So let’s do a mitzvah, shall we? The delightful Emma from the comments section has a request. The girl next door to her – a high school junior named Hayley – came over last night and said she’d been nominated for the Morehead Scholarship at UNC. As Emma says:
She is number one in her class, went to governor’s school for science this past summer, and went to Space Camp a couple of years ago. She is the number 2 singles player on the tennis team and plays on the #1-seeded doubles team (which is undefeated right now at 10-0), but her passion is softball. She should be all-conference in both tennis and softball this year. She is also a starter (point guard) on the girl’s basketball team. She serves as one of two students on a juvenile crime prevention committee with other members of the community.
She also has a recruiting video for softball here – which made me think… what if we could YouTube our applications to college? Kids today…
Anyway, Emma wants to put together a mock interview to prepare Hayley for the Morehead and wants to ask the collective wisdom of our crowd, “what questions would you ask a nominee in the interview?”
I’m the wrong person to ask, not just because I wasn’t a Morehead, but because I’ve always had serious problems with the scholarship and the way they run things. I’m not saying it isn’t a great scholarship – all things considered, it has to be one of the greatest opportunities offered to any high school student in America, no lie – but for some reason, it always made me crazy.
Back in the ’80s, I wasn’t the only one who bristled at the cadre of British sub-royalty who owned castles and got a free ride to the University of North Carolina, and repaid the favor by pouring Pimm’s apple liquor on anyone in the way of their drunken rampages. Of course, I changed my mind when I joined them in that pursuit (philosophical consistency not being one of my strong suits at the time) but I still understood the dynamic to be problematic.
Later on, as the leadership of the Morehead changed, the people they brought in as Morehead Scholars changed. The artists, goofballs, crazy thinkers, musicians and self-styled poets that made the program so interesting became a minority as more and more Future Bankers of America moved in. I might as well add that there were a lot more religious types, which I can complain about, because this is my blog.
It reached a defining moment last year when my wife – herself an artist goofball crazy-thinker musician and self-styled poet Morehead Scholar – was asked (like most alums) to go through the nominations and pick out the ones that seemed the most compelling. NONE of the kids she selected went to the next round. Demoralizing.
That said, the Morehead program is still unbelievably valuable to UNC – the outside influence of kids from other parts of the country, and the best and brightest from within the state – largely makes Carolina what it is. Without the Morehead, the Johnston, and the various other scholarships (not to mention el Deano), UNC might have just turned into Michigan with better weather.
So here comes Hayley, a valedictorian with a wicked arm from the crouched catcher’s position, an excellent slide into 2nd, and a degree from Space Camp. She’s the kind of gal we need. What would you ask in your mock interview?