June 18th, 2024  |  Students & Alumni

Celebrating Winners of the "Walk A Mile In My Shoes" Essay Contest

Arete Scholars is thrilled to announce the winners of our "Walk A Mile In My Shoes" essay contest. This contest provided an opportunity for students to share their unique journeys and perspectives, and we are proud to highlight the stories of our two exceptional winners: Edome from Louisiana, and Aida from Georgia.


Edome's essay is a powerful testament to resilience and determination. Edome's narrative begins with a metaphor that sets the tone for her entire piece: she sees a pair of shoes not just as footwear, but as a symbol of a person's journey through life. Her own shoes, marked by dirt and scratches, tell a story of overcoming immense challenges.

Edome describes her experience as a straight-A student, the pressures of excelling in both academics and sports, and the added burden of her family's struggles during a time of war.

Edome's story is one of pushing through fear and hardship, always with the thought of her family's sacrifices driving her forward. Her essay reminds us that while the outward appearances of success might be visible, the internal battles and personal struggles are often hidden but are integral to shaping who we become. Read her essay here.


Aida's essay shares a deeply personal journey of overcoming anxiety and finding solace in nature and creative expression. Aida recounts her struggle with stage fright and social anxiety, vividly describing her first attempt to present her work publicly and the progress she made over time. Her victory at a school-wide poetry competition stands as a testament to her growth and courage.

Aida also finds peace in the natural world and through artistic endeavors. She shares moments of tranquility found in the woods, sketching plants, and playing the piano, illustrating how these activities help her manage anxiety and provide a sense of purpose. Despite uncertainties about her future, Aida has a clear vision of wanting to become a farmer, seeking a life connected to the land and the rhythms of nature.

Her reflections reveal a profound appreciation for the beauty of the world and a desire to live a life that honors this beauty. Read her essay here.

Honoring Their Journeys

Both Edome and Aida's essays highlight the importance of understanding and empathizing with the individual paths we each walk. Their stories are not just about the challenges they have faced but about the resilience and strength they have developed along the way.

As winners of the "Walk A Mile In My Shoes" essay contest, Edome and Aida will each receive a pair of limited edition custom Arete Scholars Vans sneakers. These sneakers symbolize their achievements and serve as a reminder of their remarkable journeys and the support from the Arete Scholars community.

We congratulate Edome and Aida on their well-deserved recognition and look forward to seeing how they continue to inspire and make a difference in their communities. Their essays are a powerful reminder of the diverse and profound experiences of Arete Scholars students and the incredible potential within each of them.