…That’s my new favorite number, since it is the number of votes that put me well into first place and that makes me the winner of the $10,000 Blogging Scholarship.
And the very first thing I have to do is to thank YOU.
The reason I won is because of the immense outpouring of support from all of you--friends, family and complete strangers all over the world. This award could not have come at a better time for me and my family, and we are all deeply grateful. I plan to use the money to pay some of the principle and interest on my student loans. As one commenter said recently, although $10,000 is a drop in the bucket of law school debt, it’s a pretty good drop nonetheless. And every drop helps!
I know that many of you have been sitting in front of your computer screen watching the votes and comments roll in over these past three weeks, and I appreciate your company. It has been astounding for me to watch it all happen, and is far, far beyond anything I expected or could have predicted.
I came upon a post somewhere about the scholarship accidentally one day a month or so ago just a few days before the application deadline. Later that evening, I sat on the couch, composed my essay, and then submitted it to CollegeScholarships.org as required. I mentioned to Randy in an offhand comment that night that I had applied for the scholarship, and then I forgot about it for a few days. You can imagine how excited I was when I opened my e-mail in-box on October 8th and found out that I was one of the 20 finalists for the scholarship.
That morning I composed an e-mail message which I sent out to 50-75 friends and family and to about 25 “cyber friends” thinking that maybe with their help I could get a couple of hundred votes. I had no idea what it would take to win or if I even had a chance.
And then it started. You all took it and ran with it. You sent it to the people in your address book, they sent it to the people in their address book, and then they sent it on. Some of you posted it on your blogs, and then more people posted it on theirs. I have received hundreds of e-mails from people all over the country telling me their stories and offering encouragement and support. I was surprised and encouraged by the initial reaction, and then I was stunned at the power of the internet and of word of mouth as the days progressed. The $10,000 pales in comparison to the amount of support I have received from all 9,150 of you in the last three weeks while watching all of this unfold.
Shelley Batts and Jess Kim, the second and third place contestants in the contest, will both receive $1000 and the remaining 7 of the top 10 contestants will each receive $100. I had the pleasure of exchanging e-mail with both Shelley and Jess during the contest and think they are both very intelligent and kind young women who will go far in their chosen fields. Both of them have excellent blogs and I encourage you to visit their sites, as well.
Daniel Kovach, the man behind the money, has invited me to come to the Blog World and New Media Expo in Las Vegas next week to accept the award. Thanks to some of Randy’s left-over points from his travelling days and help from our parents, we are going to be able to go and to spend a couple of days there, as well. It will be one of the most slow-paced, conservative visits to Las Vegas ever since I get tired so easily and can’t walk far, but it will be nice to get away for a couple of days.
Thank you all. My gratitude knows no bounds.