Youth Forward Scholarship Winter 2016 – A Foundation Built on Service

Name: Dillan Taylor Kenney
From: Los Angeles, California
Grade: 10
School: Loyola High School
Votes: 0

Since I started attending high school in 2013, I have become instilled with many virtues, one of the most important being my appreciation for community service; in fact, the motto at my all boys high school is to be “men for others.” My school placed a high value on giving back to the community that had given so much to me; this idea stuck with me, so much so that I’ve devoted many hours over weekends and summer vacations to helping many underprivileged, eager students by tutoring them in math and English for the High School Placement Test and in robotics.

Every year since 2013, I’ve tutored 7th and 8th students from around the downtown Los Angeles area for the HSPT. For about five to six weeks leading up to the HSPT testing period, I sit down with a group of students for five hours early on a Saturday morning and guide them through the lesson plan. By the end of my Freshman year, my passion for service had been ignited; during that summer, for five weeks, I spent six hours at a summer geometry course at my school and then went down to the robotics room and taught robotics for three more hours to downtown Los Angeles students. Overall, these two experiences formed my entrance into the world of community service; these two opportunities taught me a lot about the difficulties of teaching such as maintaining attention of the class, providing engaging and educational lessons, and communicating with struggling students. It was difficult at times to teach material because the students would often distract one another or daydream during an important lesson and learning how to get around these issues will stay with me for the years to come. However, despite all the obstacles, my volunteering experience has been an immensely
satisfying journey; finally feeling fulfilled by giving back to my community was a great feeling and I am excited to see the many
students I taught go back to school with a reignited passion to learn and achieve.

Community service is the best way I have been able to look towards the future; by showing students the value of an education and giving them experience to new interests such as robotics, I have hopefully encouraged at least one person to pursue a higher education and eventual career that will make a positive difference in the world which makes my service all the more worth the time. Personally, my passion is life has been science and engineering ever since middle school and I hope to pursue a career in mechanical engineering at a professional college. Tutoring robotics was a valuable experience to me because I got to test my understanding of engineering and inspire students to pursue a career in robotics and engineering. My hope for the future is that I can come back in thirty years and see the changes that were made to the world because of my work with those 7th and 8th grade students.

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