2021 Scholarship Winners

We are very excited to highlight our 2021 Atlanta Ad Club Scholarship winners! 

See their award-winning work below! 

Grand Prize:

KEN MACLAUGHLIN, Creative Circus

“I don’t know him.”

– Ken’s Dad

SUBMISSION: We’re super unmotivated and have time to kill. Tell us what to do with the next four hours.

“Four Hours for Peace”

We live in a fast world, constantly seeking validation in what people think. It’s important to silence the noise whenever we can. This is a skill that can be trained like a muscle. Let’s spend the next few hours working it out.

Treat yourself to breakfast — comfort food — however you define it. Then get some exercise. A mystic might suggest yoga at sunset, but I want you heading to the gym. The trendier the better.

Find your favorite machine. Put your headphones in. Start sweating. If you listened about breakfast, eventually, you’re going to feel a fart.

Don’t panic.

What do you normally do? Pop out an ear bud, do a test fart to gauge the volume? Release a slow, measured fart that’s masked by the machines?

Not today. Today you turn the music louder, close your eyes, and let it rip. Give it all you have.

Does this scare you? It should. Do it anyway. Fart.
Do it now.

“Was it loud? Was it silent? Maybe everyone heard? Maybe no one did?” a panicked voice asks.

Silence that voice. You don’t know the answers, and you never will.

Keep your eyes forward. Don’t check if the person beside you is laughing, or the one behind you is wincing. Let go of it all.

Their judging thoughts don’t exist in your world. All that exists inside of you is zen, music, and one less fart.

Do this and strenghtnen the most important muscle of all — the ability to let go and just be.

ITZEL GUZMAN, Creative Circus

“I’ve watched [Itzel’s] growth and determination during during her last two quarters at The Circus, and she shows work that is smart but she is also hungry for feedback. I know that she will continue to approach her studies with the same commitment.”

– Nakita M. Pope | Chief Chick & Brand Strategist, Branding Chicks 

SUBMISSION: Tell us about a time you changed your mind.

I sat in the empty, dark church all alone. My sobs bouncing off the high ceiling as I buried my face in my hands. I’ve never felt so lost and angry like I did at that moment.

I’ve spent years trying to please everyone around me. I was trying to be the person they wanted me to become. There was even a point where I thought their dreams were my own. I didn’t know who I was, but after that night crying at the church, I realized who I wasn’t. I wasn’t an engineer.

Ever since I was little I always like writing. I like the stories words could tell. I began writing poetry in elementary school and plays in middle school. High school was my aspiring novelist phase, but I could never get past a couple of chapters. That all changed when my dad gave me the talk about my future, “Itzel, nadie lee. Eso es un pasatiempo, no una carera”. This basically meant that nobody reads anymore, therefore writing is a hobby, not a career.

That’s why I tried so hard to try to please my parents and my teachers after that. I graduated valedictorian and went to college as a Biomedical Engineering major. I hated every minute of it, but that’s what I thought I was supposed to do. Changing your mind about a major life decision like this, especially with immigrant parents, isn’t easy. But I can say with confidence that I’ve never been happier.

SHEENA LAI, Walton High School

“Ms. Lai is extremely passionate about the arts, loves to learn and challenge herself, and cares deeply about helping others. She puts so much meaning and thought into her work and loves to be vocal during our in- class critiques.”

– Kathleen Sneed Petka | Art Teacher, Walton High School

SUBMISSION: Teach us how to make your favorite meal.

Also, shout out to our other Scholarship Nominees!

Check them out!