By Shelby Wohlschlaeger
On March 8th, 2017, I was sitting on the floor of my bedroom packing to go to Italy. Growing up in Parkway, I was blessed with a number of fantastic opportunities to travel, and I was leaving the next morning to fly with 39 other students and staff connected with Parkway Latin. My mom was on the phone with my dad, and he was on his way to volleyball with the local team of adults he plays with.
When I saw the little red “1” hovering over my email icon on my phone, I opened it as usual, knowing it was something from school. As soon as I started reading, I started screaming: “I GOT INTO VANDERBILT.” It was a blessing I was sitting down, because as my eyes finished skimming the email, I yelled, “THEY’RE GIVING ME A FULL TUITION SCHOLARSHIP,” at which point my parents joined in on the yelling. The email I received was from the Dean of Admissions and Financial Aid at Vanderbilt. He was writing to inform me that I was a recipient of the Dean’s Achievement Scholarship.
Now all of this, as exciting as it was, may seem a little irrelevant to Spark! However, as I continued reading, I realized that this scholarship was coming directly from the Peabody College of Education and Human Development. Vanderbilt’s Peabody College is a school solely dedicated to people who want to work with people for a career. When I applied to Peabody, I knew that Spark! Teaching and Learning certainly looked good on my resume, as I was applying as a prospective elementary education major.
Sitting here over two weeks removed from the situation, I think my euphoria has finally cleared enough to think about it. I have no doubt in my mind that Spark! played a significant contributing role to my acceptance and scholarship to Vanderbilt. Above anything else, I am going to college knowing I will be light years beyond my fellow elementary education majors. As I am staring my last few weeks as a high schooler straight in the face, I’m beginning to realize there is so much more out there for me. The world is a big place, and I actually feel prepared to face it. The Parkway Spark! program does so much more than allow students to leave school early, which is sometimes all my peers think it is. It prepares students for life in college and life in the real world. It is an experience that is absolutely priceless, and I am so lucky to have been a part of it.