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2022 Scholarship Winner

Student Spotlight

Laurelyn Ridge



Age: 17

Grade: Graduating Senior

From: North Carolina

Member Since: 2022

Describe why you enjoy math: Math problems remind me of solving a puzzle: I enjoy the sense of accomplishment when learning how each piece fits and can finally see the overall picture. When I work on math, it is a relaxing part of my day.

Describe how you anticipate using math in your future: With a future criminal justice career, I’ve considered merging my affinities for math and criminal justice by potentially pursuing forensic accounting. For the next two years in 4-H, I will continue completing annual project record books and portfolios (which chronicle three years) and require extremely detailed spreadsheets documenting my leadership, citizenship, and community service activities—including hours invested and numbers of individuals impacted by my pursuits. Additionally, applying budgeting and money management skills will help me in attempting to complete college debt-free and strategize ways to remain as debt-free as possible throughout my life.

I have been involved in my community through the following service projects:

 

  • Denotes with my 4-H Club, where I serve as President & have served on 14 committees

  • Project Linus: helped make 38 blankets for sick and disabled children*

  • For military service members: helped clip $8800 in coupons & helped make 159 cards*

  • Assembled blessings bags for pediatric chemo patients*; made snacks for firemen*

  • Retirement homes: entertained, hosted socials, made 100+ cards & 100+gifts (57 hrs.)*

  • Making cards/gifts for rehabilitation graduates (34 hrs.)

  • Winston-Salem Rescue Mission: prepared 11 meals, sorted 9K+ canned goods, hosted game nights, led club in (chaired 5); toiletry bags for the homeless; (73 hrs.)

  • Forsyth Co. 4-H: led cooking & sewing workshops, raised $1,504 in co. fundraisers; served on 9 committees pkg. events, landscaping, taught workshops; (93 hrs.)

  • N. Central District 4-H & NC 4-H: organized activities & projects for 20 counties; Gotta Have Sole cards; food

  • Kerwin Baptist: junior church assistant, choirs, orchestra, handbells (81 hrs., ’18-’20)

  • Calvary’s Joy Prom & Tim Tebow’s Proms for the developmentally disabled (46 hrs.)

  • Forsyth Jail & Prison: made/donated 384 cookies, 159 toiletries for Christmas (13 hrs.)

  • Operation Christmas Child: made toys for boxes, packed & inspected boxes (43 hrs.)*

  • Generation Joshua Student Action Team: helped make 132,888 voter contacts (57 hrs.)

  • Have volunteered over 600 svc. hrs. (2014-2022); have received 4-H District Youth Volunteer of the Year

  • Award and 2 Gold POTUS’ President’s Volunteer Service Awards


My favorite project was: inspecting and packing boxes at Operation Christmas Child processing centers because it brings me joy to know I’m helping children all around the world! Many have never received a gift before, some receive exactly what they pray for, and many come to know Christ through this ministry! Additionally, I enjoy seeing what’s packed in the boxes: this generates ideas of what to pack in my 4-H club’s boxes as I lead the group in making cards, toys, and gifts.

I have set the following goals for myself for the next:

     1 year: Complete half of my AA at community college, work part-time at a local retirement community, continue serving my community through 4-H, and apply (and hopefully be accepted) to a local thirteen-week Citizen’s Police Academy, where I could learn about specifics of various criminal justice departments to determine what area of law enforcement to eventually enter.

     5 years: Graduate debt-free from Liberty University Online after procuring a BS in Criminal Justice with cognates in both Strategic Intelligence & Business Administration/Management; begin acquiring field-related experience in local law enforcement or forensic accounting.

My mother has inspired me to consider: taking additional business, management, and government electives in college to complete cognates and minors to provide greater versatility in the workforce: beyond law enforcement, I could serve in forensic accounting, perhaps eventually in public administration.

My favorite subject in school is or has been: History/American Government: I appreciate lessons learned from examining the past to avoid recreating similar mistakes in the future. I loved discovering how America’s founding principles transformed our country into a beacon of freedom and hope to help maintain these freedoms!

My favorite extra-curricular activity is, or has been: 4-H, because it helped me refine invaluable life skills—oral and written communication skills, record-keeping, and leadership— through public speaking contests at the county, district, and state levels, a simulated job interview contest, completing multitudinous spreadsheets for annual project record books as well as portfolios (books chronicling three years), leading workshops (at club, county, district, and state levels—once for 200 attendees at a state event), serving on and chairing committees, and fulfilling my officer duties. Currently serving as Club President and County Council President, I also coordinate events for twenty counties as 4-H District Secretary-Treasurer. 4-H has also been an outlet for me to establish lasting friendships, explore citizenship and civic engagement, and—to echo the 4-H Pledge— “serve my club, my community, my country, and my world!”

The most challenging thing I have ever experienced is: coping with the COVID-19 quarantine situation, which was lengthier for our family due to my dad’s job as a funeral director and embalmer: we worried about his constant potential exposures due to the nature of his job and the consequences—staffing shortages for those he worked with and us transmitting the virus to others—if we did not avoid large crowds. Consequently, virtual church services remained the norm for our family long after most had resumed regular services. As an only child, the situation was particularly difficult. However, the monotony of quarantine life also taught me I’m a more adventurous person—leading me to conclude I do not want to be confined to a typical desk job one day. This difficult period revealed many characteristics about myself that aided me in choosing my future career path.

My greatest accomplishment to date has been: being honored to attend National 4-H Congress in Atlanta, Georgia in November 2021, having won the trip through AIRE, a simulated job interview contest. One of NC’s 18 delegates to attend the event with top 4-Hers from all around the country, I was also selected as the NC State Delegate Advisor to lead nightly state meetings and was 1 of 5 Teen Entertainers selected to perform at the event out of auditions nationwide! Over 800 attendees were in the audience when I sang “The National Anthem” at the Flag Ceremony and when I performed my vocal rendition of Adele’s “When We Were Young” at the Congress Gala.