Although Henderson, a senior, did not win the $5,000 scholarship, which was awarded at a banquet May 17, he was commended for his service and volunteerism by Youthlinc officials.
According to Youthlinc, Henderson was one of just two high school students who made the top 10 out of this year’s pool of 117 applicants.
Henderson said he applied for the award after finding out about it at the GCHS counseling center. Later, he was invited to Salt Lake City for a follow-up interview. He and his mother, Sarah Henderson, attended the interview, even though it meant he had to miss the Moab April Action Car Show, where he was supposed to host a sock hop.
Henderson said the interview went well.
“There were about 12 other judges in the room,” he said. “They were all so sweet and genuinely interested as well.”
A main focus of Henderson’s application was the anti-bullying campaign called “Rise Above It,” which he helped spearhead at GCHS last year. The campaign’s goal was to help stop bullying and to curb suicidal thoughts among teens. Many students confided in Henderson, sharing similar feelings after he and others told their personal accounts in a school-wide assembly, he said.
“‘Rise Above It’ truly taught me that it is possible to make an impact and achieve a goal if you’re determined and have a great group of people who all share the same interest for the greater good,” Henderson said.
Henderson said he hopes his fellow students will continue in their efforts after he graduates.
“I just really want the school to realize that you don’t always have to put yourself first in order to be happy,” he said. “It seems like there are times in school where we get so wrapped up in ourselves and what we are doing that we forget about the people who surround us as well as how they might be feeling. Instead of spending so much time spreading negativity and hate, try spreading some comments of positivity and kindness. Every single person possesses good, it just takes the special people to spread it.”
“There are so many great people in this school and all of them are capable of making incredible differences in our school and our community,” Henderson added. “I can’t wait to come back next year and see what they have done!”
Henderson’s post-high school plans are to attend Utah State University in Logan, where he plans to earn a bachelor’s degree in fine arts in the USU Theater program.
“I hope to hone my craft there and accomplish all I can before setting off for Los Angeles to follow my dream of becoming a working actor,” he said.