2019 Veterans Scholarship Winner
Name: Sofia Gibson
Major: To Be Declared
We are thrilled to announce the recipient of the $1,00 Bonsai Finance 2019 Entrepreneur Scholarship, Sofia Gibson.
From over 3,000 applicants, the scholarship committee was especially impressed with Sofia’s original essay and her ongoing search for excellence.
“On behalf of Bonsai Finance, I would like to congratulate our winner. Granting this award gives me the opportunity to recognize how difficult the moves can be for the family of a military as it requires constant adaptation efforts.” said Britton Smith of Bonsai Finance.
You can read more about Sofia in her inspiring essay below.
We are called “dandelions.” That is, military dependents are known as “dandelion kids” because like a dandelion with a head full of seeds, we scatter to the winds every time we move. Our mothers and fathers receive orders to serve our country in different places, and we follow them there, plant ourselves in those schools and communities, and grow into young adults. It’s challenging to move every few years. I’m a Senior in High School now, and I’ve lived in six different locations and attended nine different schools in those locations. I know what it means to sacrifice. I’ve sacrificed friends. I’ve sacrificed beloved piano teachers. I’ve sacrificed community involvement. I’ve sacrificed stability and comfort. But through those sacrifices, I’ve grown and matured and had amazing experiences that non-“dandelions” will never know.
In every new place that we move, I strive for excellence. I’ve always jumped in with both feet and made friends and maintained straight A’s throughout my school years. In 2014, my dad got orders to Muscat, Oman. I was nervous to move to a Middle Eastern country, but we decided as a family to all go together, and it was such an eye-opening experience to be the minority race and religion in that foreign country. It gave me a new appreciation for what the minority viewpoint is, and broadened my horizons in ways that I am still discovering. I am proud of myself for meeting that challenge head-on. I am also proud of my most recent move, prior to beginning my Junior year of high school. That happened in the summer of 2018, when my dad got orders to move to Virginia. His job in the Marine Corps took us to Virginia Beach, but we rented a house in the nearby town of Chesapeake. I enrolled in high school and again I felt those nervous butterflies that every “dandelion” military kid feels at their new school, but I decided that I wanted to be a Student Ambassador at my new school. The announcements revealed that those who wished to be Ambassadors would be selected by the teachers, who would vote for the candidates. This placed me at a distinct disadvantage, as none of the teachers knew me, but they knew many of the other candidates who had been going to school there for several years. So I decided that in the two weeks leading up to the election, that I would go around and introduce myself to as many teachers as I could find. I’d tell them who I was and why I thought I’d make a good Ambassador. And because of that plan, I won the second most votes of all the candidates and became a Student Ambassador!
Moving always poses challenges, but those challenges have made me stronger. And like the dandelion that I represent, every time the wind blows me around, I will plant my feet firmly in the ground and blossom into a flower.