Each year, Jen’s “Just Be You” awards a scholarship to a graduating senior from Jen’s High school - Pinkerton Academy. The recipients display a passion for literature, journalism, reading, and writing. The application includes questions about their favorite book or author and why they would like to study literature or journalism in college. The applicants also provide a sample of writing that they are most proud of.
Our past winners have been:
We celebrate Jen’s Birthday each year by holding an essay contest for Middle School children. They have the choice of writing about their favorite book, why they love to read or write, or what “Just Be You” means to them. The winners receive a Barnes and Noble gift card and a goodie bag, which we award on Jen’s Birthday.
Here is a small sample from the great responses that we have received:
“When I am writing I feel like I am a baker and words are my cookie dough. “
“After a long day sometimes it helps me to feel better to just sit down and write. Some people may not like to write, but for me it makes me happy, and it’s a part of my life I never want to change.”
“Reading is the sunlight in the darkness. Writing is the sun to my rainy day. Reading and writing is the way I calm down. It’s the way the book smells and the way the words taste. It’s the color that you see in characters’ eyes even though the picture is black and white.”
In response to the Question – What does ‘Just Be You” mean to you:
“I shouldn’t worry about being different from others.”
“I’ve learned that I shouldn’t change for someone else, I make the change if I desire it.”
“As I grew up I was tired of making myself feel like I wasn’t good enough, so I then surrounded myself with amazing friends and they made me feel better about myself”.
“Just be you” means to me how, just like Jen, that when you follow your dream and work hard for what you want, your hill of dreams can turn into a mountain of possibilities.”
Our contribution to a first grade classroom allowed the teacher to purchase a reading / listening center for her students to use daily. This center gives the students access to books, both fiction and nonfiction, at a higher text level than they are able to read themselves. They listen to stories during small group enrichments to work on fluency, comprehension and retell. Additionally, during math, the students can utilize this center by using math read-alouds for a second “listen” to reinforce the concepts.
We have also contributed to various local teachers who need assistance purchasing books or learning materials to help improve the reading skills and passion of their students.
Our book drives have allowed us to donate many children’s books to local schools and libraries. We are proud to share Jen’s love of reading and to inspire students to find books that they love.