OPINION: UNT Awards Outrageous Scholarship

OPINION: UNT Awards Outrageous Scholarship

Today, words fail me. However, they will have to suffice.

Jordan Phipps, an 8 year-old girl, recently received a $10,000 scholarship from the University of North Texas (UNT). The deed which merited such a generous reward? A simple speech about wanting to attend that university.

I’m certain many parents and educators view this as a truly heartwarming moment of their day; a generous university granting a little girl’s heartfelt wish. I wish I could be as happy and naive as they are; thinking that, just like this child, I could attend the university of my choice just because I said I wanted to.

But the only things I can really feel are jealousy and outrage.

Each day, us students have to deal with teachers, tests, homework, projects, extracurriculars, and each other, usually all at once. Our classes include Calculus BC, APUSH, and the menaces known as IB classes just to get the diploma plan we want, to say nothing of actually getting into college. I could easily get enough to write a feature on each of these subjects just by walking around the school and listening to what the students say. Even after having to deal with all of these dangers and stresses day in and day out, most of us are still capable of saying, “I am smart, I am a leader, failure is not an option for me,” and a whole bunch of other five-cent words that even most politicians wouldn’t be dumb enough to use because they sound so clichéd. To see such a young child given a university scholarship—regardless of which university it is—for such a simple and small act makes me feel like I’ve been cheated out of higher education, or that a step to success has been handed out to this child while fellow students like me have to suffer at the hands of the district and its teachers.

And the worst part is that this action might not be such a dumb thing for UNT to do. After all, with this stunt the university gets easy publicity and good PR, meaning that this child won’t be the only one looking to join UNT for long.

I’ve probably done you a disservice by showing how easily some people can get things, but this incident shows the kinds of things that are rewarded in society – publicity stunts and interesting anecdotes in place of genuine triumphs and accomplishments.

But, of course, we can’t do much to change things, as just one school among many. All we can do is try to make the most of the situation at hand.

Maybe if we make videos of ourselves giving speeches, we might get into the colleges we wish to enter.

In fact, I might just try it myself.