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2023 - Smile Scholarship Winners

"There is always something to smile about"

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Katriene Sibbaluca

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Gianna Grivetti

If one looks hard enough, there is a smile in every corner. Personally, I tend to look for these small outbursts of joy. One day, I was at Target shopping for graduation gifts for my friends. While standing in line, a baby girl was staring at me with eyes of wonder. She was looking around at the bright lights, new objects, and the array of colors surrounding her. The little baby had the biggest smile on her face. Oftentimes, I forget that babies are constantly experiencing new things everyday. Even though they are significantly young, we can all learn from them. Look at the world like a baby does because everything instantly becomes a little more wonderful. It could bring a smile to anyone’s face. Just as the baby was getting pushed away by her mother, I smiled at her and waved goodbye hoping that she would pay any attention to me. Just as we try to get smiles out of babies, we should do the same with everyone around us. It does not have to be a grand gesture. It can be as simple as a hello. About two years ago, the class president at St. Bede gave an entire speech about the importance of saying hi or smiling at others in the hallways. You just might make a friend or give them something to smile about because you have no idea what someone might be going through. I instantly connected with this message. Everyday, I try to make others' lives a little more joyful. For instance, I can be in the middle of a conversation with friends or family, and I will break out into a random accent. Instantly, they crack up or even start matching my accent. On top of that, I love thanking the people I love. I have an extremely supportive family. Anytime I can thank or spend time with them, I do because I know that it will bring a smile to their face. Making smiles can make anyone smile. Even though smiling is a simple movement, it may seem impossible to do at times. Life is full of trials and tribulations whether it be getting an unsatisfactory grade or losing a loved one. Establishing a healthy mindset or surrounding yourself with uplifting people creates the ability to see the light at the end of any dark, treacherous tunnel. Finding something to smile about whether it be miniscule or monumental instantly secures a more enjoyable life. Even though we can not all be like a bubbly baby discovering new things, we can definitely take on the world one day at a time.

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Matt Beard

There’s Always Something to Smile About. Life is filled with ups and downs, but amidst the bounds, there's always something to smile about. Even in the darkest of moments, joy can be found. Not all joy comes from gestures that are large nor profound. Simple experiences can brighten our days: an honest conversation, accomplishing a personal goal or observing nature prance around. Human connections. A shared laugh with loved ones, a hug that speaks volumes, or a kind gesture from a stranger can light up our lives. Connections like these allow us to find a sense of belonging in such a large world. The world may seem so large, that at times, there is nobody around. Give a smile. Connect with a fiend. Visit your family. Small actions can make a chaotic world seem that much closer. The support we receive during tough times and the love we give leaves us with smiles that radiate warmth. Life's journey. It itself offers countless opportunities for growth and self-discovery. The challenges we face are not merely obstacles. Instead are chances to learn, evolve, and become stronger versions of ourselves. They shape our character, teach us resilience, and provide us with valuable lessons that can guide us towards a brighter future. With every setback overcome and goal achieved, we have reason to celebrate and wear a smile of triumph. Nature. The warmth of the sun's rays dancing on your face, the song of birds chirping in the morning, or the dance of delicate petals of a blooming flower can lift our spirits. Stop and smell the roses: a simple yet often overlooked phrase. As life can be wisping by, always take time to appreciate the world around you. Take a walk through a park or even just experience the wonders of nature right outside your doorstep. Nature can empower our souls on any scale–bees bounding from flower to flower, trees waltzing to the tempo of the wind, or the drifting clouds passing high in the sky. These moments remind us of the beauty that surrounds and inspire smiles of gratitude from our hearts. So, let us find the beauty of nature, cherish the connections we create, and embrace life’s challenges in our lives. Through these acts, we unlock the power to smile. Spreading joy to ourselves and those around us. Remember, no matter what life throws at us, there is always something to smile about. : )

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Laurel Politsch

The idea that “There’s Always Something to Smile About” is something that every person should adopt into their life. This idea is important because it shows that you can be resilient even through the toughest of times. There are times in life that seem so dark that you may never smile again, and those are the most important times to look for the positive things around you. Those positive things could be as small as hearing your favorite song or seeing a cute dog; or they could be as important as a friend reaching out with kind words. Staying optimistic during tough times can help you to gain the motivation to keep going and to not focus so much on the negative parts of life. Not only does finding the positive improve your mood, it also can have proven health benefits! Smiling can help to reduce stress, boost your mood, and cause you to feel more relaxed. Finding something to smile about can also create a loop of positive feelings because if people see someone else smiling then you could be the “Something to Smile About” in someone else's life. Spreading that positivity to other people’s lives can help not only yourself to feel better during a tough time but also the people around you who may also be going through a rough time. You never know what someone else is going through so even by smiling at a stranger, you may be able to help them find the positive in their life. At the end of the day it is up to you to choose to see the positive in life and to find that “Something to Smile About”. You can choose to only focus on the negative in life or you can choose to look for and find the silver lining in your everyday life. If you stick with a positive attitude it will be possible to find the happy moments in even the most difficult times of your life. It is important to remember that there is always something to smile about and that you can be the person to share that positivity and optimism with the world.

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Olivia Woods

Serena Williams once said, “if you smile things will work out.” However, with the uncertainty of the past few years and the immense pressure of being a college student, something as simple as remembering to smile can often be extremely difficult. It is very easy to focus on all the negatives in life and forget about the little things that make us happy. However, it is crucial to remember that something as small as a smile can brighten even the worst of days. Some parts of life seem complicated, but the simplicity and goodness of other parts stands out the most. It is important to think about everything good in life no matter how small or trivial it may seem. These little things, though easy to overlook, are what bring smiles even on the worst days. Funny pictures of my baby cousins or ridiculous pranks my little brother thinks are hilarious might not seem like much to other people, but they are a reminder of everything good in my life and therefore never fail to make me smile. Small moments like these bring a smile to my face even when everything else feels like it is falling apart. Going through life with a smile seems to make the whole world shine a little bit brighter for yourself and everyone around you. For example, without fail, my dog, Grace, greets me every morning and afternoon wagging her tail, and she always looks like she is smiling. When I am around her, I cannot help but absorb some of that happiness and genuinely smile with her. Her pure joy is infectious and makes me feel happy too. It seems that when other people share a smile, the same concept applies. Just one smile can change the outlook of a whole day, so no matter what happens, it is important to keep smiling not just for our own benefit but for everyone around us. When life feels overwhelming and like it may never work out, remembering to smile is hard. However, just one smile can make it all just a bit easier. Though it is quite easy to overlook the good moments in life, they are all around us. Even when everything seems impossible, if we take a step back and look at the big picture, there is always something to smile about.

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Kaleb Cain

As an avid sports fan, there are highs and lows that come with every fanbase. A majority of the time there are lows with the teams I root for, including the Dallas Cowboys and the Oklahoma Sooners. But the one good thing about sports is there is always something to look forward to and that makes you smile. For me it can be looking at draft prospects the cowboys can get to help improve the team, or it’s landing a big transfer portal commit at OU that fills a hole left by a senior graduating. As an employee for the OU football team while also being a student, being able to share a piece of the happiness that comes with winning gives me something to smile about. Even after a disappointing 6-7 season under a first year head coach, the amount of changes made to the team has made everyone optimistic that this year could be different. While this is from my personal experience, I think every sports fan has this mentality, and makes them excited and happy for the next season to see if they were right about their sports teams. This is what I think about when I hear “There’s always something to smile about”. Even after a loss you can always look towards the future and convince yourself that your team has a chance for a championship. While this is normally never the case, having that mentality helps me in everyday life as well. The positive attitude that comes with sports also translates to my attitude around other people and in the classroom. This is something that I have learned from playing organized sports for years, and I believe that it has helped me alot when I transitioned from high school to college. Moving far away was an adjustment for me and it hit me a little harder than I thought it would. This led to a rough couple weeks at school, but once the football season started for college and the NFL, that gave me enough interest to keep my mind off being away and also led me to meet new people who I am friends with today. Sports has always given me something to smile about and being able to connect with people and share my love for it with them has always been something that I pride myself with and hope to share with those around me.

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