‘Acceptance of Others’ Scholarship Honors Seniors Who Make A Difference

Written by Kirsten Hein, The Woodgrove Outlander

The Acceptance of Others Scholarship is one award that is a little different from the norm.  Woodgrove seniors can get nominated for this $1000 scholarship simply by standing up for others.

“The Acceptance of Others Scholarship is about rewarding students who support those in need,” said Ryan Bartel Foundation Board Member and mother of Ryan Bartel, Suzie Bartel. “We wanted to do something positive in memory of Ryan and his strong idealism.”

The scholarship was created for graduating seniors to memorialize Ryan, a Woodgrove senior of the class 2015 who committed suicide. According to Mrs. Bartel, Ryan believed that every individual had value and should, therefore, not be prematurely judged.

To qualify for the scholarship, students have to be nominated for the award based on two supporting events that have at least one witness. The nominees should consistently demonstrate acceptance and respect of others, should recognize and embrace the differences of every individual, and should not pass judgment of others at face value. The students should also demonstrate unconditional support and comfort to those who need it, should stand up for what is right, and should not be afraid to say “Enough” to any form of bullying.

“We need to stamp out the bullying and have respect and support for others. Bullies need to realize that their actions can cause someone to commit suicide,” said Mrs. Bartel.

Suicide is the second leading cause of death for 15 to 24 year olds, and studies have shown that peers who are bullied are nine times more likely to commit suicide than someone who has not been bullied.

The scholarship will be presented by one of Ryan’s parents who will also give a speech that explains the background of the award and reasons for how the acts of kindness can save someone’s life. The student who is presented with the award and scholarship will have their name on a plaque placed in the entry hallway. The nomination form is due to the Woodgrove Career Center by April 30th, 2016.

The Ryan Bartel Foundation is also working to grow in size, with hopes to spread throughout Loudoun by sponsoring events like the annual “Rock for Ryan” concert on January 16, and by promoting ‘Crossing Bridges,’ an educational program that teaches kids the importance of the acceptance of others.

According to Mrs. Bartel, the foundation’s goal is “to provide hope for youth/young adults who struggle with self-esteem and motivation to live. We empower them by encouraging, helping, and supporting the creation of their own programs that support others with similar issues. By having them engage in programs that stimulate their interest, we hope to create a feeling of normalcy, along with providing them with a sense of fulfillment, accomplishment, and most importantly, a renewed interest in life.

“As Ryan so aptly put it many times, ‘In the end we’re all human.'”