The recipient of this year’s General George S. Patton Scholarship of Honor awarded through Brian LaViolette Foundation is Simona Schmiedhuberová
Nineteen-year-old Simona Schmiedhuber received the Honorary Scholarship of General George S. Patton at the Pilsen City Hall on Monday, May 24. The scholarship, founded on May 6, 2010 during the celebrations of the 65th anniversary of the liberation of the city of Pilsen by General Patton’s 3rd Army, is awarded through the American Brian LaViolette Foundation. The scholarship recipient has been active as a volunteer in the Pilsen Intergenerational and Volunteer Center TOTEM.
The award was presented by the chairman of the General Patton Scholarship Committee, Petr Liška, together with the Lord mayor of the City of Pilsen, Martin Baxa. Major Joshua J. Passer, Head of the Office of Defense Cooperation of the US Embassy in Prague, and Director of the TOTEM Intergenerational Center Vlasta Faiferlíková also took part in the ceremony. The laureate was accompanied to the ceremony by her father and her younger sister. The presentation virtually followed from the United States by Doug LaViolette, founder of the Brian LaViolette Foundation, and his daughter Kim LaViolette Mosteller, executive director of the foundation, and George Patton Watters, General Patton’s grandson.
Mayor Martin Baxa reminded that the scholarship has been always awarded on the occassion of the Liberation Festival Pilsen, which, however, could not take place as in previous years due to the covid 19 pandemic restrictions. “I am glad that even this unfavorable situation did not prevent us from organizing another round of selection procedures for scholarship holders. In my opinion, Simona Schmiedhuberová, who volunteers at TOTEM in her free time, fulfills the goals that the scholarship pursues through her actions, especially to help others, “said the mayor, among others. He also thanked the American friends for awarding the scholarship, which is not a matter of course and is an expression of their willingness and willingness to mediate the award of young people who are engaged in public service. The Americans, who usually belong to the traditional guests of the Liberation Festival Pilsen, were connected online and expressed their regret that they could not attend the ceremony in person for the second time. They greeted all participants and congratulated the awardee. “I was very impressed by Simona’s essay, which expresses the values she acknowledges,” said Doug LaViolette. Simona Schmiedhuberová is a graduate of the Masaryk Grammar School in Pilsen. In her free time, she has been active in TOTEM for several years. She regularly devotes herself to a 15-year-old autistic girl and to the Internet tutoring of a 1st grade pupil, and she also helps with irregular one-off events organized by TOTEM.
She decided to volunteer when she was asking herself about the meaning of her life. “I thought one never knew when he would die. The next day I may be hit by a car and my short life will end. What, then, would my entire existence mean? I played several social roles for a few years, studied, but otherwise? I realized that I was wasting the time I was given, and I finally want to use it properly. No minute devoted to a good cause will ever be wasted, “said Simona.
After graduation, the laureate wants to study psychology, primary school teaching or special pedagogy. “Each of these professions will allow me to better fight mockery and bullying in teams. This issue has been discussed for many years, and yet society is still fighting in vain against it. How many more children will have to give up their lives and deny their personalities just to fit in with their peers? ”She wrote in her essay. She wants to continue volunteering. “I thought that this activity would take my time and not go hand in hand with studying. But on the contrary, volunteering charges me and gives me energy, “added the award-winning student. General Patton’s honorary scholarship is intended for high school students who, after graduation, are about to join the military or firefighters, paramedics, or other public security or social services. It is a competition in which every student of the Pilsen high school can participate. They must write an essay expressing and justifying their decision to devote themselves to this activity. The winner is chosen by an expert jury composed of members of the General Patton Scholarship Commission. The scholarship is $ 1,000. Last year Martin Volf won the award. The Brian LaViolette Foundation, which awards the Honorary Scholarship, was founded by the LaViolette family in memory of their 15-year-old son and brother, Brian LaViolette, who died by accident while swimming in 1992. It was Brian’s strong determination to serve his company that inspired the Foundation to enable other young people to realize. Brian’s dreams and plans. Since the founding of the Brian LaViolette Foundation, more than 1000 scholarships have been awarded.
Photo: Martin Pecuch