Dollars 4 Tic Scholars awards college scholarships to students who have Tourette Syndrome. This week we have been delighted to work with five of our students who agreed to take time out of their college schedules to help us. From 2015, 2016 and 2017 scholarship award years, our recipients Jordan Bernstein, Josh Green, Hannah Rusinko, Mason Taylor and Jason Ingerick agreed to tell us their stories to help with our 2018 Great Give promotion. We called the series “Our Students, Their Stories,”, and you can find the recap of all five of them here.
What makes our Dollars 4 Tic Scholars TS Scholarship recipients outstanding? (And they are, simply, outstanding!) Every year at the end of April, after the scholarship applications are due by April 15, we get covered up with emails and mail. As of this writing we are in the evaluation period for 2018. We offer an online application or hard copy, and it requires emailed parts and mailed parts as well. We always say it is our favorite time of the year – greeting the mail carrier who is absolutely loaded with envelopes for us!
The first reason our recipients are outstanding is because they found the time to answer all of the required information for the application. Seriously. We know we ask a lot. We want to know how our students are doing academically, financially, and in extracurricular activities. We’re looking for leadership. Completion. Persistence. And that they have challenged themselves. It takes time to answer everything. And our Selection Committee appreciates it when they do.
The second reason our recipients are outstanding is that they got their applications to us on time. Being on time means that they know how to pay attention to detail. That they know how to plan ahead, schedule, and meet deadlines. Meeting deadlines is important in life and in their future career. We want to know they are mastering this very important skill for success.
The third reason is that they have heart. We ask our students to share with us two very important components. One is an essay. Why is this different from any other application? Because we ask them to share with us a specific time in their life or experience that has to do with having Tourette Syndrome. These students own it. They tell us their struggles, and how they have grown from the situation and triumphed. It’s not easy telling about being ostracized, or bullied, or made fun of. Our students react sometimes with humor and sometimes with touching vulnerability. And they also tell us about how they have helped others understand about Tourette Syndrome. They are advocates, because they have learned to be, and had to be.
The other component we ask our applicants for is a video. Our scholarships are available to students throughout the U.S. We don’t have the luxury of being able to invite them into a room and talk to them. We want to know more than how they appear on paper in their application. We want to see inside their personality. What makes them excited? What are their goals? What do they envision for their life in the future? We do not ask for these videos to see them tic…we’re used to seeing that. We want to see who they are. And, we thank our students for sharing themselves with us through the video. As our Selection Committee members have told us during evaluations…We’ve laughed, we’ve cried. We’ve been so impressed.
When Kelsey and I started this journey, we didn’t realize the joy we would get from meeting these kids through their emails, mail, and video. They have discovered what they want to be when they grow up – so many varied paths! And during that path they will learn to handle even more of what life will dish out, as they take their Tourette Syndrome along for the ride.
Our recipients are confident, ambitious, kind, and empathetic with others due to their circumstances. During this evaluation time, we get to know these young people. And every year, we are so proud of them and excited for the contributions they will bring to the world. Our students. They are simply outstanding!
Diane and Kelsey Diamantis
Co-founders, Dollars 4 Tic Scholars