Character Choices Expression Contest Scholarship Winners

The panel of judges spent a lot of time reading, reviewing and trying their best to whittle down the pile of finalists to just ONE winner. It came down to three exemplary students – who all just happened to be juniors at Bradford Academy. With an open vote, the winner of the First Annual Character Choices Expression Contest was finally named…

Congratulations William Smith, the Character Choices Expression Contest Scholarship Winner!

When Sid Faucette and Sarah Wildey learned of the tough decision the panel of judges had in choosing just one winner, they donated another $1,000 to divide among both of the runner-ups!

Congratulations to our runner-ups, Shane Philbin and Gabriella Mallory, who will each receive a $500 scholarship.

William Smith
Bradford Academy Junior
$1,000 Scholarship Winner
Character Trait – Perseverance


A quiet and focused young man who was encouraged to enter a writing contest by his English teacher, Miss Stotz, never thought he would come out on top! Throughout his education, applying for scholarships was a necessity. He used to think to himself, “How will I become rich? Happy? Or stable?” Being raised by his father who worked hard to provide all of those things for his family, William Smith knew by 8th grade he needed to start making some changes for his own success. Being at the difficult age of thirteen, Smith started choosing interests such as martial arts and skateboarding as he worked to change his appearance. Feeling uncomfortable with himself as a person, there was something that changed his perspective of himself. The day Will won an award for showing integrity was the day and from that moment on, Will started to pay closer attention to his actions and behaviors. He uses the traits daily and they remain in the back of his mind to this day.

Winning this contest doesn’t mean the end for Will, it means more motivation to do more and make his father even more proud. By working hard, staying focused and listening to others, Will has come to understand that all of these traits can be an asset to him if he filters the good from the bad. He knows if he hadn’t changed his mindset back in 8th grade, he wouldn’t be where he is today.

I know it’s hard for some people, but it’s all about perspective. If you make it a part of your life, it can be easy,” Will said in closing.

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Shane Philbin
Bradford Academy Junior
$500 Scholarship Winner
Character Trait – Integrity

shaneShane Philbin was born and raised in Detroit. Growing up in a predominately African American city and school district, he found himself ostracized for being Caucasian. Throughout his life, he has worked to stay connected with people from all walks of life, but most importantly strived to find people with similarities and interests similar to his. In his free time, he enjoys playing the guitar and learning new things by watching documentaries, reading about history and learning about world news. He labels himself as an overachiever who truly enjoys studying.

Shane took the opportunity to write his story because a friend encouraged him to do so. He was excited to have the opportunity to share his story and he felt his story would, hopefully, inspire others. He hopes that others are able to relate to his story and feel confident to share theirs with others as well. When asked about the Character Choices program, Shane said he uses the traits as his guideline each month to become a better person. He takes the time to look deeper into each trait and works his hardest to utilize those traits in his everyday life. Shane’s advice to others is, ”don’t try to fit in. Don’t change to fit in. Don’t feel that you have to go with the flow of others, be yourself and find your own niche!”

[infobox maintitle=”Read Shane’s Winning Entry HERE” subtitle=”” bg=”blue” color=”white” opacity=”off” space=”30″ link=””]

Gabriella Mallory
Bradford Academy Junior
$500 Scholarship Winner
Character Trait – Perseverance & Courage

gabriellaUpon meeting Gabriella, she is more than what meets the eye. A high school junior who works two jobs and finds the positive in just about everything. Gabriella wanted to write her story to prove that some things look “peachy-keen” and easy, but it does not happen without working hard to get to where she is now. Overcoming negativity has given her hope for a successful future. She strives to believe in herself and influences others to do the same. The Character Choices program has helped her dismiss judgment of others because everyone is fighting a battle others know nothing about. Everyone has problems and they have their own way of dealing with them.

“I have learned that not all situations need a reaction,” Gabriella said. This summer Gabriella will be working at a boutique called Vista Maria, a girls care program that helps young girls feel supported to make it through life. She felt drawn to work for them because her sister was in and out of the program so she felt connected to the program’s mission. She is happy to be working there for her second summer in a row. As Gabriella will be working for Vista Maria, she will also work as a hostess for a local restaurant. She believes all dreams are attainable and wants others to know, “don’t give up, that’s the worst thing you can do. Time will go on but any dream is reachable if you work toward it. Anything is possible if you really try!”

[infobox maintitle=”Read Gabriella’s Winning Entry HERE” subtitle=”” bg=”blue” color=”white” opacity=”off” space=”30″ link=””]

Thank you to everyone that participated in the Choice’s First Annual Character Choices Expressions Contest!