Youth Forward Scholarship Summer 2017 – For the Cause of Science and Education!!!

Name: Theodore Hoss
From: Bakersfield, California
Grade: Junior
School: Bakersfield High School
Votes: 0

           I received my primary and secondary education in the city of
Bakersfield, California, an expanse of sprawling suburbs and strip
malls whose economy is dominated by agriculture and the extraction of
oil. In Bakersfield grade schools, science education requirements are
incredibly lax. Within the classrooms of Elementary and Junior High,
we would often skip our allotted science hour for additional math,
PE, or grammar. Fortunately for me, when I was in the third grade I
discovered the Buena Vista Museum of Natural History, an organization
whose stated purpose is to “promote the scientific and educational
aspects of earth’s history” through public education.

As can be imagined, to an eight-year-old the museum was fascinating, and
I have remained captivated ever since my first visit. I became a
Junior Docent by the time I was twelve, and am certified to lead
tours, excavate and preserve fossils for the repository, manage the
front desk and cash register, and help with summer science camps,
which offer local students a chance to broaden their perspectives
beyond the subjects they learn in school.

In the ten years I have been volunteering at the museum I have learned
the value of expanding one’s education. Thanks to my work there, I
have grown up surrounded by opportunities to learn, and I feel that
gaining wisdom is one of the greatest thrills of life. Thus my
greatest satisfaction in lending my time to this scientific
institution has been observing the light of discovery in the eyes of
the visitors who come to Buena Vista. I have volunteered well over
500 hours since I became a Junior Docent, with my best year’s time
totaling 168 hours. Depending on the season and my other
extracurricular activities, monthly hours have varied significantly.
As a reward for my time, I have been able to experience the same
light of discovery which I have shared with others, growing to be
more responsible and open-minded as I present the museum to its
visitors. I have learned from other docents, some of whom had very
difficult backgrounds, of the boundaries which are shattered by

Perhaps the biggest challenge I face as a volunteer at the museum is leaving
it to go away on my own journey of learning as I turn towards
college. I will major in Environmental Sciences, delving deeper into
the subjects I first learned at Buena Vista. I truly believe that the
work I have done will foster an interest in science in the others who
have visited the institution, and that in the future these children
and their families will continue to pursue the subjects, instilling
within the future generation the value of gaining knowledge which I
have found to be such an intrinsic part of humanity. Looking forward
to the future, my hope would be to see more opportunities for access
to learning, more children falling in love with the pursuit of
abstract thought, and I hope I have done my part in making this hope
a reality.

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