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Three students win scholarships

If you could meet any British person (either past or present) who would it be? For three CMS high school students, their selections just landed them a trip to study in Great Britain this summer.

For the past seven years, The British American Business Council - North Carolina chapter (BABC), has provided scholarships for CMS students to attend a two-week travel and study program in the United Kingdom. The program is conducted by the American Community Schools in London. Each year the students are chosen via an essay contest conducted by BABC in conjunction with CMS.

Ardrey Kell High student Connor Gilbride and Myers Park High students Hayden Hoffler and Clara Howell were selected as the winners of the 2010 British Studies Summer Program for their essays on the British person they would most like to meet. The students will travel to Great Britain to learn about its culture July 10 - 24.

Connor chose the late Capt. Matthew Webb, the first person to swim the English Channel without the use of artificial aids, as the person he would most like to meet. Connor, who is a diver on the Ardrey Kell swim team, admires Capt. Webb for his perseverance and determination to overcome the challenges of swimming the English Channel. And much like Capt. Webb, Connor took on the challenge to volunteer as a diver for Ardrey Kell's swim team.

"I had no experience at diving," said Connor. "Diving requires you to be focused and brave, risking it all to achieve the perfect dive. Capt. Webb never did anything easy; he risked his life trying to achieve greatness."

Growing up in a family of nature enthusiasts influenced Hayden Hoffler to learn survival skills as a boy scout. Hayden chose Lord Robert Baden-Powell as the British figure he would like to meet because he helped create the Boy Scouts program. Baden-Powell's scouting handbook helped Hayden learn to correct his mistakes and become a positive role model as a scout.

"He was very adventurous, loved nature, loved the water and was a strong willed, very focused man," Hayden said. "He passed away in 1941, but if he was still alive today I wonder what direction scouting would be going."

Some of the most influential music in the world has come from The Beatles and that's who has inspired Clara Howell. She selected the famous rock band for influencing her with their hit song "I Want to Hold Your Hand." In the third grade, Clara and her classmates used songs from The Beatles for their Odyssey of the Mind skit. Even though they didn't win the competition, that particular song is her most favorite memory of the third grade.

"Even above the widespread popularity of The Beatles at the time of their existence, more respectable is their timelessness," Clara said. "The fact that decades after their albums were released, their songs are still being blasted through my speakers shows their resilience and style."

The $4500 scholarships are awarded to juniors interested in studying British history and culture. The selected students will join 14 other students, all sponsored by various BABC Chapters throughout the United States.

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