When my parents asked me what I wanted to be when I grew up; I responded with a dubious look -"famous". If you ask me today what I want to be when I matriculate, I would most likely respond with a burning passion - "to save the environment."
Who knew that leisurely scrolling on Instagram would lead to becoming part of an elite group of students who aspire to better the world and create a brighter future Definitely not me. Originally when I spot a sponsored post on social media I instinctively scroll past it, but something just drew me back to this particular link, a sensation built within my gut demanding me to scroll back up, and so I did.
The Junior Academy, that's part of The New York Academy of Science, provides a unique opportunity where a handful of talented students between the ages of thirteen and eighteen from over the globe apply to join. The successful candidates will gain access to exclusive educational opportunities and the STEM (science, technology, engineering and mathematics) network where you can communicate ideas with other Stem experts.
Students are taught to develop their advanced research, innovation, and collaboration skills with access to best-in-class learning resources. The students then have to leverage these skills to compete in challenges sponsored by industry-leading companies.
It all sounds too good to be true, doesn't it But it gets better...to become a part of this academy is completely free and therefore anyone can apply. With nothing to lose and so much to gain, like lifelong access to exclusive educational opportunities, I decide - "why not " and so that was the start of a new journey towards my hopeful dream to save the environment. Sadly the chances of being accepted are 12% and I didn't hold my breath on getting accepted. It was a long and vigorous application process but it did not deter me from this journey.
Three months later on the last day of September I received the email that would forever change my life. It was 8pm when I saw it and I did not believe what contend the email contained. "Congratulations! You have been accepted into the Junior Academy..." That was it. I re-read it several times over just to make sure that I was not dreaming. I became one of a 1365 students in the world, with a dreamer's aspiration to change the world for a brighter and more bountiful future.
That very same evening I realized that if I didn't apply, I would have never be able to take a step closer to my aspiration. That evening I learned that sometimes the best steps you take are the unintentional ones, where all you say to yourself is "Why Not " Sometimes, it is the spontaneous actions that can point you into the direction you need to move in.
I am thankful for this opportunity and next year, after we have completed the challenges presented, we are invited to attend a two-day Global STEM summit in New York. The challenge winners will receive special recognition at the event.
Thank you, so much for taking the time to read my story.
Learn more about The Junior Academy: https://thejunioracademy.org/
If you want to reach out and contribute towards my traveling expenses to the summit in New York, please visit my back-a-buddy page at: https://www.backabuddy.co.za/champion/project/big-dreams-to-big-apple .
(Should my group win the challenge, my travelling expenses will be covered and the funds raised will be donated to WESSA (the Wildlife and Environment Society of South Africa)
Sadly it costs money and coming from an average income household means that we will have to fight tooth and nail to ensure that I can attend the summit. I implore you to please help me on my journey towards the brighter future. We have an account set up on Back-a-Buddy called "Big Dreams to Big Apple."
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