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Guest Blogger- Willow Podraza

Today's guest blogger is Willow Podraza, 4-time Carson Scholar. Willow is the 2012 Maryland State Champion of Intermediate Prepared Speeches.

Interested in being a guest blogger? Email katie@carsonscholars.org to find out how!

Hi, my name is Willow Podraza and I am a four-time Carson Scholar.  I am in the 8th grade and attend Matapeake Middle School in Stevensville, Maryland.  Being a Carson Scholar has meant a great deal to me.  I am proud to be one of two students in my school recognized with this great honor.

With this great honor bestowed upon me it has allowed me to learn of the many amazing deeds of other scholars which inspires me to do even more to give back to my own community.  Though I have been volunteering at the Animal Resource Foundation caring for homeless animals, and I make meals for the Our Haven Homeless Shelter, this year I wanted to do something more for those who are not as fortunate as I am.  For Christmas Eve I made cookies and care bags full of toiletries, gloves, and other necessities.  We even asked McDonald's to donate free coffee and dessert cards to include in their bags.

This past year I had an extra special experience.  Through my 4-H club I compete in our annual public speaking contest.  However, last year was a far different ride than in the past!  Though I have always done well in my public speaking last year, I continued to win Champion at every level, and I eventually won the title of State Champion of Intermediate Prepared Speech at the University of Maryland where all of the county champions from around the State of Maryland competed.

When I am not at school, I enjoy riding and showing my horse Winnie, or playing one of my musical instruments.  To add to playing my saxophone, which I play in my school's concert band, marching band, and jazz band, I've learned to play the guitar and bass guitar this past year.

I've thought a lot about what I want to become in the future but, as I've learned more about so many careers that are out there, I'm not exactly sure what I want to do when I grow up.  I do have a passion for music and for community service and plan to always make them both a part of whatever I settle on doing when I grow up.  I'm glad to be a part of such a generous organization as the Carson Scholars Fund and I hope to continue to be in the future.

View Willow's award-winning speech, "Ask not what your country can do for you..."