The 30 entries have been pared down to 10 finalists, and each judge will now proceed with selecting their Top 3. Points will be awarded based on first-, second-, and third-place votes. The finalist with the most points will be our winner.
I have to say--and I'm likely repeating myself, but oh well--I truly wish we could give college scholarships to everyone who entered this contest. Reading through the 30 essays, I realized how much a sibling's addiction has affected every single one of these young people, and how courageous they are for 1.) sharing their stories, and 2.) carrying on with their lives and education despite some very tough circumstances. These kids are beyond special in so many ways.
Reading 30 essays about how a brother's or sister's addiction has impacted someone's life was not an easy task. Even though I've lived through my son's addiction, and watched the effect it had on his little brother, it was still difficult to read the experiences of 30 other people. All of the stories were different, but at the same time all of them were so similar, too. Such is the case with the beast known as addiction.
Tears were shed (thank God for Kleenex), hearts were broken, notes were taken, and prayers were said, but now we're down to our Top 10. Judging will conclude two weeks from today, on Friday, July 31st, and the winner of the $1,200.00 scholarship will be announced via this blog on Monday, August 3rd. Stay tuned.
Here's hoping I can come up with some funding so I can do this again next year.
"Writing and reading decrease our sense of isolation. They deepen and widen and expand our sense of life: they feed the soul. When writers make us shake our heads with the exactness of their prose and their truths, and even make us laugh about ourselves or life, our buoyancy is restored. We are given a shot at dancing with, or at least clapping along with, the absurdity of life, instead of being squashed by it over and over again. It's like singing on a boat during a terrible storm at sea. You can't stop the raging storm, but singing can change the hearts and spirits of the people who are together on that ship." --Anne Lamott, from her book Bird by Bird: Some Instructions on Writing and Life