Chosen and Changed Forever
...one family's experience with NSHSS
College…. Even the word instilled horror in my heart. How could I ever afford to send my child to college? I was no different than any other parent who wanted to provide the best education for their child. I could not imagine how we could afford today’s astronomical tuition. Even though my daughter was at the top of her class and well prepared for college life, due to the overwhelming costs, we had discussed the necessity of her working for a few years before pursuing her degree. I was heartbroken at the thought she would not be able to experience university life, to the fullest, at the time most young people head off to college. The financial burden weighed heavily on my shoulders.
As my daughter completed her junior year in high school she was selected as a member of The National Society of High School Scholars. I like other parents researched and learned the mission of The National Society of High School Scholars is to recognize academic excellence and to encourage members to apply their unique talents, vision, and potential for the betterment of themselves and the world. I was delighted to discover the NSHSS was a true scholarship organization not a vanity press.
We were fortunate to travel to Washington D.C. for the 2010 Scholar’s Day. Both Elizabeth and I were honored to meet Mr. Nobel and the kind NSHSS Staff members. We were moved by Mr. Nobel’s graciousness and dedication to changing the world one mind at a time. The caliber of the students in attendance was unsurpassed. The NSHSS was definitely far more than a simple honor society.
Shortly after joining the NSHSS, my daughter, Elizabeth was given the opportunity to apply for The Cambridge College Programme at the University of Cambridge in England. Elizabeth was instantly set on applying. She had dreamed of seeing Shakespeare’s birthplace since she was a little girl. I was happy for the opportunity she had to complete the application; the essay component provided wonderful writing practice. The thought of winning such a prestigious scholarship was beyond our wildest dreams.
June 26th, 2010 is the date our lives were changed forever by The National Society of High School Scholars. Dr. Susan Thurman called Elizabeth informing her she had been chosen as a Cambridge College Scholar. We both fell to our knees with thankfulness. Could this really be true? Maybe it was only a dream? Less then a month later Elizabeth departed for England on the trip of a life time. In a hundred years, I never could have afforded to send her on such a momentous learning adventure.
The learning and leadership Elizabeth gained through the Cambridge College Programme was immeasurable. She came home a changed person. Her view of the world had expanded to a global view; her study skills and college readiness were refined and precise. She came off the flight from England with a list of colleges on which she had set her sights. She said if God had provided such a magnanimous gift as the Cambridge College Programme, He could provide a way for her to attend college, on time, with her 2011 classmates.
With her goals on fire she began her senior year. Wanting to share her wonderful experiences as a NSHSS member, Elizabeth applied to be a NSHSS Ambassador. She enjoyed sharing service projects with other local NSHSS members. Studies, college tours, applications, interviews and auditions coupled with community service and scholarship applications filled her every day.
Now believing with all her heart college was in her future, Elizabeth completed every scholarship application for which she qualified. She never imagined The NSHSS would once again pour upon her another generous scholarship, awarding Elizabeth one of the 2011 NSHSS Ambassador scholarships and sending her to the 2011 World Scholar-Athlete/Artist Games. With great thanksgiving Elizabeth was accepted to each of the five colleges to which she applied. Combined with the merit scholarships and grants graciously awarded, Elizabeth will depart for college, preparing for a future, she never dreamed possible.
Expressing our gratitude to Mr. Nobel and The National Society of High School Scholars seem completely inadequate for everything they have done for our family. Elizabeth’s life has been entirely changed by joining the National Society of High School Scholars. The decision to choose Elizabeth for the Cambridge College Programme has transformed both our lives. The opportunities afforded Elizabeth through The NSHSS made her college and scholarship applications stand out. Each and every college Elizabeth applied to remarked about the Cambridge College Program and her involvement with the National Society of High School Scholars. The college admissions and scholarships she has been awarded this year have been a direct result of the recognition and international honors given Elizabeth through the National Society of High School Scholars.
The Blanchette’s reside in Massachusetts. Susan has been a professional musician and educator for 31 years. Elizabeth will be attending Eastern Nazarene College as a Vocal Performance major.