Essay Contest Winners Honor University Motto
April 21, 2022
SHSU Media Contact: Emily Binetti
By Kendall Gragert
Sam Houston State University’s motto, “The measure of a Life is its Service,” is more than just a saying. Every day, the faculty, staff and students of SHSU live up to the motto through their dedication to service.
To honor this, the Academic Success Center partnered with the Center for Community Engagement and the Office of the Provost to host an essay contest. Bearkats were asked to submit a personal narrative detailing what they have done, or seen other Bearkats do, that embodies the motto.
Senior Nicholas Polk was awarded third place in the contest and earned a $250 scholarship. His essay relayed his personal contribution to SHSU, which expanded free menstrual hygiene products that led to 21 campus restrooms housing dispensers with free supplies.
Freshman Jasmine Martinez took second place with a $750 prize. She shared how Bearkats’ service shines through in small, day-to-day ways that make a difference.
“It’s the little moments throughout your day that you extend yourself to impact another life,” Martinez said.
The winner of the first-place prize, and a $1000 scholarship, was Senior Juan Guardiola. In his essay, he honored his former band director and Bearkat alumnus, Trent Cooper.
“Mr. Cooper lives the motto by making the band hall a home and a safe haven, becoming a surrogate parent when necessary, encouraging students to find their worth,” Guardiola said.
His moving story also described his band director’s inspiring determination after surviving a near-fatal shooting.
“Ten days later—with a bullet lodged just a couple of centimeters from his heart—he was back in front of the band demonstrating his tenacity, continuing his craft, and guiding the next generation of successful individuals,” Guardiola wrote.
The Academic Success Center in partnership with the Center for Community Engagement and the Office of the Provost would like to thank all participants for considering how Bearkats, both current and alumni, have embodied the SHSU university motto.
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