Michelson Round 2

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Entry #6

I didn’t understand the motto “scholarship for service” at first. I knew the literal meaning– CSF gave scholarships for service– but I didn’t grasp the two other much more important meanings behind it. Until I started doing the service activities.

Scholarship for service means that we, as “scholars”, are here to serve, to do good for the community, and try to make the world a better place. We’re reminded that there are problems and people that often go overlooked, and hopefully, we remember them, no matter where we go or what we do in life. Our CSF chapter’s main service is for the special education department of our school. The most tangible work we do for them is raise money for the seniors to go to prom or Grad Night, and it’s important, beautiful work; it’s work centered on giving the students memories. But it’s also impersonal. CSF members raise this money by selling cookies, and while it’s effective, it never really connects. When I started in CSF, I sold the cookies because that’s what we supposed to do for service hours. I wasn’t doing it for the right reasons.

The right reasons came when I went to the first homeroom session with the special education class sometime sophomore year. I signed up since I didn’t sell any cookies, and I needed the hours. I wasn’t sure exactly what to expect. We were going to help the class, but that was such a vague descriptor that meant nothing to me; the service itself meant nothing to me.

And then I helped the class.

That’s the wrong phrase to use. I didn’t help out the special education class, nothing so large. I helped a student. I helped a person. It was something so simple, so little; I would point to a word on a paper, and they would read it aloud then spell it. After a few assignments, we were given free time to play whatever the student wanted. I can’t even be sure if what I did that day helped. But that day, I put a face to what our club did. That day, I started to understand service. The tutoring was once a week, and I do my best to go to every one.

I’ve done a lot of different service activities since then, but special education tutoring is my favorite service because it’s clear what I’m doing: I’m helping someone. And the service has a face. Eldah, who’s a year behind me, likes to play soccer and was sick on her birthday,and can absolutely kill me at Wii Sports. Sam is fantastic at reading and drew a picture of me for free time instead of playing a game. The tutoring may be a small activity, but some of the most valuable service activities are the small ones.

Scholarship for service isn’t just about giving money to students for their hours. It’s about ideas so much larger than that. CSF is made up of the brightest students, who arguably have some of the greatest potential, but oftentimes, that potential goes unused or worse, undirected. Andrew Carnegie believed in something he called the “Gospel of Wealth.” It was the idea that the wealthiest of society weren’t supposed to simply “lock up” their money only for their heirs to inherit and use; instead, they were meant to use it for the benefit of the public. Similarly, it is not enough for scholars to simply be intelligent or knowledge. The brightest have a duty of their own to society.

Bertrand Russell– the philosopher, mathematician, and one of those brightest– wrote in his autobiography that “three passions, simple but overwhelmingly strong, have governed my life: the longing for love, the search for knowledge, and unbearable pity for the suffering of mankind.” We all seek love, and as scholars, we all value knowledge. Service, then, is about the last passion, the harshest passion, the passion that cuts deep at us and cannot be alleviated. The more we know, the more we realize the depth of the problems of the world, and so we serve, even if we cannot fix those problems.

And there is the other side of scholarship for service: in serving, we learn lessons that cannot be taught, but the lessons aren’t always the kindest. Our CSF chapter also had a Relay for Life team this year, which I participated in. Relay for Life is fantastic and fun and meaningful; it’s a celebration of life and survival and perseverance. It was amazing to see all the survivors and victories over cancer, and the luminary bags at night were absolutely beautiful. But there’s this reminder of those who didn’t survive, who lost the fight even when they fought until the end, raging against the dying light. It’s more than a reminder of mortality; it’s a reminder of struggle and loss. Not every battle will be won, and so we have to learn to celebrate the ones we do. Even if suffering cannot be stopped, it can be fought, and that has to be enough. When we serve, we have to celebrate every little victory, every word we can teach, every meal we can serve, every cent we can raise for a cause.

The CSF motto is only three words, but it’s three words that speak volumes about the world and what we stand for. I don’t know what the future holds for me, but CSF has made scholarship for service my own motto for years to come. I’m currently president of my school’s CSF chapter, and I’m trying hard to get other students involved with special ed tutoring and service activities. For a lot of them, it’s just a means to an end, but that’s how I started too. My hope is that they learn how connected scholarship and service really are and carry it with them beyond high school. Not all of them will. I’ll celebrate the little victories, though; a few good scholars serving the community can do wonders.

Entry #8

“If you want a job done well, call upon those who are the best and the brightest.” I have heard this often-quoted comment on many an occasion, and it was not until I had the privilege of being a member of CSF that I realized I was a part of that select group of individuals. As an incoming high school freshman, I soon learned about CSF and how well respected a club it was at my school based upon the students who were members and the activities in which they sponsored and participated. Although I am a highly ambitious student, the opportunity to be eligible for membership in CSF was an additional impetus to excel. Upon becoming a member in my sophomore year, I relished the opportunity to participate in a myriad of community service activities and realized that I did have a passion not just for helping others, but also for influencing others to help others. Thus, I feel that my involvement in CSF has been my springboard to distinguish myself as a both a student leader and spokesperson, inspiring my peers and community to act altruistically.

During my first two years as a CSF member, I established myself as a reliable volunteer, immersing myself in a myriad of sponsored events.  Whether it was playing Apples to Apples with the residents at the local assisted-living facility or painting rainbows on the apple-cheeked toddlers at a YMCA event, I was an eager participant. I felt such satisfaction and warmth from brightening the days of others and this fulfillment stayed with me, making me appreciate the positive components in my life that I previously had taken for granted such as good health and a loving, secure family unit that supported and reinforced my scholastic achievements. However, a catastrophic event that impacted both the East Coast as well as my household was the catalyst for me to take a giant step to establishing myself as an ambassador of community action. Hurricane Sandy devastated parts of the Jersey Shore where my father was born and raised and I will never forget the look on his face as he watched the television images of devastation, and recognized them as familiar landmarks. Observing the aftermath of Sandy inspired me to be proactive and sparked my creation of “One Shore Helping Another,” a school and community-wide project that ultimately shipped forty boxes of clothing, blankets, food, books and provisions to residents of Long Branch, New Jersey. Since I had a reputation in my community for being an enthusiastic, dedicated volunteer within my CSF service activities, I received an outpouring of support for my cause from both my teachers and local community leaders as well as from the Mayor and residents of Long Branch.

As a result of my contributions to CSF on campus and in my community, I was nominated and elected by my peers to be Treasurer, a position I currently am proud to hold. Aside from managing our chapter’s finances I also spearhead fundraising and coordinate our volunteers at holiday street fairs, races, art festivals and Senior centers. I am a role model to the CSF underclassmen by demonstrating the ability to balance my academic priorities with my service commitments through efficient time management and my ability to delegate our chapter’s responsibilities in an organized fashion. As one of the leaders of our chapter, I realize my actions shape the public’s perceptions and opinions of our organization. I feel I have left an indelibly positive impression on those community leaders who call upon CSF to volunteer, because they are assured helpers who put forth sound judgment, positivity and a willingness to do whatever is required.

Fortunately, my perseverance to excel academically, combined with my commitment to executing the mission of CSF has culminated in my being selected to represent the organization in the inaugural launching of the Digital Intern Program. My proficiency in creating multimedia presentations has developed into a passion that I intend to explore in college. Therefore, to be rewarded with the opportunity of being one of only ten interns to participate in this program has enhanced my desire to delve into this burgeoning industry. This internship has been an ongoing process where I and two other teammates interface in frequently scheduled videoconferences, determine our respective individual tasks and then reconvene to collaborate on our ideas.  Our role has been to design new merchandise for the CSF store, including apparel and a special “Senior package” that allows graduating high school students to wear the CSF logo with pride. Presently, we are developing a marketing plan to promote and sell our new line of merchandise, and we hope to launch our designs sometime next school year.  I have enjoyed working closely in a small group setting with teammates who are as motivated and task-oriented as myself, contributing equally towards producing a successful outcome.

My experience as a digital intern has augmented my competence in the application of digital media that I plan on further mastering as I pursue my higher education and career in this field. Most importantly, my involvement in this program is my opportunity to pay forward my appreciation for being a CSF member since I am creating a product and promotional campaign that will enhance the branding and image of CSF for fellow and future scholars.  Ultimately, when I have the distinction of wearing my gold sash at graduation, it will be with humble pride and satisfaction that my service as a member, officer and intern has positively impacted both my high school chapter as well as the Federation at large.

Entry #15

In the past when I have seen CSF members graduate with their gold tassels and stoles, I have been proud of them and imagined wearing gold myself at my own graduation. I have come to realize though that the wearing of the gold needs to be earned and is not necessarily given just because we pay our membership dues.

Our school CSF members are required to tutor fellow students at our high school and we offer assistance to those struggling academically. When I first started as a tutor, I was a little nervous because I didn’t feel that peer tutoring would really benefit someone and I worried that, although I love math and science, I might not really be able to assist another student. I wondered if would I know enough to really help them.

I began my first tutoring afternoon with a younger student who was struggling in Algebra and realized quickly that I could be of assistance. He merely needed to take his time and have a bit more of an explanation. I was excited to see that he was picking it up quickly, which encouraged me to continue. As he left that afternoon with his work completed, his sense of relief calmed any insecure thoughts that I had about my own ability. I realized that I did actually help him and enjoyed being able to do so.

This experience made me realize that when I am taking a class and feeling that I am not understanding the material and that others may be ahead of me in comprehension, that we really are all in basically the same boat. We are learning together and bits of knowledge are seeping in. The boy that I tutored that first day kept returning to tutoring and ended up getting a good grade in the class that he struggled in. I benefited, as well, because I felt more confident in my understanding of math and realized that I can accomplish my own dreams.

I really enjoy science, especially Chemistry and am currently taking AP Chemistry and AP Calculus. My knowledge is growing and I will use these skills to major in Chemistry and become a Chemical Engineer. It inspires me to know that I can help my fellow schoolmates develop their talents as well. Learning to value myself, and the knowledge that I have and can impart to others, is what has really inspired me to continue to tutor for CSF. Helping others is extremely satisfying and I can only do that if I study hard and do my work too. I hope to be a role model at my school and provide an example by my athletics, club involvement and leadership roles.

Along with being a varsity athlete in volleyball, basketball and track, I am currently the Student Body Vice-President and Friday Night Live President and Block L Athletics Secretary. Through these offices, we have been able to provide the community with volunteer service work, such as free healthy activities for students, drug and alcohol avoidance and information, donations and distributions to the local food bank, and many other services including support to families who are struggling to make ends meet.

Having served over three hundred hours of community service, I have come to develop a feeling of commitment to my community and to the students at our school. When we are elected to an office, I feel a great responsibility comes with it and we must prove that we deserve it. Throughout the rest of my senior year, I am going to be dedicated to keeping myself motivated to help others and to hopefully inspire them to do their very best to achieve their goals too.

Having motivation from within is something that is learned and a difficult skill to hone, but I hope to show others that it really pays off in life. If we work together and try to help one another, it is not insurmountable, but achievable. I will continue to work for my school and community and hope to lead by example to encourage others to do the same. Upon graduation this June, I plan to wear the gold tassel and stole with pride and feel that I have earned it. As a lifetime member of CSF, I will also strive to carry the same traits to my college campus and will continue to do community service there.

Entry #20

I have not always been what one would consider a Service Leader or a philanthropist in any way, shape or form. High School for me has been an Olympic-level calendar endeavor of class work, homework, Year Book projects, Tennis Practice, work and social life.  I attacked them with a ferocious robotic mindless urgency.  Prior to joining CSF my Junior Year, I never gave much thought to how my service could change others’ lives and if in fact I even cared about helping others.  Then one day it happened.  Through CSF, the intersection of scholarship and service in my life began.

One of my first experiences with CSF was the involvement in a canned food drive in 2012.  At the time, I did not really pay much attention to the intrinsic value of the project, I just went around collecting cans like I was instructed and turned them in at school at the designated spot.  Shortly thereafter, something happened that changed me forever.  I saw the pictures of the families who received the food at the Coachella Valley Rescue Mission and my heart was filled with pride!  I felt an emotional connection to the families we helped and to the project members I worked with.  What started as just another a time-consuming task turned into a life changing experience where service and scholarship would come full circle.  Because of this one simple CSF project, the burden of poverty and hunger was lifted for some, even if just for a day.  It was a gift just to be involved.  As a result, slowly I began thinking about and exploring other service projects.

I began thinking about the basic need of food.  How one can or one serving could change someone’s life and I ventured out on a project outside of CSF on my own.  I decided to keep it simple.  It all began as I was talking at lunch one day with some friends after a CSF meeting in January of 2013.  I decided to run it independently because the logistics of it worked out better.  I arranged for a group of friends to go to Loma Linda and participate in the Cooks for Kids Program.  I texted my friends and asked them all to bring something small like a bag of spaghetti, a head of lettuce, sauce, etc.  I then worked out with a friend to have a couple of parents drive us and all the food out to Loma Linda to cook for families who are staying at the Ronald McDonald House because they have very ill children.  The evening was a whirlwind blur of hard work, burnt fingers, and spilled sauce.  The defining moment of the evening happened when I looked over at a family that was sitting around a table eating our “not so beautifully prepared spaghetti.”  They were smiling and laughing.  They were able in that moment to escape sickness, sadness, and the hospital.  They later came over to thank our group but what resonates with me is that picture of that family sitting around that table.

Although I have not masterminded a cue to save the planet from hunger or achieved world peace, I have contributed and benefited from simple service projects within our CSF club.   Serving as the Treasurer has allowed me to think about and explore the financial logistics of what it takes to accomplish a project.  Through my involvement in the California Scholarship Federation over the past two years I have learned the true value of scholarship and service. I have learned that the value of service begins from within and can spread like wild fire. I have also learned the feeling of pride that comes with providing service. I hope to leave behind a legacy of service-minded students within my club.  It would be an honor to be awarded the Glenn Michelson Memorial Award.

Entry #26

Many of us are hard headed believing that we are strong enough to do everything and anything we set our minds to and that we can do it by ourselves. When in reality that’s not the case, often times we need someone to pick up the slack we may unintentionally leave behind. Often we don’t like to admit that we need help but CSF taught me that it’s all right to need help. CSF also taught me that if we expect people to assist us, we should be ready to help others at all times.

Being the oldest of six kids in a middle class family with one income and my mother going to school I knew I was going to need help funding my college dreams. When I was in middle school and heard about CJSF I knew that I needed to be a part of that club. Since then I have been in CJSF/CSF for six years. The CSF Motto is “Scholarship for Service” and I have exemplified this motto from middle school to now and I plan to continue serving my community for years to come. I learned to serve my community in CJSF and I continued to serve my community on my own. Recently I have served the Frontier Elementary School with Frontier Days, Mrs. Hill and her drama class, the Hanford Stake Youth Conference and Girl’s Camp, the Bishop’s Store House, the Carnegie Museum, and the Kings Art Center.  “Scholarship for Service” means we give back to others not in hopes of getting something in return but that we serve our community because we want to encourage others to give back. Scholarships are just another way to give back to communities and CSF wants to make sure that we do our part and give back before we receive scholarships.

CSF taught me hard work and big heart is what we need to give to our communities. I have given my time and love to lots of organizations and given help to numerous people but now I need help financially getting to where I want to be in life.

Entry #36

Service. Scholarship. Leadership. These were the first words I learned through the California Scholarship Federation in my freshman year. Unaware of how the next four years of active membership in CSF would change my life, I timidly submitted my application and continued to ponder upon the aforementioned words. From freshman representative to CSF president, I was gratefully given opportunities to learn the true meanings of service, scholarship, and leadership, and use this knowledge to improve both my school and community. It was a labor of love.

My first major involvement in CSF began with my decision to run for freshman representative. As the freshman representative, I was responsible for communicating information to freshmen in CSF and ensuring participation amongst them. In addition, I was expected to exemplify high standards of scholarship by maintaining good grades and serving as a role model for my fellow peers. This motivated me to strive for academic excellence and challenge myself to my fullest potential throughout high school. For my first CSF service project, I volunteered at the local food drive called H.O.P.E. Along with fellow CSF members, I helped distribute canned food and frozen food to underprivileged families in the local area. As I observed all these families smiling and expressing gratitude at every little thing, I came to understand that service is an intangible commodity that brings the community together. Here, it didn’t matter what background you came from – everyone was simply a human being who shared common beliefs that resonated with the desire for social harmony in our world. Moreover, when I attended the 2011 Seymour Memorial Conference, I realized that dedication was instrumental in CSF. These initial experiences really opened my eyes to the endless possibilities of making service and scholarship prevalent in our communities.

In the fall of my junior year, I wanted to take my level of involvement in CSF to a whole new level. With these new interpretations of service and scholarship, I aspired to have the honor of serving as the CSF president at school. Once I was elected to this position, I endeavored to teach my fellow peers what CSF had taught me about service and scholarship throughout the past few years. I organized peer tutoring for the entire student body and several fundraisers that were directed toward senior scholarships and local charities. On the first week of March, I organized our annual CSF Read Across America in order to commemorate Dr. Seuss’s service to society. Flyers were sent out to the local elementary schools, inviting young children to attend this entertaining yet educational event. It was truly an amazing experience, as I was able to directly interact with the next generation of our time. Today, I have the honor of serving a second term as CSF president and being a part of the first group of digital interns for CSF.

While serving as CSF president throughout my junior and senior years, I continuously aspired to discover ways to give back what I learned and spread the CSF values and principles. The current economic recession has made service more important than ever. It is during these times when service can rejuvenate us, heal us, and bring us hope. I believe service is what defines the purpose for every human being and contributes to the continued effort at social harmony in our world. After observing my sister establish and lead a community service club at school, I became exposed to the practicality of service and how one person can truly make a difference in the lives of others around the world. With a new definition of service in mind, I realized what my passions were and decided to lead Inspire club at school. Adhering to the club’s established vision, I strove to get members from all over the community involved in our community service projects.

Throughout these past three years, Inspire has volunteered at various non-profit organizations and hosted fundraisers to raise money for charity. As our first major service project, we decided to donate money to the Elsinore Valley Pregnancy Resource Center. Knowing that there are many families out there who are unable to purchase diapers, clothing, and food for their newborn children, we determined that this organization was a good place to start. When we were given a tour of the office, I realized that service was more than just donating money – it was about sharing the inherent love in all humans. These initial experiences inspired me to think bigger and collaborate on international projects with my fellow club members.

Our next international service project is called “Animals for Africa,” in which we purchase animals through World Vision and send them off to Africa. Countless times in my childhood, I saw films of children in Africa who were deprived of basic necessities that were so accessible to us. Instead of donating money, donating animals would serve as a more valuable asset to the people who put more value on food than on money. As more than 200 million people are starving in Africa, I was impassioned to make a difference in the lives of the families so far yet very near. Oxen and horses can provide an abundant supply of transportation and be used for plowing and harvesting labor-intensive crops, which would help grow much needed vegetables and crops. On the other hand, chickens and cows can provide a balanced diet for the local population by producing eggs and milk, respectively. As our fundraising goal is almost fulfilled, I have become more zealous than ever because I know that this project will benefit families in the coming months. Inspire will continue to live up to its established vision and instill a belief around the world that service can help us cope with inevitable hardships and make a difference to those who are underprivileged, deprived of basic necessities. CSF has allowed me to value service this way and inspired me to continue to pay it forward within my community.

Entry #40

I have been a member of CJSF/CSF since seventh grade. I come from a family that is committed to service, and I can’t remember a time when I wasn’t volunteering. I grew up participating in the annual Race for the Cure sponsored by the Juvenile Diabetes Research Foundation (JDRF) in support of my two cousins, each of whom have type 1 diabetes. I was also a Cub Scout, and service was an important component of that program, as well. I spent Saturdays delivering meals to senior citizens with my Pack through Meals on Wheels and preparing food for the working poor at Loaves and Fishes. These early experiences introduced me to a larger community and taught me the value of service from a young age.

It wasn’t until joining CJSF in middle school, however, that I began to connect the idea of service with scholarship. Through my work with CJSF, I discovered that as I became involved in philanthropy that I was passionate about, my grades rose. I soon realized that being responsible for organizing a toy drive with Toys for Tots or a book drive for our sister school made me a more responsible student. I was naturally conscientious about assignments, but having the time commitment and structure that CJSF provided prevented me from procrastinating. For me, this positive feedback of accountability built on itself, where I felt good about helping others, so I worked harder in school, my grades rose, my self esteem increased, and I was in a position to give back even more. I enjoyed having something to look forward to outside of school, and helping others made me feel good, which in turn, made me a better student.

CSF played a critical role for me during high school. When I was fourteen, I suddenly lost my uncle. He was killed by a drunk driver the summer before my freshman year. My uncle and I were very close, probably because he lived with us while I was growing up. He was 6’4” and an amateur body builder—being around him was like having my own personal superhero. I idolized him. As I matured, I grew to admire him for qualities beyond his physicality as I watched him develop his real estate appraisal business and achieve independence.

I was devastated by my loss. Prior to the accident, I had challenged myself academically by enrolling in the only advanced course offered to ninth graders in my high school: accelerated biology. As school began, none of it seemed to matter. I was on autopilot. While my friends chatted about classes and standardized test preparations, I was deciding whether to prepare a victim’s impact statement for court proceedings. I was out of sync, angry and unmotivated. Mostly, I just missed my uncle.

Meanwhile, my grades were slipping, and I was especially frustrated with biology. I felt like I was in over my head, but I was determined to see it through. I knew I had to keep moving forward in order to be successful in high school, but I was stuck. Because I was held accountable to the requirements of maintaining membership in CSF, I stayed connected to both my school and serving others. With the values I learned through CSF, I knew that if I could turn my grief into something positive, academic improvements would likely follow.

Had I not been involved with CSF, I don’t think I would have had the insight that led me to volunteer for Habitat for Humanity. Even though HAB is not a direct partner organization with CSF through my high school, I began volunteering there because rehabilitating houses reminded me of the foreclosure appraisals on which I’d accompanied my uncle. On my first day at the job site, when we broke for lunch, our site supervisor asked all of us to introduce ourselves and explain why we chose to volunteer. The older man sitting next to me explained that he’d lost his home in the Oakland fires and had experienced a period of homelessness as a result. He said that people helped him when he needed a hand up, and rebuilding homes for others is his way of giving back. In that moment, I realized that everyone has their own story; if he was here, I had no reason not to be. I volunteered full Saturdays at Habitat for Humanity throughout high school, accruing hundreds of hours. Soon, I was bringing friends with me, and they also continue to volunteer. One of them started a HAB club at our high school, and word spread. When one of our family vehicles no longer passed smog certification, I rallied my parents into donating it. I’m especially proud that the three thousand dollars I raised stayed in the local community and was used to procure building materials for a condominium project on which I worked in Antioch, CA.

The physical exertion of painting ceilings, laying floors and installing irrigation was therapeutic. I enjoyed the visible, measurable progress of my efforts. I worked with Peace Corps returnees, suburban moms and gang members required to complete court mandated community service hours. I came to value the relationships I built alongside the physical structures. Our mutual accomplishments slowly restored my spirit. My grades improved, and I survived biology. I still miss my uncle, but he’d be proud to know that I’m graduating with honors in June and am headed to college to study architectural engineering (where I will continue to build things).

I don’t think any of this would have been possible were it not for my involvement with CSF.  The service and scholarship components that CSF requires of its members gave me the path I needed at a time in my life when I was at a crossroads. I could have stayed angry and unmotivated, but CSF provided the opportunity I needed to reevaluate the direction in which I was headed, and for that, I’m grateful.

Entry #46

The Value of Accomplishments in Academics and Service

My first interaction with a community service related event was in the Boy Scouts of America. Every year Corcoran’s Boy Scout Pack would organize a canned food drive. I was always amazed at the smiles that people gave me, not when receiving the food, but when donating it. It was truly something special to see so many people willing and eager to donate to the community. Commonly, the people that were the most willing to donate were in fact the poorest.  As a result of this event, I gained a sense of respect and enjoyment for community related functions and a desire to involve myself further.

Along with my interest in community service, I realize that I always have to maintain high standards in academics. My grandfather passed down a lesson to my father and by extension to myself in a short, yet important quote that went something like, “It does not matter what you do in life, as long as you are the best at it.” My dad has always said that I should think of my schoolwork as my de facto job, so the rule applies here as well. Following this rule is what drove me to do my best in schooling. While I have always enjoyed the learning that comes with academics, I have most enjoyed the accomplishments of academics.

As a result, when it came to extracurricular activities, I knew that I would have to choose a club with the perfect combination of volunteerism and academic focus. Never, have I come across an organization that combines my love for academics and service like California Scholarship Federation does. CSF allows me to participate in life changing service events and at the same time motivates me to excel in my studies. Subsequently, CSF makes it clear to all members that neither service nor academics can be weighed greater than the other. In CSF, the two work in unison.

Because of CSF, I have been able to organize a circle of friends that are just as interested in scholarship and service as I am. Corcoran High School’s academic and service devoted students have been able to band together in a sort of core team for CSF. California Scholarship Federation has a profound effect on Corcoran High School as well as the entire town of Corcoran.  We have formed a friendship that has helped us all in academics and volunteer work.

This last year, we were able to conduct an Angel Tree Program, in which we provided 68 Corcoran children with gifts on Christmas. We also organized a team of CSF workers to remove barricades at the end of our town’s Christmas parade. I was the coordinator of this project because of my close, personal relationship with the Corcoran Christmas celebration. I have been involved for the last 8 years in the Corcoran Christmas Tree Committee. The main goal of the committee is annually erecting a 65 foot Christmas tree in the center of our town which serves as the tree for the less fortunate people of Corcoran. In addition to this, the committee provides an interview with Santa for all children of Corcoran. It will be my recommendation to next year’s CSF President that CSF begin volunteering as a group to help the Christmas Tree Committee as I have.

While CSF works to combine a perfect force of volunteering and learning, it is also capable of forming a center base for all clubs to come together. During the aforementioned Corcoran CSF Angel Tree Program, CSF was able to involve all other clubs on Corcoran High School’s campus in gift delivery. It is through CSF that we are able to promote service, through whatever facet of service a contributor is able to donate time. Promoting service is important in the world, because as much as we individuals try to do on our own, the power of the many outweighs the power of the few.

I learned at an early age that we should always do our best and help other people. When we do this, we feel a sense of community and accomplishment. CSF combines the necessities of service and scholarship by bringing together students who share this common goal. In my mind, the values of scholarship and service are the accomplishments that come from those experiences.

Entry #52

Throughout my experience at Enterprise High School, a passion for actively improving the community has been motivated by my participation in the California Scholarship Federation Club. Not only has this organization motivated a desire to succeed academically, but it has provoked a desire to utilize this drive to benefit the greater cause of helping others. As the current president of this club, I have directly promoted the continuation of this service for current and potential members.

The single requirement of academic excellence was an aspect of CSF that appealed to my innate drive. I have always demonstrated a conscious determination to learn and challenge myself in multiple aspects of my life. Over the course of four years, I have taken numerous advanced placement courses, as well as have been involved in other leadership and community service-based clubs. Apart from common extra-curricular activities, CSF provides a sense of leadership and accountability beyond those that allow members to freely join under no restrictions. One can also possess commendable grades and be considered a member of CSF, but the consideration of oneself as an “active” member speaks to a certain desire to contribute to the community. I have found the idea of simply being a part of a prestigious club secondary to the sense of pride associated with a voluntary commitment.

Within the club, the aspect of voluntary work has benefited a sense of leadership and self-motivation. As president, I strive to lead by example, thus encouraging others to participate wholeheartedly in the work of the club as well. So far this year, our club has accomplished somewhat simple tasks at the hope of producing a larger impact. This has ranged from baking cookies for war veterans, to wrapping presents for proceeds to benefit the mentally handicapped youth of the community. Although seemingly small acts of service, the consideration that these actions produced a positive difference in someone’s life is entirely rewarding. As a characteristic of the California Scholarship Federation, service has become a defining aspect of my leadership role.

Through my participation in this organization, I believe I have become a well-rounded individual. Being a member these past three years has taught me the value of service above myself, and has helped shape my future career goals. Even further, the opportunity to lead this club as president this year has directly exposed me to leadership characteristics entailed to my specific talent in the academic realm, and passion for community service.  I now understand that this commitment will suit a career in which intellectual skill will benefit others. With this in mind, I am considering entering a medical profession, a career field in which time, dedication, and service are highly regarded. With all future endeavors to come, I will hold onto the values that are sacred to the California Scholarship Federation and will take pride in being a lifetime CSF member.

Entry #70

I have been a member of the California Scholarship Federation since ninth grade. As a senior class member of the CSF chapter at Mater Dei High School, I have blossomed into an active participant in the classroom and while serving others. This transition could not have been possible without my dedication to CSF and the values of the organization. My involvement in CSF confirmed my beliefs that hard work brings results. Participation in CSF has instilled a great deal of personal strength in me through both scholarship and service.

The most important value of scholarship is that, when fully realized, scholarship becomes a part of you. It becomes an inherent characteristic and transcends further than just the classroom. Scholarship holds so much more value than simply learning to pass a class and earn required grades. It means that one excels in effort and responsibility and will go the extra mile whenever necessary. Thanks to CSF, I clearly understand why I try so hard in school. More importantly, I understand that there are so many benefits to putting in extra effort. Consistently working to the best of one’s ability will surely yield success.

Service is an important component to any education. Helping another person often reaps many personal rewards. In my own service opportunities, I feel as if my smile is larger and brighter when I realize the impact I have on others. To date, I have earned over 250 service hours through high school. I have tried to be as active as I can in a variety of environments. I have been involved in helping others, ranging from the very young to the elderly. I have used my many talents, such as my basketball and leadership skills through programs at St. Bonaventure Church.

My favorite service projects are those where I have directly interacted with people in need. For example, CSF involvement has encouraged me to increase my level of involvement with the Give Blood Play Hockey organization. Allow me to share with you my most memorable service contribution this year.

‘You are a true inspiration’. Was she really talking to me? When Madison said these words, I don’t think she realized the impact they had on me. Nor did I realize the impact I had made by doing something as simple as donating my hair.

Last year, I became involved in the Give Blood, Play Hockey Charity Tournament in Irvine, CA.  The tournament serves to raise funds and blood for CHOC. I became involved due to my passion for hockey and because the tournament was founded by a former student from my high school. Once I volunteered, I found a passion to help those who suffer from cancer and knew I wanted my involvement to grow. 2013 was going to be my year to get more involved.

This year I served as a Student Chair. Not only did I solicit donations for months before the tournament, I was also responsible for coordinating student volunteers. Along with these responsibilities, I committed to participating in the ‘No Hair, Don’t Care’ campaign. Partnering with Locks of Love, participants donated their hair. We recruited 15 donors, including myself. This decision, however, did not come very easy for me. I had been growing my hair for over five years and it was something that I held precious. All of my friends have long hair and this would force me to be different, look different. I told myself I could do it. If others lose their hair to cancer, this is the least I could do for them.

The tournament was held the weekend of November 3rd. The event took to social media and included pictures of my experience. To my surprise, I received an unbelievable amount of support from my friends. Even casual acquaintances commented on my new look.

The event was very successful, raising more money and collecting more blood than ever before. But it didn’t stop there. The following week, Madison, a casual acquaintance, approached me at school. She caught me off-guard as she said, “Heather, I saw your pictures and donated my hair because of you. You are a true inspiration”. Her comments made me realize that my contribution had a profound impact on myself and many others. From this experience I learned that my impact was larger than I ever dreamed it could be. It encouraged me to strive to be more involved, and that this effort will pay off.

For me, service has become something I enjoy rather than something that is required. I intend to continue my service activities throughout my college career. Being awarded the Michelson Award would allow me to pursue a career in Criminal Justice, for which service and scholarship are critical.

Entry #71

The California Scholarship Federation provides me with direction, focus, and structure to shape my character. I am a Life Member of CSF and have 5 semesters completed involved with this club. I also had the honor to be the elected Treasurer this year. I am proud to represent the moral values of integrity and commitment that CSF upholds.

It is highly selective to belong to CSF. I am motivated to consistently maintain good grades in order to be part of the club. I am eager to say I have earned A’s in all of my courses, allowing me to have a 4.32 GPA. I am currently taking four AP courses added to the five I have taken in past years, for a total of 9 AP courses taken,  qualifying me for the AP Scholar with Distinction award. Not only do I do well in my classes to have good grades, but intrinsically woven into my character is a true love for learning.

In CSF I am surrounded by talented individuals with not only 3.5 and above GPA’s, but also with great character. It is exciting to see students that are not only academically intelligent, but also emotionally intelligent. Young people in CSF genuinely care about the well-being of others. I am surrounded by scholars and, since they voted me to be an officer, I am seen as a leader among them. I try to lead by example and fuel intellectual curiosity amongst my group. CSF students possess an intellectual vivacity and have minds filled with creative ideas. Usually the ideas are ways to improve our support between one another and thoughts on what to do for upcoming service projects.

One of my favorite events through CSF is volunteering at the Poverello House. Recently we wrapped Christmas gifts for children living in poverty. It is nice to think that on Christmas, children who would not normally receive gifts…now will receive them. It was heartwarming to wrap barbies, toy cars, teddy bears, and games in colorfully festive wrapping paper. In all honesty, it was my first time actually completely wrapping a gift by myself! Usually my parents wrap the gifts and I receive them, but there was a greater feeling of accomplishment to wrap gifts for someone else.

Our CSF group not only cares about other people, but also about the environment. We regularly schedule and actively participate in campus beautification projects. We promote recycling and we keep our school clean.

CSF has inspired me to extend my compassion in volunteering even beyond CSF projects. I have volunteered decorating the Pasadena Rose Bowl floats, setting up the “Light the Night: Taking Steps to Cure Cancer” event, planning the Class of 2013’s Sober Graduation, translating to Spanish-speaking parents at Olmos Elementary, and performing skits to elementary schools to promote bullying prevention. My greatest commitment to service has been dedicating an entire summer, around 200 hours, to volunteering at Community Regional Medical Center.

CSF has not only strengthened my scholarship and service, but scholarship for service. The more educated I become, the more I will use that knowledge (scholarship) to be able to help others (service). Being blessed with health and intelligence, it is my responsibility to help those less fortunate. CSF has supported me in my aspiration to become a doctor and to one day meet the medical necessities of underrepresented groups. Through CSF, I have become more involved in my community and open-minded to the needs of underserved groups. I love to serve others because it humbles me and teaches me to see new perspectives. I enjoy hearing others life experiences and stories. The more I see and hear of the circumstances others live under, the more grateful I am for what I have. Volunteering and interacting with my CSF peers has fueled my passion to maintain an outstanding academic standing, meanwhile compassionately serving others.

Entry #72

To be honest, like many other incoming high school freshmen, I wanted to become involved in a volunteer club largely due to the social aspect of meeting new people. Though I was, to some extent, attracted by CSF’s prestige and scholarship opportunities, it was not the main reason I joined. Rather, several friends had informed me that CSF was the most legitimate volunteer club on campus. With an organized database and an abundance of volunteer events, only CSF, they claimed, could provide members the adequate resources to volunteer extensively. Four years later, I still believe that CSF is Lynbrook’s “unofficial” volunteer club. It’s fun and interactive, but there are no shortcuts. CSF emphasizes that volunteering requires work and time, but doing so, especially with other club members, is a rewarding experience. Now, having accumulated hundreds of volunteer hours, I have come to appreciate CSF’s focus on the true nature of volunteering.

As a naïve freshmen, I initially envisioned volunteering as more of a common standard among my fellow peers than as a voluntary behavior to help others. In my competitive and academically-oriented school environment, there was a widespread belief that community service was solely done to gain an edge in college applications. Fortunately, volunteering at my first CSF event proved this thought to be a misconception. That day, I had signed up to help distribute water to the marathon runners at the annual Marsh Madness Run. As I worked in the freezing cold and darkness before sunrise, I began to question why anyone would willingly wake up at 5 AM to set up a water station. However, any doubt about my decision to help out quickly washed away at the sight of the smiles on the exhausted runners’ faces and the frequent responses of “Thank you for volunteering” as we handed out the water. Even though I did not know the people I was helping, I felt accomplished for having given up my own time for the sake of others.

As I became an active CSF volunteer, I eventually adopted the idea that volunteering is not only a way of giving back to the community that has given me so much, but also an experience that is enjoyable. By volunteering at different local events, like marathons and festivals, I even gained more insight into the different ways of contributing to the community. Furthermore, I felt indirectly connected with the people I was helping, including teachers through RAFT, the needy through Sacred Heart, and soldiers through Operation Care and Comfort. Since CSF is a statewide organization, I also made several new friends from different chapters, who shared the same idea of volunteering not for the recognition but for the simple satisfaction of helping people.

While I learned the importance of selfless acts through physically volunteering, I further realized the true value of “service” as a three-year CSF officer. As secretary, I revamped the points system, communicated with members via email, and assembled the club portfolio. As vice president, I made a club brochure that increased club membership, designed and ordered club apparel, managed monthly Members of the Months, and helped other officers in their respective duties. Now, as co-president, I have developed a new website and am currently working on implementing a chapter project and possibly motivating Miller students to start a CJSF at their middle school. In general, these past three years on the officer team have been inspired by my ambition to cater to the members’ needs and have been an enriching and great learning experience. Not only have I stepped up as a leader, but I have also developed better organization, time management, and responsibility. I have had the pleasure of seeing my ideas applied in reality to help better the club. Now, equipped with my leadership experience from CSF, I define “service” as an action based on the hope and passion to contribute to something. As an officer, I continually strive to contribute my ideas and efforts to improve the service that my club can provide to the members.

Recently, as a senior in the college application process, I have paid more attention to the available CSF scholarship opportunities, and the thought of being rewarded for helping others fills me with excitement. I think that CSF’s motto, “Scholarship for Service,” really embodies the idea of recognizing those who have already invested in volunteering. Since scholarships are only offered to seniors, CSF does not imply that the money should be an incentive to volunteer. Rather, CSF conveys that scholarships are meant more to encourage continued participation in generous activities rather than convince students to complete community service requirements for money.

Overall, CSF was the first club I joined, the only club I have stuck with for the past four years, and the club that I will continue my commitment to through the end of high school. From making new friends to being a part of a united club, from volunteering locally to tutoring online, and from gaining leadership experience to developing applicable skills, I have taken a lot from my participation in CSF. Though I may not be involved in CSF in the future, one this is for certain: CSF has taught me that service is something I choose to do because I want to help others, while scholarship rewards those who understand the intrinsic value of service. Thus, scholarship and service definitely go hand in hand.

Entry #76

Living “Scholarship for Service”

My first experience with the California Scholarship Federation actually occurred at Canyon Middle School in Castro Valley. I heard that we had a chapter of an organization called the California Junior Scholarship Federation that promoted scholarship and service. I was immediately intrigued. Naturally, I went to talk to the adviser of the program at our school, Mr. Doug Ferman, who was the 8th grade counselor. Automatically, he told me that the best way to get involved was to start doing service that appealed to me and keep up the good grades that I already had.

Since I knew that I loved working with animals, I began volunteering at the East Bay Society for Prevention of Cruelty to Animals once a week for 2 hours after school to care for the injured and neglected cats that they took in there. I was hooked and even extended my service to fostering kittens in order to get them up to 2 pounds so that they could get adopted. After ardently working on my service for some time, I decided to apply for the 7th grade scholarship, detailing my involvement with various extracurricular activities, my academic pursuits, and my volunteer work. A few months later, I got a call in the middle of my history class to see Mr. Ferman who told me that I had won the scholarship. I was ecstatic. I continued my service into eighth grade in which I received the gold service award from the President of the United States for over 100 hours of community service. So, by the time I began high school I was ready to further my scholastic excellence and commitment to service.

Immediately, CSF led me to broaden my horizons. As well as continuing my work with animals, I began to work with disadvantaged children, implementing the lessons I learned in school to help others. In Oakland, I volunteered at Saint Vincent’s Day Home where I assisted the teachers in the kindergarten classroom by helping the kids learn how to read and write, playing games with them, and talking to them. The initial decision to start the work evolved into a passion to further my service, helping these kids in any way I could. With a mind open to service, I realized that the benches in the facility were deteriorating and needed renovation. Upon talking with the volunteer coordinator about ways I could help, she confirmed my suspicions and told me this was something that definitely needed to be done. With the kids in mind, I began to plan the project to renovate the benches in the facility by drawing the area and the sizes of the 30 benches. Then, I made a list of all the materials I would need to undertake the project and began meeting with managers at local businesses to get the wood, screws, brushes, varnish, paint, primer, sandpaper, and other hundreds of dollars of supplies I needed. After several months of imploring businesses, I had all the materials I needed and enlisted numerous volunteers to begin the endeavor in April of my sophomore year in high school. By August, at the beginning of my Junior Year, I had led the project to completion and the kids came back in the new school year with sparkling benches.

In my junior year, my involvement in CSF inspired me to work with children again to further my community. This inspiration was met when my Spanish teacher recommended that I go on a service trip to Nicaragua to help build a school. After meeting with my Seeds of Learning work group several times over the spring of my junior year, I embarked on the trip in July 2013. In Nicaragua, I mixed cement, set up scaffoldings, plastered walls, and helped dig a septic tank ditch for the rural school I was helping construct in 90 to 95 degree heat. Moreover, I provided leadership and support in planning games and activities for the children who were near the building site in adjacent classrooms, teaching them things such as how to make papier maché fish and make bead bracelets as well as helping local teachers with multiplication lessons. Using the Spanish I learned through my 3 years of studies in school, I was able to communicate with the children and some of the local villagers who were helping us build their community’s school. When I came back to the United States of America I had learned many things from the trip. However, I believe the most important lesson I learned was that the best way to help people is to work with them, not for them, and definitely not against them.

This team approach transferred to my studies when I began a Multivariable Calculus class at the local community college, yearning to learn more mathematics despite the lack of a math offering past calculus at my high school. When I met another kid in my class who was also a high school senior, I decided to work with him in the new class instead of competing against him. When the teacher allowed us to work together with others on a quiz, I immediately chose him as my partner and we worked together to get an A. Before, my competitive nature might have gotten in the way of my doing this. Instead of working with this other highly intelligent kid in the classroom, I would have done it by myself. Yet, I had learned that the best way to succeed is to work with the people around you, not to compete against them. The California Scholarship Federation has taught me many lessons by encouraging me to go out and do community service, living the creed: “Scholarship for Service”. This has enriched my personal life and my academic career. I am a changed person because of the lessons I have learned and truly believe that talking to my middle school adviser that one fateful day was one of the best decisions of my life.

Entry #84

Tutoring at MLK Jr., a local middle school, I was struck by a conversation I had with eighth-grader Torrey. Frustrated by the obscurity of the black-and-white pH paper diagrams in his science textbook, Torrey explained that he had never done a science lab before nor used actual pH paper. Science, a study of hands-on experimentation and discovery, had been confined to textbooks and worksheets. I realized that the current tutoring program I had initiated needed to expand. As the President of my high school’s CSF club, I set in motion the Tam High-MLK Science Outreach Program.

I was Torrey’s age when I first peered into a microscope and observed the living chloroplasts of a plant cell, an experience that sparked my interest in biology. I set out to bring science to Torrey’s classroom, confident that these students would enjoy the subject in a stimulating environment where they could manipulate materials and test hypotheses themselves. I recruited fifteen fellow CSF members, created the curriculum, communicated with school administration, and instructed CSF volunteers on how to help me implement the labs.

My program required creativity; in designing labs I searched for household materials and school donations to minimize costs. I was often spotted carrying precariously balanced beakers home from school, in what appeared some clandestine, mad-scientist operation. At home, I declared my back porch a laboratory, producing steaming geysers of foam as I found the optimal ratio of hydrogen peroxide to potassium-iodide for the upcoming lab.

Despite weeks of preparation, I was admittedly nervous for my debut lab. I feared that the students might not share my Bill Nye-esque enthusiasm for chemical reactions. Yet, I soon realized that this was science in its purest form: experimentation with a myriad of possible outcomes. As the students lifted their beakers above the volatile solutions below, I was content with the inherent risk. Foaming geysers and joyful shouts erupted across the classroom. Torrey’s excitement was palpable when he asked to do the experiment again.

The sight of students excited by science is my motivation. I am proud to have shown these students the creative, explosive, unpredictable science that I love. With each lab, I strive to improve, experimenting alongside the students as I refine my teaching methods and lead post-lab discussions. In the process of teaching science concepts and answering questions, I have broadened my own knowledge. Developing my program is an ongoing process; I recently obtained an ABC News $1000 grant to help our CSF club to fund advanced labs, and I look forward to working with these students as they enter the science fair for the first time.

It was through the California Scholarship Federation that I gained the experience, motivation, and leadership skills to create a new science outreach program in my community. My experience with CSF began when I was a freshman; as a club member, I participated in the tutoring program, weekend fundraisers for local organizations, and various community events. Whether washing cars to raise money to rebuild homes in Tennessee, or tutoring fellow classmates, I was participating in service alongside students who would become some of my closest friends. Service is never a one-sided endeavor; service thrives on the camaraderie between citizens engaged together. As I became Secretary, Vice President, and then President of my school’s CSF chapter, that value of service became defined. Collaborating with classmates to implement a new science outreach program, I was touched by the dedication and enthusiasm of my fellow CSF members. The late nights spent designing science labs together, and the lunch-time meetings organizing fundraising strategies enhanced my appreciation of the collaborative nature of service.

My involvement with CSF showed me the value of dedication both inside and outside of the classroom. Developing my science outreach program required both academic and leadership skills. In designing science labs, I relied upon the lessons I had learned in AP Chemistry, AP Biology, and Honors Physics. I incorporated the leadership skills I acquired through community service with CSF and as a volunteer and spokesperson for Guide Dogs for the Blind. The ability to apply classroom knowledge to community issues was very exciting for me. I drew on my experience doing hands-on labs in science class, conducting stem cell research at the Buck Institute, and executing independent science fair research projects. This passion for the academic subject of science evolved from the value of scholarship I had developed as a CSF leader. I interpret the intrinsic value of scholarship as opportunity to share knowledge with others, identify community needs, and develop innovative solutions.

CSF has led me to appreciate the way that community service challenges us to try new initiatives and reach outside of our comfort zones. My freshman year, I never could have never imagined myself founding a new service program in my community. CSF gave me the confidence to create the science outreach program, discuss my ideas with school administrators, and apply to grants to fund the program. The motivation that CSF instilled in me also encouraged me to volunteer at the Marine Mammal Center, an organization that rehabilitates ill and injured seals. Restraining a 200-pound California Sea Lion, a tube-feeding syringe in hand, I experience the thrill of stepping into a new situation. Service will be, inherently, risky. It takes motivation and courage to try a new venture or identify a pressing community need. As I watch the rehabilitated California Sea Lion return to its ocean home and take its first dive back into the ocean waves, I understand the value— and beauty— of that intrinsic risk. Through CSF, I have experienced the diligent academic work, initiative, risk-taking, and courage that define CSF’s motto “Scholarship for Service.”

Entry #90

The air was tinged with the smell of damp asphalt. It was cold. It was pouring. My spine tingled as every gust of wind breathed an icy chill through my sopping wet hoody. At the daybreak of Thanksgiving morning, at the unsheltered water station of the 5-kilometer marker, I experienced my first Dana Point Turkey Trot with Capo Valley CSF – our job, to rehydrate the runners and, as I later learned, to embrace the occasional feathered friend.

It was an odd sight to see: a troupe of trotting turkeys fully laced in running shoes. As they turned the corner in gallant style, my mind tensed with apprehension, hopefully these costumes have removable heads because there’s no way on earth I can get water from a Dixie cup through those cotton-filled beaks. I glanced around at my fellow “CSFers”; rather than expressions of anxiety, their eyes lit up with pure excitement. With timely precision, our members formed a line and extended their hands out, but to my surprise, without a single cup of water. I quickly followed suit, unsure of the Capo CSF tradition that would soon follow. Our wattled companions obliged. As they trotted on by, their feathered wings met our empty hands with great, walloping high fives. When volunteering with CSF at Turkey Trot, it was only customary to high five running turkeys.

For the last three years and counting, my involvement in CSF has not only enhanced my appreciation of the intrinsic values of service and scholarship, it has actively defined them. Service is much more than a log of hours; rather it is an investment of time, energy, and devotion to better the community in which we live in. As much as it’s our duty as Turkey Trot volunteers to keep racers well-hydrated, it’s also our responsibility to cheer them on to finish the race, even if that means high fiving an oversized turkey. Even more fundamental, service is about doing what I love. Through the the friendships I’ve forged and the memories I’ve made in CSF, I’ve garnered an ardent passion to serve others by doing the things I find most meaningful: music and soccer.

For the past two years, my more musical CSF friends and I have spent two Sundays each month at our community’s local retirement home playing piano and violin duets. Affectionately known as Music 4 Seniors, our group has performed a wide array of music from all genres. From the classical violin duets of Jacques Féréol Mazas to the riveting tunes of our favorite Disney movies, we have shared little snippets of our musical interests with the seniors citizens. After our performance, we would head over to Golden Spoon and discuss next Sunday’s music set list over a healthy dose of frozen yogurt.

This past August, I along with a couple CSF soccer enthusiasts organized and directed a week-long soccer camp for kids ages five to eleven in our hometown of Mission Viejo. Rather than pay a camp fee, campers were asked to donate nonperishable food items in order to participate. We worked on the technical side of the game, but above all else made sure that fun and teamwork were the priorities. By the end of the camp, I couldn’t say these kids developed their skills to the highest potential, but I was certain they had a blast. And on the plus side, we collected over 300 pounds of food for Second Harvest Food Bank.

CSF is much more than a club of academic merit; it’s a group of committed individuals – a family of tightly-knit friends –, dedicated to giving back to our community by simply doing the things we love. Whether that means weathering torrential downpours to quench thirsty turkeys or playing the holiday pop of Mariah Carey to the smiling seniors of Sunrise Assisted Living, CSF has pushed me to serve not for the sheer quantity of hours, but in ways that are truly meaningful to myself and my community.

I believe this same philosophy applies to the value of scholarship. As with service, CSF has opened my mind to the value of scholarship. To be a scholar is not to only to pursue knowledge but to promote an intellectual vitality within the academic community. While CSF demands a stellar academic record, it by no means calls for an atmosphere of competition. My involvement in CSF has affirmed that scholarship is a process of peer encouragement, one that is conducive to learning, rather than a race for top GPA.

For three strong years, Capo CSF has hosted what we like to call Taco Tutoring. On Tuesday (the universal taco day) after school, CSF has offered tutoring to CSF members as well as Capo students struggling outside of CSF at the local Del Taco down the street. It has been an intellectual safe haven; a place to chow down on some Mexican-American fastfood while promote an environment for learning. It has been this openness to scholarly learning that has inspired me to create Capo CSF’s very first SAT and AP review book library. CSF members are able to check out review books, free of charge, as well as donate used review books to benefit current and future CSF members.

In all honesty, high school demands a lot out of a kid; in maintaining my grades, participating in sports and other extracurricular activities, and finding time for friends and family, I have oftentimes lost my sense of perspective. CSF has reminded me that above all else, my commitment to serve others is what defines me not only a person, but as a human being of this world. As I continue my senior year as CSF co-president, I strive to proactively commit myself to the values of service and scholarship, not for my own benefit, but for the benefit of the greater community.