2019 Entrepreneur Scholarship Winner
Name: Lauryn Johnson
College: Colgate University
We are thrilled to announce the recipient of the $2,500 Bonsai Finance 2019 Entrepreneur Scholarship, Lauryn Johnson.
From over 2,000 applicants, the scholarship committee was especially impressed with Lauryn’s original idea for a community service organization, as well as her outstanding contribution and effort in teaching classical art forms to school age children.
“On behalf of Bonsai Finance, I’d like to congratulate our winner and would like to thank everyone else working to give back to their communities through social entrepreneurship. Granting this award is a humbling experience as it gives me the opportunity to learn about so many people and their projects that are making an immense contribution. It was a difficult choice this year as there were so many inspiring candidates” said Britton Smith of Bonsai Finance.
You can read more about Lauryn in her inspiring essay below.
A little less than two years ago, I started an original community service project called “N2Classics”. My goal for the project was and still is to introduce local preschoolers and kindergarteners to the classical art forms. I began this project in the 10th grade, but the idea and inspiration came much earlier. When I was about seven or eight years old, I began taking ballet classes and quickly found my passion in the world of recitals and pointe shoes.
Since then, I have been a part of the pre-professional division at my local ballet school and company. In addition to ballet, I simultaneously developed an appreciation for classic literature, like Jane Eyre and The Catcher in the Rye, and music of both the classical and pop varieties.
As I grew to love these different hobbies and art forms, I started to realize a trend in our present society: many disregard the old in search of the newest and most popular. Frankly, I didn’t want this tendency in our trend-obsessed culture to negatively affect the art forms I loved.
Combining simple ballet positions, dynamic orchestral music, and children’s literature, I created an interactive and educational program for children to both learn about the classical art forms and what they represent. Within each 30 minute session, I have the opportunity to introduce young children to composers such as Stravinsky, authors such as Aesop, and dancers such as Pavlova all in an interactive and entertaining way!
Since starting this program in May of 2017, I have devoted nearly 50 hours pitching the program to school principals and daycare directors, preparing for each session, and teaching the eager preschoolers and kindergartners across Central Florida. Although I have experienced challenges in the form of rejection, scheduling miscommunications, and uncooperative children, I have learned that there is always a reason to try something new, especially if it can help others.
With this program, I hope to have communicated the message to at least one child that the classical art forms, although seemingly “ancient”, are still relevant to our culture and can still be enjoyed by both young and old. This message is my ultimate goal, but an even more gratifying reward of N2Classics is the beaming faces and loving hugs I receive at the end of each session. It is this joy and love that motivates me to keep sharing N2Classics and, most importantly, keep volunteering!