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Nine Noble Virtues of the Ancient Vikings: My Daughter’s Scholarship Project

When Whitney, a high school senior with perfect grades and almost-perfect test scores, is on the search for college scholarships, what’s...
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March 19, 2020
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When Whitney, a high school senior with perfect grades and almost-perfect test scores, is on the search for college scholarships, what’s the logical next step? She starts her own scholarship program for fellow students, of course. And just to make it interesting, she plans nine separate character-based scholarships derived from each of the Nine Noble Virtues of the Ancient Vikings, because Viewmont High School’s mascot is the Viking.

These are the type of women my wife and I have the pleasure of raising. As parents of three daughters (including Whitney) and a son, we’ve watched women-centric organizations and programs proliferate over the time we’ve raised our children. I’ve frequently wondered how we might rise to the challenge of empowering our children to understand their great potential. We’ve tried to expose our children to opportunities in education, athletics, STEM, community, hard work, and service. I’ve always wondered whether our efforts would sufficiently inspire our daughters to follow successful female role models in our entrepreneurial community.

Even if our efforts as parents have fallen short in some ways (well, my efforts probably fall short, but my wife’s efforts are always commendable), I’ve been delighted to watch Whitney develop this scholarship program in the same way a startup founder begins a new business. Here are just a few of the entrepreneurial tasks she’s performed over the last six months:

  • Research the competition by studying existing scholarships and their requirements
  • Seek mentors by meeting and talking with successful non-profit directors (thanks Kate!) and teachers
  • Set up strategic partnerships with the high school administration and county education foundation to administer the scholarships
  • Perform test marketing (student nominations) to establish student interest
  • Create marketing and materials and a sales pitch to approach local business for donations
  • Fundraise $9,000 in seed money (she’s not there, yet, but getting closer each day)
  • Recruit student body officers and members of the FBLA to help with the fundraising efforts
  • Establish a network of teachers for administration of the scholarship process
  • Plan a scholarship presentation event for the entire school and its administration

Needless to say, she’s been as busy as a startup founder, made no money just like a startup founder, and still lives in her parents’ basement.

So what are the Nine Noble Virtues of the Ancient Vikings? Courage, Truth, Honor, Fidelity, Discipline, Hospitality, Industriousness, Self-Reliance, and Perserverance. If we could only acquire a few of these Virtues, we would be doing well, I think. What a great opportunity for teachers and students to work together to recognize those students who demonstrate character based on one or more of these Virtues. And the sponsors seem to agree, as they’ve energetically elected to sponsor specific Virtues that are important to them.

While Whitney has done well for herself academically, excelled in her athletics, and been a good example for her sisters and brother, I admit that I view her ingenuity and initiative with this scholarship program as a sort of capstone project that demonstrates many of the character traits she seeks to reward in her fellow students. Well done, Whitney, on becoming a true Viking!

[This post was originally published March 28, 2017, on LinkedIn by Jeff Holman.]

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Jeff Holman
Jeff Holman draws from a broad background that spans law, engineering, and business. He is driven to deploy strategic business initiatives that create enterprise value and establish operational efficiencies.
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