Sonlight students exemplify academic excellence, creativity and servanthood
One glance at what our 2009 Sonlight scholarship winners have accomplished and what they purpose to do, and you may no longer ask the question, "Does homeschooling work?" Instead, you're likely to wonder, "Where do you find students like this!?"
Like many of our Sonlight students, these scholarship winners exemplify academic excellence, leadership, character, mission-mindedness, a heart for learning, creativity and spiritual depth. They not only hope to impact the world in the future, they are transforming their communities and actively serving others now.
Because we encourage personal excellence and quality education, and in light of our mission to equip students to passionately pursue Christ in whatever He calls them to do, we delight to invest in the education of these bright students.
Sonlight will award $82,000 over the next four years to these Sonlight Scholarship winners (we've awarded over half a million dollars in scholarships since we began this competition!). All of these hard-working, talented students have completed at least four Sonlight History / Bible / Literature programs (including high school levels). We look forward to seeing all God does in and through them as they take what they've learned—through Sonlight and through their homeschool experience—onto college and into the world.
Virginia "Ginger" Macfarlan,
Winner of $20,000 Award
($5000 each year)
Ginger Macfarlan of Siloam Springs, AR, began writing a weekly column in her hometown newspaper at age nine. Eight years later, as somewhat of a local celebrity, she's written over 400 columns and plans to hone her skills at John Brown University to pursue her creative writing aspirations in freelance work. Her passion is to make God known through the written word.
An eager learner, Ginger agrees with Yeats that, "Education is not the filling of a pail but the lighting of a fire." In her own life, she explains, "The fire for learning has been lit. I look forward to fanning the flame to shine brighter and hotter as I embrace the challenge of college life."
Ginger is a National Merit Commended Student, an award-winning orator and essay winner on the national level, and president of her city's homeschool teen board. She was one of two girls chosen to represent her state as a Senator at the American Legion Girls' Nation in Washington D.C.
She regularly volunteers at Manna Center food bank where she also prepares a quarterly newsletter and coordinates food drive events. She's a member of the Singing Ensemble and Music Ministry at her church.
Winners of $10,000 Awards
($2500 per year)
Leila Shelburne has lived in Mbale, Uganda, for the last 14 years... Her heart for missions spurred on her dream of becoming a physical therapist as she saw the many physical needs of people around her in Africa. She wants to use her education to "shine God's light in the darkness...to show the compassion of Jesus...to heal people's bodies as God works in their hearts and souls." She plans to major in English Literature at Harding University before going on to physical therapy school.
She's volunteered with Children's Hospital in Kenya and medical mission outreaches, ministered to AIDS orphans, faithfully served a Sunday School ministry, began a weekly Bible study for her peers, and used her organizational skills to set up a library and ensure its first 10,000 books made it on the shelves in order.
A gifted athlete and musician, Leila has trained in guitar, piano, recorder, and cello, with a focus on leading worship. Her love for literature has blossomed into a talent for writing poetry and short stories, and she enjoys drawing and photography, capturing in art the many children she serves.
Rebekah Callari of Sarasota, FL, has spent much of her life in the service of others. Her compassion for children and people with disabilities has inspired her to actively volunteer in the preschool and children's ministries of her church.
From working on a meal service staff to acting as a Spanish tutor, from going on mission trips to the Dominican Republic to serving her family in her own home as they battled debilitating illness, her compassionate spirit and willingness to put others first is a common denominator.
A National Merit Semi-Finalist, Rebecca's creativity shines through her gifts in jewelry-making, handcrafts and photography, as well as her work on her yearbook staff. She is a committed and seasoned equestrian.
Passionate about research in autism and diet-related prevention of many diseases, Rebekah plans to major in Microbiology at the University of Central Florida in pursuit of a career as a gastroenterologist.
From the first drawing she remembers creating at age four, Anna Castro of Royce City, TX, has always loved to tell stories through her art. A talented painter with a knack for technology, she plans to pursue a career in film and computer animation at Full Sail University. Inspired by authors like Lewis and Tolkien, she longs to impact society for Christ through her work. "The church is still fledging in the field of entertainment" she explains, "but it's a tool simply too powerful to dismiss."
Anna won first place and best of show for her oil painting at the State Fair of Texas and enjoys painting sets for her community theatre—as well as acting in the performances. She's sings in her church choir and praise team and plays violin in the orchestra, and also performs with the city orchestra. A natural leader, she hosts a weekly teen Bible study in her home and organized a trip to Europe for a group of teens and their moms.
Winners of $4, 000 Awards
Sonlight will award eight additional students a $1000 scholarship for each year of college (up to four years). We're confident all these winners will make a positive mark in the world and continue on the path of lifelong learning.
Winners in alphabetical order are:
Kyle Clark of North Bend, WA, is a National Merit Semi-finalist who plans to study architectural engineering. He's a top national competitor in speech and debate, with many awards in the National Christian Forensics and Communications Association and Lincoln Douglas Values Debate. Both a serious competitor and coach, he led a 32-week values debate course to equip 8-12th graders to promote and defend the Gospel.
He's active in musical theatre, AWANA, Varsity Cross Country, piano composition (Best Composition Award), and performs dances with the Eastside Swing Cats at a variety of venues, from Disneyland to nursing homes, to a summer camp for kids with cancer.
Monica Kehrer of Ringgold, GA, plans to study music education at Bryan College. She's active in ballroom dance, AWANA, piano, band, voice, choir and National Honor Society. She taught swimming with the Red Cross for three years, served as president of 4-H, and volunteers in the preschool ministry at her church.
Caleb Khazoyan of Littleton, CO, plans to attend John Brown University in preparation to become a web developer. He's active in speech and debate club, Boy Scouts, Project Cure, web development, and Biotech gaming. He served on a medical team in Iquitos, Peru, and has done independent contract work at Caleb Resources/Pioneers. He's studied piano since age five and continues to hone his skills.
Kristina Okerman of Kobe, Kita-ku, Hyogo, Japan, plans to study education and become a teacher. She helped create an English-teaching program for Japanese children, including doing voice recordings, testing lesson sand learning game ideas. She now teaches basic Japanese to elementary students. She explores her creativity through watercolor painting, desktop publishing and web building with Dreamweaver, PhotoShop, 3D animation and Final Cut. She's the Co-Editor of News of the Network (a monthly email-based newsletter and website).
Jennifer Quan of Huntsville, AL, plans to attend Duke University to further her passion to teach others how to communicate their thoughts and make a difference for God's kingdom. She specializes in debate and public policy speech and has served as both a Student Leader and Head Coach for Milestones Speech and Debate Club, and has also organized and taught summer workshops on debate.
She is Founder and Teacher of a communications and public speaking class at Freedom Academy, a school for underprivileged young men. She is a writer for the Huntsville Times, a Special Olympics volunteer, a volunteer at Redstone's Assisted Care and Living Facility, and member of Young Tang Soo Do studio.
Abigail Sargent of East Barre, VT, has a passion for music, history and literature and is interested in teaching and missions. She plays the Irish fiddle and piano, teaches 1st and 2nd grade Pioneer Club, and has learned the ins and outs of small dairy farm care and management. She enjoys alpine skiing and snowboarding, historical research and costume design/construction, and horseback riding. She's active in a Bible study with her youth group, as well as the Compass mentoring program, and has served on a mission trip to India.
Audrey Stephens of Phnom Penh, Cambodia, plans to build on her love of children by majoring in education at Bob Jones University. She's active in Youth choir, homeschool co-op courses (like Soccer, Literature, Crafts and Botany), and she independently studies American Sign Language. She's a library volunteer, nursery worker, Sunday School teacher, VBS assistant and has served as co-director of a Christmas play. She teaches English to non-native speakers at Heritage International School where she manages two preschool classrooms with a total of 48 three and four-year-olds.
Dylan Wren of Long Beach, MS, plans to study electrical engineering at Mississippi State University. He has organized volunteer projects at Long Beach Food Pantry and regularly serves the hungry and the poor at Bible Fellowship Church's Sunday Breakfast. He is a member of the Long Beach Youth Commission, a guitarist for the Christian rock band Malachi, accompanist on bass guitar for his homeschool choir, and a Leader in Training for AWANA. He participated in two week-long mission trips to North Carolina to help F.A.I.T.H. Way, Inc. prepare land and housing for a future children's home.
You could be a winner next year!
Sonlight will increase the number of four-year awards to 13 ($92,000!) for students planning to attend college in the Fall of 2010. Families who've ordered at least five History / Bible / Literature programs since 1999 are eligible. Find out the requirements and complete details for next year's scholarship competition.