Phillip C. Showell student wins Carson Scholars Fund Award

Date Published: 
June 19, 2015

This spring, outgoing fifth-grader Brynn McCabe was named a 2015 Carson Scholar, capping her experience at Phillip C. Showell Elementary School.

The Carson Scholars Fund awards $1,000 college scholarships to students in grades 4 to 11.

PCS guidance counselor Cheryl Carey figures the best way for students to win prestigious awards is just to apply. Every year, she invites top students who meet the 3.75 GPA requirement to write the essay for a school-wide contest. This year, after McCabe’s was chosen from 15 submissions, she forwarded the application, essay and recommendation letters to the national scholarship committee.

PCS has had eight other winners since 2001, all listed on a school trophy.

“If you don’t ever try, you won’t ever win,” Carey said.

Of two essay topics (“How does helping others make you feel good,” or

“Why do you love reading,” McCabe said), she chose the latter.

“I’ve always loved to read, and I thought I would have more evidence for that one,” she said.

She was particularly drawn to the biography of Olympic gymnast Gabby Douglas.

“Her family had, like, no money and they lived in their car,” McCabe said. “And then she went to go train, and she left her family just to do what she loved, and that, like, inspired me.”

A fan of dance and gymnastics herself, McCabe was inspired that the gold-medalist was willing to take such risks to pursue her dream.

Because the national scholarship is all about academics and community service, McCabe also started volunteering more, to become well-rounded.

In school, McCabe was a mentor to a second-grader. Outside, she volunteered at Selbyville’s Community Food Pantry and the local beach cleanup.

McCabe was “really surprised” when her award was eventually announced over the loud speaker at school. At a recent dinner in Baltimore, McCabe and other winners met neurosurgeon Ben Carson himself, and received a signed copy of the book “Gifted Hands: the Ben Carson Story.”

McCabe offered some competition advice to other students: “Just try it, because even if you don’t get it, you at least participated in an opportunity.”