Almost a year after I received the General George S. Patton Scholarship of Honor, I’d like to share a bit about where my journey has taken me. I learned about the scholarship during my last year of studies at Cirkevni gymnazium (my high school). Following graduation, I successfully passed my entrance exams for Charles University in Prague, choosing to major in Psychology and Special Education. In addition to my studies, I spent at least one day a week with a girl who has Prader-Willi Syndrome, and that was a beneficial experience for me. More than anything, it was an opportunity for me to step into the real life of a handicapped person (unfortunately, at school, most of our learning was theoretical, rather than practical application).
My nomination for the Scholarship of Honor really came unexpectedly, although it was certainly joyous news! Not long after that, I was selected into the Erasmus program (European grants for students) and in the fall of 2013, I left to study at Gent University in Gent, Belgium. My experiences there have really been great – getting to know lots of new and inspiring people, realizing how many possibilities there are to study and work in other countries, using my language skills (and even learning a new language!), and, last but not least, experiencing unforgettable experiences. I am so grateful for the opportunity to be able to work with a girl with Down’s Syndrome – getting a glimpse of her daily life, trying to understand her world, etc.
When I received the SOH last year, I had a definite vision of where I was headed, how to utilize the resources which were made available to me through the scholarship, etc. At the moment, my journey seems to be heading another direction, but I still have the same goals – I want to give myself to things that are useful, beneficial, and enriching for others.
What does the Scholarship of Honor mean to me?
The scholarship awakened my interest in the American soldiers who, in one way or other, were connected with World War II and/or the liberation of Czechoslovakia. The opportunity presents itself to meet them personally, as the SOH is given every year in the name of a military hero.
How did the SOH affect me?
The Scholarship of Honor encouraged me in my thinking that trying to be a good community and helping people is always valuable, even if it doesn’t seem so at first.
*Adela is pictured here with Col. Noble Jr.
Personal information (as of December 2012)
High School: graduated June 2012
Higher education: Charles University, Prague – Department of Education (Psychology & Special Education major), 2012-???
Special Courses & Workshops: Art classes (2000-2008), Plzeň Music classes (recorder) (2000-2012), Plzeň Summer animation workshops (2006-2008), Domaslav
Interests & hobbies: From 2009 to 2012, I was actively involved with an event in Plzeň called, “Animania”, as a volunteer working with animation projects and workshops. It was interesting work because, not only did I have the opportunity to learn interesting and new things from experts, but I was also able to help by teaching children things which I had learned in previous years – sharing with them my experience with animation, inspiration, and ideas.
I have a wide variety of hobbies, including fine arts, music, and playing badminton. Independently, in my free time, I created an animated film, “Westtrhák“, in 2008 (https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=XTS_a6mqzyo) and an animated film, “Klíč“ in 2010 (https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=cRdSwwd1X0w). These films were relatively successful in the children’s and amateur film festivals I submitted them to.
Essay (December 2012)
Each person’s life is affected by his or her set of values. Early in life, people’s values are often most influenced by their family or the environment in which they grew up, forming their personality. As adults, however, people often modify their values (sometimes even creating new ones), as well as modifying how they prioritize their values. Values are usually very important in motivating human behavior, influencing it at both a conscious and subconscious level. Values are what drive us and affect the way we view the world. .
Adults truly become adults when they accept responsibility for themselves (their behavior, opinions, actions, etc.). Since we can, to a certain extent, influence our values, we need to choose them carefully, cultivating good quality values which will be socially beneficial. I think that human beings can’t become truly human without people around them and that’s why we should help the people around us and bring something good into their lives. At the same time, however, we shouldn’t forget ourselves and the development of our own skills, abilities, and knowledge, which we can then give back and use in others’ lives. .
Ideally, everyone should try to help others and try to make (within the context of each person’s abilities and limitations, of course) the world around them a better place in which to live - and society would then reward them with prosperity, to an increasing degree… Unfortunately, that does not always happen… .
I try to increase my knowledge (through education), and, when given the opportunity, my life experience with people who are, in society’s view, in some way disadvantaged or handicapped, or considered to be “different” in some way. I am interested in the psychological side of people, which is usually hidden from view, but which, I would say, is often more important than the physical. When a particular thing seems good to me, I’m willing to devote a lot of my time and effort to it, because doing beneficial things for the people around me is one of my goals in life. And, if I am convinced that something has a good purpose, I am glad to be involved with it, even without any financial reward.
I participated in the “Animania” projects as a volunteer for several years, because I saw in these events the possibility of enriching other people’s lives – for instance, a short cartoon (it doesn’t matter that it’s an amateur film) can bring joy, not only to its creators (as a means of self-realization), but also to its viewers, who may, for example, experience several minutes of joy and laughter. Animated films are, without a doubt, an important part of Czech cultural heritage - these types of films have enjoyed quite a long historical tradition and there are lots of really good, quality films having been made here. Culture is a very important part of society – it’s like a mirror, showing us the happy and not-so-happy moments in our nation. It’s important, not only to protect art and culture but, above all, to continue to spread their impact, which is one reason why I try, to the best of my ability, to support, propragate, and co-create elements of art and culture.
In the future, I would like to devote myself to helping and/or enriching the people around me. I am currently studying Psychology and Special Education, which are both very closely connected with society. I chose this area of study because I wanted to study something useful for people, as well as for society, in general. The advantage of psychology (and, more or less, special education) is the fact that it is focused on specific people - concrete individuals. I think this greatly benefits our society – there are approximately seven billion people in the world, and each one is different – each individual has his or her own joys and problems, strengths and handicaps... For the psychologist and, maybe even more so, the special educator, every day is full of practical application. I am looking forward to the day when I will be able to put the things I’ve learned into practice. I have decided that I would particularly like to focus on art therapy.