Winner Spotlight: John Flowers Jr. on writing his scholarship essay on personal growth

A scholarship success story takes an experience, a family history, and redefining limits to inspire students like John Flowers Jr. to write a winning scholarship essay. He earned himself an awesome $500 through The Ferrell Lee Scholarship.

The scholarship application required an essay answering the following prompt: “Discuss an accomplishment, event, or realization that sparked a period of personal growth and a new understanding of yourself or others.” John reflected on his eagerness to learn since a young age, and how the sky was never the limit for him. He’s now on his way to a four-year university, setting an example for his younger siblings.

We asked John to share tips for future scholarship applicants, and he shared his scholarship success story with us!

Going Merry scholarship winner, John Flowers Jr.

Why did you decide to apply to this specific scholarship?

I decided to apply to this scholarship because I felt as if the description and essay question fit me so perfectly.

What was the essay writing process like for you?

[My] essay writing process was like most people[‘s]… a basic outline to have a base set in stone which would make it easier when it came to adding details. I went back periodically to my essay and added more and more to make it as if I was telling a story that would pull the reader in. This made my essay stand out from others and made it more heartfelt because everything I said was authentic and from the heart.

How much did you win, and what are you going to do with the money?

 I won a $500 scholarship, and I used it to buy my school laptop.

If you shared your essay with anyone, such as friends or family, what did they think?

I always read my writing or essays to family members and friends because there is always room for improvement. The more critiques there are, the more new ideas will form.

Any tips for future students applying for scholarships?

A tip I would give to anyone applying for scholarships is to be yourself. Write about an experience that has stuck with you the most. Most scholarship pickers look for essays that are well written, [with] a touching moment in them. You want to tell YOUR story in a way that they can position themselves in your shoes. If you’ve struggled with something, don’t be afraid to tell your story. Don’t be afraid to tell how that experience has changed you. 

How did you hear about Going Merry?

I heard about Going Merry through my AVID class, which is a college readiness program in high school. 

Why would you recommend Going Merry?

I would recommend Going Merry because everyone who has applied for scholarships knows how time consuming and tedious it can be. Having a website that can apply you to multiple scholarships that have similar criteria is amazing! 

Here is John’s winning scholarship essay:

Please discuss an accomplishment, event, or realization that sparked a period of personal growth and a new understanding of yourself or others.

My parents were never given a shot at having an education beyond high school. They were never given a shot to show their full potential and make a difference in the world. They had to start life at an early age. I want to succeed in college for them and for me. I want them to be proud of me for doing a task that they weren’t able to do.

Everyone makes mistakes, but it is those who learn from their mistakes who are successful. I am learning from their mistakes. Where they got stumped, I find a way to get over. Where they may have stumbled, I continue to run. I have to keep running for my goals in life. Even after reaching my goal I will continue to strive towards greatness. People use the saying, “the sky is the limit”, but it isn’t.

The sky is limitless. I don’t want to stop chasing my goals when I reach the sky. I want to reach for the stars and everything above. Being young and seeing my parents struggle is hard for me. It’s challenging seeing the people you love go through a hard time and you can’t do anything about it. I had to change my way of thinking.

But then I realized I can do something about it. I can get good grades in school. I can take college level courses throughout high school. I can attend a 4-year university and earn my bachelor’s degree in Business Entrepreneurship. That was my thought process as a Freshman. Now being a Senior I turned those “I cans” into “I did”.

I DID get good grades all through school. I DID take college level courses. I will be walking straight out of high school with 17 college credit hours. I recently have gotten accepted in The University of Missouri-Kansas City.

I DID get into a 4-year university; and 4 years from now I want to be able to say I DID earn my bachelor’s degree in Business Entrepreneurship. Nothing would make me happier than to be able to take care of my parents the way they have been taking care of my all my life; and nothing would make me better as a person than to be able to say I did this.

I am setting an example for my younger siblings and for my teachers. My teachers being able to see my graduate will let them know that they’ve done well as a teacher, and as a person. I have bettered as a person, a son, and a student, and I am thankful to have been given opportunities that a lot of kids don’t have. I will not take this opportunity for granted.

How will winning this scholarship make a difference to you?

Winning this scholarship will make a difference to me because it will allow me to cover college financial issues that may hold me back from reaching my career. Being less stressed about worrying about college fees will allow me to focus more of my attention in class to earn the credits, and not worry about how I’m going to pay for the class.

Even book fees will add up over time due to how many different classes there are. Being able to use this scholarship to pay for books that are required for a certain class will be a big help, especially for a student who has lots of classes that has to be taken.

Start applying and winning today.


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Kelly Lamano

Though always a creative, Kelly's momentum into the world of writing and publishing arrived when she attended college. She quickly learned the financial value - and cost - of honing her craft, and sought scholarships that would be crucial to not only funding, but fueling her education. She wants to help new students thrive with Going Merry's easy scholarship finder. Kelly holds a bachelor's degree in Broadcast, Print and Online Media, and a minor in Spanish from Florida Southern College.

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