Excerpts from the winning essay in OOIDA's scholarship contest

By Clarissa Kell-Holland
staff writer


The phrase “knowledge is power” rings true for the OOIDA Foundation, which has as part of its mission the goal of helping college-bound children of Association members with their education expenses.

The Scholarship Committee from the OOIDA Board of Directors recently awarded another $6,000 to five students headed for college this fall. Since the committee was founded almost 11 years ago, it has awarded $125,000 to 46 young people from 24 states.

This year’s first-place winner was Hannah Biniecki, daughter of OOIDA member Dale E. Biniecki of Monroe, MI. Hannah plans to major in philosophy and political science at St. Mary’s College in Notre Dame, IN.

Hannah received a $2,000 scholarship for her first year of school, which she can renew for another three years for a total amount of $8,000.

In addition to being judged on her grades and extracurricular activities, Hannah was selected as the first-place winner based on her answers to three questions designed by the Scholarship Committee, which is headed by OOIDA Board Member Bill Rode of Eagle, ID. The questions were:

  • List and discuss three positive aspects of the influence of the trucker in your life.
  • How does your choice of an educational goal utilize the strongest attributes of your personality?
  • Formulate a helpful suggestion for the Association on how to improve the public image of professional truck drivers.

In her winning essay, Hannah listed her father, a 22-year OOIDA member, as being the greatest influence in her life. Here’s what she wrote about him:

 “He has taught me many values due to his experience as a bulk commodities truck driver, which have influenced my life. My father has taught me hard work, determination and persistence. He has given me a positive attitude and a sense of pride in (my) work ethic.”

Hannah said even though her dad leaves for work at 5 a.m. every morning, he still manages to find time after he gets home to help her with her homework and also with the lambs she is raising through her involvement in 4-H. After stepping on a sharp pitchfork in the barn, which Hannah said was a “very painful and frustrating experience,” she admits she wouldn’t have been able to continue the 4-H project without her dad’s encouragement.

 “I often wanted to give up due to frustration with my animals. Every night, my dad would stay in the barn with me, urging me to continue working and focus on the future of a State Fair win. … My work paid off when I won the Michigan State Fair. Without my dad’s encouragement, I wouldn’t have accomplished this.”

She said her two strongest attributes are her intelligence and ambition.

 “My character as a bold leader and ambitious young woman will help me attack my studies and earn my college degree,” she wrote.

To improve the public’s image of professional truck drivers, Hannah proposes putting a face on the freight as a way to help consumers respect the truckers who deliver the goods.

 “In the industry, there are uncertainties about where our products are coming from and who delivers them. It would be great to walk into a store and see a sign and picture reading, ‘This product brought to you by John Doe, a professional trucker and loving husband and father of three, with a million miles accident free.’ ”

She said personalizing a delivery may offer consumers a chance to view truckers in a more positive way.

 “The public image of truckers is not always consistent with truth. Society views truckers as brash and unrefined. … Personalizing a delivery will offer consumers a chance to view truckers differently. The greatest benefit of my proposal is the fact that truckers will finally be perceived as the commendable, bright, caring people they truly are.” LL