Scholarship Winners! Congratulations!

by Coldwell Banker Evergreen Olympic Realty, Inc. on June 11, 2012

We are pleased to share the winning essays in our recent “What Makes a House a Home” contest.  Enjoy reading them!  And, if you know one of these talented high school students make sure to congratulate them. 

 1st Place, $1,000 Scholarship:  Starlynn Simon

 The Fourth Generation

My house is more than wood, nails, windows, shingles and stairs. My house is where every “first” for me has ever taken place, every memory and every moment that has made me, me. My name is Star, I am the youngest of six children and this house is where I was born. I have never had another address besides this one.

My house is neither big, fancy or new, in actuality, it is slightly run down with chipped paint, missing stairs, a few cracked windows and more than a few stray cats living outside. Though there has never been enough room for all the people and children that have been raised here, I honestly wonder if anyone has ever noticed. There is so much more to see, feel and experience here besides room.

My house has been passed down through four generations. My family is from France and this is where my grandparents first moved when they came to America. Every tree, every flower and every plant here was planted by my great grandfather and my great grandmother hands. The lavender trees, the lily of the valley and the iris’ were more than just landscaping for them; this was the only part of France they could feasibly bring with them. When I step inside my home and I see the vases of fresh flowers from the garden, the representation is almost overwhelming. The flowers represent my family coming to America to make a life for themselves, and future generations away from the hardship and death of the war between France and Germany.

My house is more than a shelter. It is filled with the memories of the children that have come and gone from here, the great grandparents and grandparents that have long since passed, memories that can never be moved and a sense of belonging that can never be taken away. This house is made up of four generations of character, integrity, grace, mercy, forgiveness, laughter and tears. This is my families’ home, this is my home, my sanctuary and this is where my heart and spirit will always belong.


2nd Place, $750 Scholarship:  Madeline Seaman

The Memories a Home Holds

 On a warm spring day, the water of the lake sparkles like billions of tiny diamonds. The trees are tall and thick with big green leaves. And you can often hear birds sing as they pluck juicy blueberries from the bushes on the bank in my backyard. It’s the little things like this that remind me to be thankful for my home. But my home isn’t just a house. It’s a place full of memories, old and new. When I walk through my house I see two different homes; the home of my grandparents and the home where I live now, both places filled with love.

In 1995, my grandma and grandpa built a house on the bank of Ward Lake. They lived there happily until tragedy struck in 2005, when my grandma passed from leukemia. I was young, only eight years old, but it was still so hard to walk through the empty house after she was gone. Every time I stepped in the house, the memories came flooding back to me. In the kitchen I remember making crafts with her that had to be baked in the oven. I also remember watching Disney movies in the family room and throwing stuffed animals down the laundry chute, pretending it was a slide.

A couple years later, my grandpa remarried and planned to sell the house. Not wanting to see the house leave the family, my family bought the house and moved in. At first it was strange. I saw two homes in one, the way it was before and the way it was now that I lived there. Every Christmas Eve, we make my grandma’s apple and brie appetizer in the same oven that I made the crafts in. Every time I toss clothes down the laundry chute, I think of her. Whenever we watch a movie in the family room, I remember watching those VHS Disney movies.

Several months ago, I thought I lost my brush behind one of the drawers in the bathroom. I pulled out the drawer to get it and I found several others items instead. So it got me thinking, what other mysteries could the house be hiding? Curious, I continued on the expedition to my parents’ bathroom, the same bathroom that my grandparents had used. I pulled out a drawer and found a hair piece that I instantly knew was my grandma’s. It was truly a special moment to think that it had been waiting for me all those years. But it isn’t just my grandparents’ memories that make my home so special. It’s my family who is loving and caring every day. Together we make new memories of love and laughter in our home. I also know that my grandma is with Jesus in heaven, always watching over me. But with my home, my grandma is still here in a way through the old and new memories and the unconditional love of my family.


3rd Place, $500 Scholarship:  Evan Taylor

Home Sweet Home

Home: “a congenial environment; a social unit formed by a family setting; or a place of origin.” This is the definition of home given by The Merriam-Webster Dictionary (1974). I believe this definition is fantastic and accurately describes what my home means to me.

One reason my house is a home is because it’s a sanctuary where I am surrounded by those who love me. High school can be rough sometimes and hard to deal with, but I know everyday that when I walk in through the front door, everything is going to be just fine. My house is a place where I feel safe; it is a place I trust. I am free to relax, I am free to do homework, I am free to make memories with friends, and I am free to laugh, love, and live with my family. I am never lonely at home and on my worst days someone is always there to cheer me up, whether it is my mom, dad, brother, or sister. Our house is a place where I wake up every morning feeling blessed because of where I live. Blessed because there is nowhere I would rather be than home. Home is place of peace where I can be happy, because if you are not happy at home, you will not be happy anywhere else.

Olympia, Washington is not where I am originally from. I was born in Denver, Colorado but moved to Olympia with my parents when I was less than two years old. Some might say that Denver is my home because that is where I was born. I would disagree. My house in Olympia is my home because that is where I originated as a person. I became who I am today because of this town and the people here who influenced me. I grew up here, Olympia is my home, and my heart and pride lie here. I have traveled to many other foreign cities and towns but none can compare. I have experienced so much within the walls of my house, I lost my first tooth, I learned to ride a bike, I survived an earthquake, I battled through fevers, and celebrated holidays with loved ones. These precious memories both good and bad are part of what make my house my home.

Home is not defined by money or other superficial characteristics. A home can be anywhere or built out of anything. It is not just a shelter; it is a refuge. Homes are not built out of bricks and mortar; houses are. Homes are built out of memories, time, and love. They are improved with the addition of family and friends, not furniture or fancy TV’s. American clergyman Charles Henry Parkhurst once said, “Home interprets heaven. Home is heaven for beginners.” It is a place where you can return from work, school, church, vacations, or just a trip to grocery store thinking, “There is no place like home” (L. Frank Baum).

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