Apr 24, 2012
The Power of One high school student
Tiffany Song, a student from Northern Guilford High School, approached us last year about doing her senior project on WTW. Below is her story in her words. Tiffany, thank you for all your hard work! We have no doubt that you will succeed as you move into college and beyond.
As my senior year in high school draws to a close, I keep reminiscing about a few things. I often find myself thinking about the moments and milestones that have defined my four years in high school. There’s the typical stuff, like The First Day and Homecoming and my first AP exam and Prom. However, there’s also a not-so-typical milestone that especially stands out in my mind: The Senior Project.
Every year, the seniors at my high school have to commit to what is called a “senior project.” This lengthy process, which includes an 8 to 10 page research paper on a topic we feel drawn to and twenty plus hours on a “project” that is relevant to our research, is no easy feat. Despite the hard work, there’s never been a time when I thought of my project with Wine to Water as labor. In a way, it’s been one of the pinnacle moments of my senior year.
I’m kind of an environmental geek, so I knew early on that I wanted my focus to be on water resource issues. For a while I struggled with finding a project to fit in with my focus, but by means of a family friend I finally found Wine to Water. Little did I know how big of an impact this project would end up having on me. Through Wine to Water, I also met my unforgettable mentor, Josh Elliott, who helped me with every point possible. With Josh, I set a goal of $500.00, which is enough to put a water well in Cambodia.
After setting my goal, the challenge became creating the wine tasting events themselves. It’s actually surprisingly easy to set up an event once you get your venue though; in fact, it can even be a simple event with family and friends. I ended up having two events at Rio Grande, a Mexican restaurant in Summerfield, NC, after getting help setting them up. Both Josh and Rio Grande’s owner, Gonzo, were very cooperative and supportive, and I wouldn’t have been able to take part in this experience without them. For two nights, Josh and I manned a little wine booth in the restaurant; as guests sampled wine, we talked about what WTW was and the goal of my senior project. Not only was it a great event, but it was very reaffirming to see how generous people were. One anonymous lady even donated $100.00! At the end of the day, I walked away with an awesome learning experience and a spring in my step, in addition to an unbelievable $632.00 of donations and sales.
To finish off my project after the two tasting events, I visited the Wine to Water office in Boone, NC. It was really cool to meet some of the members of WTW and to check out things like the clay filtration pots and photos, which had been taken from around the world. I remember thinking how remarkable it was that such an unassuming office was home to one of the most impactful charity organizations I’ve worked with.
The senior project has been finished and graded for quite some time, and all thoughts now focus on graduation. Still, I keep coming back to it; it’s been so much more than a school assignment. I learned so many things from working with Wine to Water, and the personal gains from this project have been enormous. People often think that one person is too tiny to act. My senior project with Wine to Water taught me that though one person’s actions may not change the world, the world may change for someone who needs a hand. I went into the project hoping to create positive change, never even imagining how much it would change me.