GREENDALE, Wisc. — "I truly believe that God has given us the ability to use our time wisely by pouring into the lives of those around us," read Greendale High School senior Paris Wooden.
These words that 18-year-old Wooden spoke, are the words that won her a $1,000 college scholarship.
"We have the power to be a positive influence," continued Wooden.
Wooden submitted a one-page essay into a contest put on by the Milwaukee County Transit System. She had to apply civil rights activist Rosa Parks' famous quote, "Each person must live their life as a model for others," to her life.
"The face of her determination and her willingness to have civil disobedience to make a change. For me, that is super inspiring," said Wooden.
Wooden portrayed the type of person she aspires to be beginning with her school's student equity team.
"We are different students from different demographics that come together and work on building and growing an understanding with each other's perspective," said Wooden.
She also wrote about her father, Milwaukee Police Department Lieutenant Kenyatte Wooden. He died in 2021. She talked about the impact he had on her, especially during the civil unrest in 2020.
"I do remember asking my father why did you choose this career if you knew this kind of stuff happened? And he was like, well if no one else is going to step in, if there is no one else going to be of color doing this job, then it will never change," said Wooden.
As she looks to become a first-generation college graduate, Wooden hopes to help change the world for the better.