This post was written by Beth Pann, NSHSS Director of Development & Outreach on behalf of the Case Foundation.
When Claes Nobel, senior member of the family that established the Nobel Prizes and co-founder of the National Society of High School Scholars (NSHSS), first learned of the Case Foundation’s Be Fearless campaign, he shared his own reflections on what we can accomplish when we overcomes our own fears, “The qualities of love, truth and compassion have been the guiding stars of my life and continue to give me courage. The World Betterment Legacy of my uncle Dr. Alfred Nobel inspired me to pursue my passion for Universal Peace and Environmental Sustainability. It is my hope that young scholars today find the inspiration to bravely fulfill their dreams.”
NSHSS scholars, whom Mr. Nobel believes will one day be the next Nobel Laureates, are pushing the envelope on changing the world for both themselves as well as for others around them. NSHSS is pleased to have been selected by the Case Foundation to team up on a program aimed at celebrating fearless role models during the Back to School season. Part of the foundation’s larger “Be Fearless” initiative, the campaign aims to honor these inspirational figures by inviting participants to share their own stories of who taught them to be fearless with Instagram video.
To participate, simply visit the Case Foundation’s Facebook page and enter.
The more than 900,000 scholars from 160 different countries who have been inducted into NSHSS since 2002 inspire us daily, and we recognize how they regularly teach us to be fearless in new and unexpected ways. These scholars embrace the core principles of the Foundation’s Be Fearless campaign by making big bets, experimenting, making failure matter, reaching beyond their bubble, and letting urgency conquer fear.
Two of our scholars wanted to share their own stories about who taught them to be fearless with you today: NSHSS Scholar Alec Urbach, CEO of Alec Urbach Productions, and founder of Giving from the Ground Up, a 501c3 public charity, knows a thing or two about taking bold risks. Reflecting on fearlessness,
Alec says: My brother taught me to be fearless when, already renowned as a violin prodigy, he began traversing the country for the sole purpose of performing Concerts for a Cure to raise money to fight pediatric neurological disease. This wasn’t something that people did, but he did it anyway because he believed it was right. My response to “fearlessness” is that there is something to be said for respecting our fears. We should respect the fear of failure; it will teach us to succeed. We should respect the fear of rejection; it will teach us to accept and bounce back. We should respect the fear of not knowing; it will teach us to learn.
For Loren A. Morris, an NSHSS Scholar from Schertz, TX, and St. Mary’s University freshman in San Antonio, being fearless was not an attribute that she experienced as a young child. Loren shared:
Each new day began with the fear of my biological mother not being home to care for me and my siblings. My young life was so full of fear and instability that I was always afraid and angry. Once taken from my biological mother, I was moved from foster home to foster home before finally ending up in a children’s shelter. I lived in a place that erased all my identity and disconnected me forever from my sisters and brothers. It was not until I was adopted into a wonderful family that my new parents, Grady and Juanita Morris, began to instill in me the will to truly “feel” again. At first, I refused to let them love me because I could not understand why they cared so much. Through them I learned to face my fears head on; to embrace new challenges with excitement; and to dare to dream. Their continuous love and support has literally dared me to be “fearless” and live again. They always say, “Loren, follow us as we follow God.” And, this is an awesome “fearless” journey.
These scholars have already found “the inspiration to bravely fulfill their dreams” as Nobel hopes all young people will one day through their fearlessness.
Inspired by the Case Foundation’s efforts to encourage changemakers to take risks, be bold and make failure matter, NSHSS is proud to announce that it is establishing the NSHSS #BeFearless Scholar Award this fall to inspire more young leaders who demonstrate outstanding leadership, scholarship, and commitment to their communities to Be Fearless. Learn more at www.nshss.org.