Winning Scholarship Essay 2018

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Written by: Casey Kennedy

When I was 5 I was given a “wish bunny”. It was a stuffed bunny, with a small pocket next to its tail that supposedly, if held a wish, would come true. So, as every 5 year old would do, I took it to heart. Every day a small slip of paper was folded so tiny into that back pocket that read the same thing, every day: “I wish for an orange striped cat wish bunny”.

And I did it for a year – religiously.

Eventually I gave up on wish bunny and he ended up in a box somewhere in the attic. My pleading for an orange striped cat to my parents eventually died out and my 5-year-old-dream of having a four-legged-orange-striped best friend was packed away into the same box as wish bunny.

Until Halloween night 10 years later. As I applied eyeliner-whiskers onto my face and ran out the front door in a rushed excitement, as to not be late for my first high school party, I nearly stepped on an orange striped tabby sprawled outside my door.

I had a moment of indecision, I was already running late, but I had no clue where this fella had come from, and we had coyotes roaming that summer. I scooped him up and brought him inside, my dad yelling, “That is the first and last time that cat comes through that door!!” – needless to say it wasn’t. Not even close.

Gato (ironically it was my dad who gave him the name – wasn’t going to argue) and I weren’t friends at first. I wasn’t going to leave him outside but the incessant meowing and kneading and cat fur in my nose were not particularly appealing qualities added to my everyday life. Especially as a self-conscience freshman who showed up to school smelling of cat and covered in fur.

But kneadless (ha) to say, Gato and I grew close. His name became known among my friends and he became a member of the family faster than my dad could make him a mini stocking for the fireplace at Christmas.

He was an awesome cat – just to say. He used the doggy door and went to the bathroom outside, he was friendly with any and every one, loved cuddling (more than my liking) and most importantly, was more loyal to me than my two-legged non-striped friends.

About the author

My name is Casey Kennedy and I am a junior studying Conservation and Sustainability at Arizona State University. From a young age I was intrigued by the beauty of this planet, and have dedicated myself to both its survival and the survival of all its inhabitants. I studied in France for 6 months, and have traveled around the world learning about self-sufficient ways of living and sustainable growth. I plan to go to the Peace Corps after I graduate to continue my passion for ensuring the health of our society, in any and every way I can.

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