Our 2017 Hackard Law Academic Scholarship contest was a great success - this year we had nearly 300 contestants who submitted their applications. I want thank each and every one of you who put your time and energy into participating. It's a blessing to know there are so many students in our country who are a credit to their families and their communities.
I'd say that even more than last year, making a decision on a final winner was very tough. You have shown me through your essays how much you care for your elderly loved ones and take action on their behalf. These days, the media often paints the millennial generation as selfish and lazy, but that is an unfair characterization, especially after I've read many of your submissions. Students from every corner of the country wrote us, and the stories were beautiful and heartening, even in the midst of tragedy and sadness.
I read a great many touching accounts: the young woman who devotes extra time to caring for an elderly grandparent suffering from memory loss, the young man who takes the initiative in creating a crisis center for seniors. Simple acts like driving your grandmother or grandfather to the doctor or church on a regular basis, or just stopping by to cheer them up, mean so much more than we might think. I learned how many of you have encountered hardship in your own lives, but you still have been there for your elderly loved ones in their time of need.
I am proud of you for all you've done, though I'm also a little bit sad I can only award just one winner for our contest. Last weekend I went through all of the essays, and after some long reflection, I narrowed down my choice to a single contestant.
We congratulate Heather Phillips, a senior at Texas Wesleyan University, on winning the 2017 Hackard Law Academic Scholarship.
To each of you who applied, I'm grateful for your participation. Our 2018 Hackard Law Scholarship will be open for applications, and we will announce next year's theme soon.
I'd like to thank all of you again for your thoughtful efforts, and I wish each of you both success and happiness for the future.