Where Am I In 10 Years Essay Contest

Jemma Leech, a 10-year-old who was one of our Persons of the Week last month, has cerebral palsy, an incurable condition that impairs her ability to communicate. Until now she has communicated with the world by tapping a touch screen with a xylophone stick as her mom steadied her hand. It is a time-consuming and often exhausting process, yet she has managed to write award-winning, intimate and wise poetry.

Last week , Leech received an early birthday present, a new $15,000 computer donated by a Swedish company that was made aware of Jemma's condition by a report on ABC affiliate KTRK in Houston. The machine allows her eyes to scan the letters instead of having to tap them out with her arm, so she will be able to communicate without any assistance.

"This gift will no doubt change my life." Jemma told ABC News. "This wondrous machine will enable me to talk to my friends."

She'll need intensive training on the new machine, but if all goes well Jemma will eventually be able to write with complete independence.

On paper, Leech is a regular 10-year-old who goes to school and plays with her friends, but she has some lofty goals. A lover of music, opera and writing, she someday hopes to win a Grammy, an Oscar and a Nobel Prize in literature.

"All in the same year, please," she adds.

On paper, Leech is a regular 10-year-old, albeit one with some lofty goals. But Jemma has cerebral palsy, a disease for which there is no known cure.

She has proved to have a remarkable talent for writing. Recently, she beat out 1,600 kids in an essay contest after judges unanimously voted her the winner, only to later learn that the budding novelist can't sit up without support.

Click here to read her award-winning essay, "Autobiography" by Jemma Leech

Read "A Christmas Carol 2," Leech's version of Charles Dickens' story in the format of "'Twas the Night Before Christmas"

Unable to communicate until the age of 5, Jemma started tapping a touch screen with a xylophone stick, at that age, while her mom helped her keep her arm steady. Her thoughts came pouring out.

But the process is tedious and exhausting. It took Leech 10 minutes to answer just one question. And though it can take hours to finish typing out one piece of work, the outcome is well worth the wait.

Here is an excerpt from Leech's winning essay about a park near her former home in London, where she lived until she was 5.

"I remember in London the winters were warm and wet. No snow or ice, just rainy gumboot-puddled walks in Brockwell Park, while the summer-packed paddling pool filled of its own accord with rainwater, autumn leaves and rainbows of crisp bags. We disappeared in the secret garden underneath palisades of sleeping creeping clematis and wisteria, swapping dry dark with the wet light as we trailed the paving maze to the fishpond at its heart."

Leech is also a poet. She writes with a style as impressive as her essays. When she was 9, she wrote:

"When I am asleep

I am somebody.

Stripped naked

Of all the trappings of myself.

An empress of lands of plenty,

With sackfuls of love, respect."

"To have a child who consistently ... can completely take your breath away, with their breadth of knowledge and way of expressing it, is pretty amazing," says her father, Perryn Leech.

Read "From Nobody to Somebody," a poem by Jemma Leech.

Her teachers are equally impressed with Leech's talent. "She writes better than me," says Pansy Gee, one of Leech's teachers. "She has been an inspiration."

Not surprisingly, Leech also loves to read.

"I love the Harry Potter books and the Narnia series, too," she says, "And Jane Austen and Shakespeare and Dickens, too. I just love books."

In a few months, Leech will get a new computer that will allow her eyes to scan the letters instead of having to tap them out with her arm. She will be able to communicate without any assistance.

Despite everything, Leech and her parents feel lucky; she has an incredible mind that can overcome many obstacles, they say.

"She can communicate, and others with this condition sometimes can't," says her mother, Caroline. "She wants to be a voice for those people."

Maybe that Nobel prize isn't such a lofty goal after all.

Hanna Siegel contributed to this report.

If you’re a skilled writer, a few hundred (or even a thousand) words is no biggie.

Students that can easily express themselves through writing flock toward scholarships with interesting essays and the scholarships on this list are just that.

All of the below scholarships require an essay entry – some as short as only 250 words – with interesting essay topics that range from safe driving and technology to America heroes and animal activism.

To help better organize your scholarship and internship search, please note that the following scholarships for writers are listed according to deadline, with the earliest deadline appearing at the top of the page. Deadlines that vary will appear at the bottom of each list.

If you enjoy expressing your opinions through writing, the scholarships on this list await your entries.

Scholars Helping Collars

Deadline: 2/15/18
Available to: High School Seniors
Award Amount: $1,000

The Scholars Helping Collars Scholarship is open to current high school seniors. You must submit an essay of between 500 and 1000 words with two to three photos of your volunteer efforts to help animals in need and how that involvement has changed your lives or shaped your perceptions on the importance of animal welfare in order to be considered for this award.

Learn more about the Scholars Helping Collars.

Live Deliberately Essay Contest

Deadline: 3/15/18
Available to: Ages 13-21 Years
Award Amount: 3 Awards of $250

The Live Deliberately Essay Contest is open to all students aged 14 – 21. You must submit an essay of no more than 750 words based on the prompts listed on the sponsor’s website. This year’s prompts will ask you to consider a time in your life when you pursued a path that was “narrow and crooked,” but felt like it was the right path for you. In what ways are/were you able to, as Thoreau advises, walk that path with “love and reverence?” How has navigating that path shaped you into the person you are becoming?

Learn more about the Live Deliberately Essay Contest .

AFSA High School Essay Contest

Deadline: 3/15/2018
Available to: High School Freshmen through High School Seniors
Award Amount: $2,500

The AFSA High School Essay Contest is open to high school students. To be considered, in a 1,000 – to 1250 – word essay, you must identify two cases – one you deem successful and one you deem unsuccessful – where the U.S. pursued an integrated approach to build peace in a conflict – affected country.

Learn more about the AFSA High School Essay Contest .

Brighter Future Scholarship

Deadline: 3/31/2018
Available to: College Freshmen through Graduate Students, Year 5
Award Amount: $500

The Brighter Future Scholarship is available to undergraduate, graduate or law students enrolled at an accredited college or university. You must have a minimum 3.0 GPA and submit 500 word letter of intent that identifies a problem and explains how you intend to use your education as a way to begin solving that problem, thus creating a brighter future.

Learn more about the Brighter Future Scholarship.

NPG 2018 Scholarship Contest

Deadline: 4/20/2018
Available to: High School Seniors through College Juniors
Award Amount: Awards from $750-$2,000

The NPG 2018 Essay Scholarship Contest is open to high school seniors and college freshmen, sophomores and juniors. You must submit an essay of between 500 and 750 words on one environmental issue from the sponsor’s chosen list and explain how it is made worse by population growth and describe what measures you would recommend our nation’s leaders take to ensure we protect our fragile environment for generations to come. You must also be a U.S. citizen or permanent legal resident to qualify for this award.

Learn more about the NPG 2018 Scholarship Contest.

E-Waste Scholarship

Deadline: 4/30/2018
Available to: High School Freshmen through Graduate Students, Year 5
Award Amount: $1,000

The E-waste Scholarship is available to high school, undergraduate or graduate students. You must submit a short statement that completes the sentence “The most important reason to care about e-waste is…” and be U.S. citizen or legal resident to qualify for this award.

Learn more about the E-Waste Scholarship.

Feldco Scholarship

Deadline: 6/15/2018
Available to: College Freshmen through College Seniors
Award Amount: $1,000

The Feldco Scholarship is available to current and prospective college students. To be considered, you must submit a 700 – to 1000 – word essay on the following topic: “How has your family contributed to who you are today?”

Learn more about the Feldco Scholarship.

Immigration Scholarship Essay Contest

Deadline: 7/01/2018
Available to: High School Seniors through Graduate Students, Year 5
Award Amount: $1,500

The Immigration Scholarship Essay Contest is open to U.S. citizens attending or planning to attend an accredited college or university. You must submit an essay of between 800 and 1000 words on one of the five topics related to immigration listed on the sponsor’s website in order to qualify for this award.

Learn more about the Immigration Scholarship Essay Contest.

Love Your Career Scholarship

Deadline: 9/10/2018
Available to: College Freshmen through Graduate Students, Year 5
Award Amount: $1,000

The Love Your Career Scholarship is available to students attending an accredited college or university. You must submit an essay of at least 1,000 words describing at least three steps that you plan to take in the next year to start a path towards having a career that you love in order to qualify for this award. Topics may include: What are your passions that could be turned into a career? What are some ideas you have for a business based on things that you love and are skilled at? You must also interview a professional in your chosen field that has at least three years of experience.

Learn more about the Love Your Career Scholarship.

MajGen Harold W. Chase Prize Essay Contest

Deadline: Varies
Available to: College Freshmen through College Seniors
Award Amount: $3,000

Sponsored by the Marine Corps Gazette, the MajGen Harold W. Chase Prize Essay Contest is open to all Marines on active duty and to members of the Selected Marine Corps Reserve.

The contest honors the essay that proposes and argues for a new and better way of “doing business” in the Marine Corps.

Learn more information about the MajGen Harold W. Chase Prize Essay Contest.

Mary Grant Charles Prize Scholarship

Deadline: Varies
Available to: College Freshmen through College Seniors
Award Amount: Varies

The Mary Grant Charles Prize Scholarship is open to undergraduate students at Tufts University.

You must possess the same creative qualities in the writing of prose and poetry to qualify for this award.

Preference is given to students whose writing reflects an interest in ancestry and genealogy.

Get more information on the Mary Grant Charles Prize Scholarship.

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