Duxbury High School Student Wins Top AFS Schools Scholarship

Sarah Lillys

Duxbury High School, in Duxbury, Massachusetts, was named one of the 65 AFS Top Schools for 2015. They have been hosting and sending AFS students for over 50 years! They are extremely supportive of AFS, providing funding and special services for hosted students and an AFS club. Additionally, the school hosts an exchange weekend every year in October and the community supports an AFS information night each year. To add to their list of accolades, Sarah Lillys, a Duxbury student, won a Top Schools Scholarship for $1,000 towards a year abroad in Spain for submitting an exemplary essay on what it means to be a global citizen.

Sarah’s definition of global citizenship includes the following: “There can be many dimensions to being a global citizen. First, being a global citizen means that you are a socially and politically aware person no matter where you are. Also, a global citizen actively works to create more justice – particularly for human rights and to make the world a safer and better place for the future…A global citizen tried to understand the importance and value that diversity has.”

Sarah also shared with us her thoughts on winning this prestigious award:

“I have thought even more about how I can contribute to the community in Spain since I submitted this essay. I had never thought that much about global citizenship, but after I wrote the essay I feel as if I can do so much more when I am in Spain. My school has been very supportive in my journey to Spain for the year. Not only have they recognized me for winning the scholarship, but I also got a lot of help with the admission process. My guidance counselor encouraged me to go on this adventure before I was even sure if I was leaving officially, and two teachers wrote me two amazing recommendation letters in support of the process.

After I wrote the essay and submitted it, many things have happened. The biggest thing is that I was placed with my host family. I will be living with a mother and her daughter in Montmeló, Barcelona. It is a small family, however I am glad it is this small, because then we can grow close together. I have also received two other scholarships. One has come from my church, which is graciously giving me $2,500. I have also been given $250 from the Bonnie Jernigan Memorial Scholarship. Bonnie was very active with AFS in our town, and her daughter used to babysit me! Every bit helps, and I am almost overwhelmed by all of cooperation. The process is a lot of work, but the experience will be worth it. All of the help has made it so much better and easier, and I could not be more grateful.”

A bit more about Bonnie Jernigan:

Bonnie Jernigan was a dedicated AFS volunteer in the Greater Duxbury Chapter of Mass Bay, bringing an energy and enthusiasm that helped spread the AFS presence beyond Duxbury and into other local communities. Sadly, she lost her life to brain cancer in December 2013. During her years with AFS she was chapter chair, publicity chair, fundraiser, and enthusiastic cheerleader. Additionally, she and her family hosted two AFS students and sent their son and daughter on AFS programs abroad. Bonnie loved and lived the AFS mission of spreading peace through intercultural learning. To commemorate Bonnie and her commitment to the AFS mission, her family has established a memorial fund that provides scholarships to students going on semester or year programs from the Greater Duxbury Chapter and need-based scholarship aid to a student or students from the Mass Bay Area Team. Bonnie’s love for the mission and adventurous spirit lives on through her family’s generous creation of this scholarship.

To follow is some press coverage of some of the other outstanding 2015 AFS Top Schools:
Piedmont High Honored with '2015 Top AFS National School' Award- California
AFS honors Chamblee Charter High School with the 2015 Top AFS School Award- Georgia
Wethersfield receives 2014 Top AFS School Award- Illinois
AFS honors Hempfield Area for commitment, open doors- Pennsylvania
Rossview High Among Top AFS Schools- Tennessee