Meet the 2023 Scholars

Get to know the hopes, dreams, and talents of this year's winners.

Lucy P.

Undergraduate Recipient

"Write a letter to your younger self during a key moment in your life addressing one or more of the following: words of encouragement, lessons you have learned and/or challenges you have overcome."

Hi middle-school-Lucy! How’s it going? Never mind, I know the answer. Honestly, I remember it a little too vividly for my liking. My condolences for all of seventh grade, but the good news is, from what I can tell, that’s a rough year for everyone. So here you are, a month into eighth grade, at the ripe age of thirteen, having a little bit of an anxiety attack in the middle of first period. Not fun, believe me, I remember. I also remember just what you’re feeling right now, as you stare at your hands and try to breathe normally. You feel like you’re losing your mind. Like you’re crazy, and you can't breathe, and you’ll get locked up in one of those facilities you just learned about in that documentary in health class. Like you’ll feel this way for the rest of your life. Now, five years later, I can say with some confidence that you will. And you won’t. It’s complicated, and probably not what you want to hear. I can assure you though, it does get so much better, just maybe not in the way you expected. Eighth grade has its highs and lows. You meet your best friend, and later you laugh about how long it took to actually talk to her. You get a role in the school musical, Alice in The Addams Family, and have such an incredible time that you continue to do theatre in high school. You finally graduate middle school. As for the lows… that anxiety? That feeling you get in your chest whenever you think about your health, future, or basically anything else? It doesn’t just disappear. We are and will always be an anxious person. It comes with the territory as someone with a chronic illness. It's terrifying sometimes, when you don't know what's happening in your body. When you don't know whether a cough is a cold, or a lung infection, or just your brain playing tricks on you. When your pancreas could stop working any second. When you have to be on top of your many, many treatments. So I still feel anxious, of course. The difference now is in how I handle it. I know you, middle-school-Lucy, and I know your idea of a coping mechanism is locking everything up and distracting yourself with a television show. I’m graduating from high school tomorrow. Five years have changed me more than you could ever imagine. I have an incredible group of friends, discovered new hobbies and interests, and lived through a global pandemic. And I’m scared of what’s in store for me next, but excited too, because I know how to handle my anxiety now. I know I can’t compartmentalize all of my fears. That it helps to talk to the people around me: my friends, my family, and my doctors. That it’s okay to feel this anxiety and I’m not going insane. So when I tell you it gets better, it's true. You'll get there, High-school-graduate-Lucy

Lucy P.'s Artwork

Lucy P.'s Achievements

  • Advanced Treble and Mixed Chorus, section leader, 2019-2023
  • Model Atlanta Regional Commission, 2021-2022
  • Legislative Victory Fellowship, fellow, 2020-2021
  • National Honor Society, 2021-2023
  • RAT Book Club, vice president/co-founder, 2021-2023
  • Lilburn Day Camp, camp aide, 2019-2023
  • Onstage Atlanta, theatre aide/performer, 2019-2021
  • Colegio Delibes Salamanca Exchange Program, 2022
  • Young Georgia Justice Student Coalition, digital team, 2021
  • Decatur High School Writing Center, tutor, 2022