Teen Surprised With ‘Empower Kindness’ Scholarship
He thought he was going to the gym to play kick ball. Instead, he was surprised by his classmates and recognized for his kindness.
John Schreiner is on the varsity football team at Wheat Ridge High School in Colorado. While he's not the target of bullies at his school, he is known for standing up for those who are.
"I don't like seeing people that are getting bullied. There's no reason for it," John told CBS4-TV.
The senior made an anti-bullying video as a bid for the $2,500 Empower Scholarship contest put on by Village Orthodontics. The video encourages kids to stand up to those who put them down and to encourage anyone who sees someone being bullied to step in.
"Make sure to know the difference between a bully and between friends when standing up to bullies," John says of his message. "Because friends joke with each other, but bullying is putting someone down to lift yourself up."
On Friday, John's classmates and Dr. Jeff Haskins from Village Orthodontics surprised him with the news that he won the scholarship.
John thought he was going to gym class, but was instead greeted by a group of his classmates who threw confetti and cheered him on as he was handed the check for his scholarship.
John was surprised with cheers and confetti as he entered the school's gymnasium. CBS4-TV
"John's our first recipient and we're really honored to present him with a $2,500 scholarship," Dr. Haskins said.
The Empower Kindness scholarship contest is open to anybody, and organizers say they received submissions from students as young as seven years old. Participants are encouraged to create an essay or video that encourages people to empower themselves against bullies and peer pressure.
John's parents were also there to celebrate their son's achievement. They say that standing up for others is a lesson they've taught him since he was young.
"It's kind of nice to know that he's taking it to heart and it's something that now he's doing work and getting recognized for it," his mother said.
John's parents have always encouraged him to stand up for others. CBS4-TV
As for John, he took the win in stride.
"I was very much surprised," he told The Haystack. "I thought I was going to play kickball, which I was hyped about, but I'm cool with getting money instead of playing kickball."
John plans to use the scholarship toward getting his undergraduate degree at Colorado Mesa University where he'll study business and film.
Way to go, John! We hope that others will take your lead and use their voices to stop bullying in their communities.