awards – $2000 each – two for scholarships for post high school education and one to travel the world.  Please go here to read about the history of our scholarship and to meet our past award winners.  The deadline for submission to the Building A Better World Scholarship is Monday May 15, 2017.

Submit your scholarship entry(s) to bwood@oakridgeschools.org by the noted due date.  

Good luck and thank you for inspiring us to help you to Build a Better World.



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