At the same time, I have found things that have made my heart sing. She had such a good soul! As I read through her essays, my emotions bounce from one extreme to another. Pride so fierce that I feel like I am about to burst leads to sorrow so immense that I can't breathe. She had so many plans, but her goals were all the same: to serve others.
I don't know how I got so lucky to have God bless me with Noelle, but I'm sure glad he did. I can't take credit for her strong faith, because I didn't give that to her, but I did try to give her the best of me and she took that and magnified it tenfold.
Noelle wrote the following essays for scholarship applications. I think they speak to her very essence and wanted to share them with you.
As a young child, my dad taught me to think outside of the box. As I stated in an earlier essay, my father used to make me do math problems consistently in the car. He would make me do them in all different ways until we found the way that was the easiest for me. He would always tell me that there are “different” ways to do everything and not to settle for the first way. He hated that in school he was only taught one way to do things even if that way did not make sense to him. This taught me to be creative when it comes to problem solving. I can now solve my problems easier, faster, and usually in a fun way.
My dad also taught me how to do work. He taught me how to have fun when I did unenjoyable things such as cleaning or homework. He taught me that a few breaks while doing work is fine, but do not take to many breaks or you will never get anything done. He taught me that when I have a lot of work to do break it into sections, so it does not feel as if I am doing as much work. This really helped show me how to do things, because sometimes when I have a lot of work I just get stressed out and do not want to do any of it. When I break it down into pieces it feels like I have less work to do. It is less stressful when you do not look at it all at once or try and do it all at once.
My mother taught me to know my facts and to stand my ground. My mom always encouraged me be independent and diverse. If I had an opinion, she made me disclose the facts to back up my thinking. I was not allowed to think in a certain way just because someone else said it. I had to know the reasoning behind it. I am very thankful to my mom for making me think on my own and to have my own opinions with knowledge to back them up. Lots of kids go to college and completely change their outlook on life because they had opinions without knowing why they believed that way. I know that will not happen to me. College will mature me, but it will not change my core beliefs.
Next my church taught me the skills of how to be a strong leader. Doing lots of servant style leadership work has taught me that a real leader is not one who does it for recognition or for self-gain. A real leader cares more about the people they serve than themselves. Learning how to have a personal relationship with Jesus is more than just going to church on Wednesday nights and Sunday mornings. My faith has made me the person I am today, and I am so thankful for being taught what real faith looks like.
Although school is very important, my outside knowledge is probably the most important knowledge I have gained. I would not be me without it. I would not know how to think outside of the box, stand firm on my beliefs, and the skills of what it takes to be a good leader if I only gained knowledge during the seven hour school day."
"The past two summers I have had the privilege of being a leader at Camp Victory in Cartwright, Oklahoma. I started going to Camp Victory as a camper in 2006. I would always look up to the summer interns that led the programs. To me, being an intern was the coolest thing anybody could do. The summer of 2013 I got my first chance to do what I loved.
When I was younger, I never understood all of the things that interns did. Once I became one, I realized they were part of the backbone of the camp.
The camp is divided into two -2 week time sessions of camp. Two one week camps are called Kid’s Camp for kids from second grade to sixth grade. Then there are two one week camps of Youth camp for those in seventh grade through twelfth grade.
During Kid’s Camp the interns run all of the events, games and other activities the church provides. We also work in our concession stand, help out in the kitchen, or watch the water for issues during swim time. One of my favorite things that I did was to help lead camp songs. The kids get so excited about singing the songs and dancing to them. It almost makes up for how annoying they are by the end of the week. Kids Camps is very fun and silly. It is hard to connect with elementary age kids if you are not willing to act “goofy” with them. They tend to look up to you if you can connect with them.
Youth Camp is almost the same as Kid’s Camp. We are still in charge of all the games but we get to get more involved with the campers. We have small groups that the counselor and one or two interns are in charge of. Small groups are a time that we sit and talk about what we got from the daily church message. Usually if a camper is struggling with something they talk about it and then we pray for them. For me, small groups were one of the big reasons I wanted to get involved with an internship. It gives me solace to know that my advice might help a camper get through a day, a night or perhaps a lifetime.
Another thing that comes along with camp and internship is Jubilee. During our Jubilee, we have morning conferences. I usually worked in the nursery. It was for ages 0-3, so we usually had a lot of kids in there. During the evening, we would have a different speaker. The first year I worked Jubilee, I worked in our vacation bible school with kids ages 3-5. We usually had eight to ten little kids in our group. We would take them to each station and teach them about God. It is a great feeling to be able to help out parents by watching their kids while they learn about God. It is an even better feeling to teach kids about God. It may not seem like a big deal to some people, but to me it is one of the most important leadership positions ever.
I love being able to help, and I love working with kids. I couldn't imagine not spending my summer serving God and my camp. It has become a second home to me. There is no better reward than to see the smile you bring on the faces of those you serve. My internship helped teach me about what I love. It also taught me how to serve and care about others.
My major in college is uncertain but what I do know is that I would like it to involve children. I would love to use my Christian ethics and values to make a difference in at least one child. If I can attain that, then my job will have had a level of significance. "I've learned that people will forget what you said, people will forget what you did, but people will never forget how you made them feel." Maya Angelou"
I love that she used the Maya Angelou quote at the end of this essay. I think that she tried to emulate that in her everyday life. She succeeded magnificently!