Trinity Junior Wins Scholarship in HOPE Worldwide Essay Competition

Pauline Lake ’13, inspired by Martin Luther King, Jr.’s Call to Service

​HARTFORD, CT, January 31, 2012 – Pauline Lake ’13, whose passion for volunteerism had its roots in a food pantry when she was in the 7th grade, has won a scholarship in an essay competition sponsored by HOPE Worldwide, a charitable organization that delivers sustainable, community-based services to the needy, and the Massachusetts Department of Children and Families (DCF) in partnership with the Boston Church of Christ.

Lake, a Posse Scholar who is co-majoring in computer science and educational studies, finished second in the competition that focused on Martin Luther King, Jr., and his commitment to helping and serving others.  For her effort, Lake won a $1,000 scholarship to be used to defray the cost of fees and books. She received her prize earlier this month at the Lawrence High School Performing Arts Center in Lawrence, MA.

This is not the first time that Lake has been honored for her scholastic achievements. In September 2010, Lake and Nina Limardo, who has since graduated, were feted in Washington D.C. after taking first place in a competition designed to promote nutritious food choices and physical activity for children as part of First Lady Michelle Obama’s “Let’s Move!” initiative. The project grew out of Trinity’s Humanitarian Free and Open Software (HFOSS) program.

Lake, who aspires to be a high school computer technology teacher, helped develop an Android application called “Work it Off!” that demonstrates to children the correlation between the caloric content of the food they eat and the calories that they burn. Using voice recognition, a child can say the name of a food, whereupon the number of calories it contains is displayed. Lake and Limardo developed the app in just 10 days, and along with the recognition that they earned, the HFOSS team received $10,000 for the winning design.

Orphaned at the age of 12 and without any close family members, Lake has long been a client of the foster care program run by the Massachusetts DCF. She is a gifted and dedicated student, having been named a Posse Scholar from Chicago, where she attended and graduated from high school. 

According to The Posse Foundation’s Web site, since 1989, the organization has identified, recruited and trained 4,223 public high school students with “extraordinary academic and leadership potential.” Posse Scholars, many of whom might have been overlooked during traditional college selection processes, receive four-year, full-tuition leadership scholarships from Posse’s partner institutions of higher education. Trinity is a participating institution, and Lake said the College was among the three schools that she wanted to attend. Posse Scholars graduate at a 90 percent rate.

Despite the fact that Lake attended high school in Chicago, she is considered a Massachusetts resident, and is still under the watchful eye of that state’s DCF.

Deborah Drake, a volunteer for HOPE Worldwide who is familiar with Lake, said Lake and the other students who participated in the Martin Luther King, Jr. essay competition “have overcome many obstacles in their lives. They’re good students and a tribute to society.”

Lake, 21, said she first learned of the contest in late December and had about two weeks to submit her essay. In it, she not only discussed her stint as a volunteer at the food pantry and her creation of the smart phone app, but she wrote about her work at Trinfo.Cafe, Trinity’s neighborhood technology center. Although Lake first worked there as a volunteer, she was hired in the summer of 2011 to help manage the facility, which was created to help close the digital divide in Hartford.

“I find that teaching students is very rewarding because I am able to share my knowledge with them and they help me better myself as both a person and as a teacher, an experience that can’t be bought,” she wrote.

Beginning February 28, Lake will be teaching a six-week class at Trinfo.Cafe focusing on basic computer science applications. It will be open to high school students at the Learning Corridor.

Lake concluded her essay with these words: “I wish to take the skills that I have learned from Trinfo.Cafe and apply them to my future career as a teacher. I have not decided where I would like to live after college but I know that no matter where I end up, I can always give back to the community by sharing my knowledge and skills with others who are less fortunate than me.”