On Saturday, March 1 the CVEF Scholarship Committee asked me to speak for a few minutes about the new CVLegends scholarship. Below I have attempted to organize my notes into a coherent transcript of that speech:
Thank you for being here, my name is David Ashton, I run a small Facebook group called CVLegends– it is dedicated to all things Castro Valley: past, present, and future.
Let me start with a question, how many parents are here without their kids or alternately kids without parents? [At this point about a third of the audience indicated they were parents, about a third were students, and the last half of the room were parents and students who had come together.]
True story. When I left high school I walked out with the kind of scholarship that would make you guys drool, this was the white whale, the reason you are here on a Saturday rather than anywhere else.
It was called the Otis Spunkmeyer Student Motivational Program. I describe it as a scholarship for screw ups with potential. It was four years, $15,000 a year, and this was early 90’s money, so it went quite a bit further back then. It was basically a full ride.
And I threw it away.
I never used a penny, so the screw up part of my description was apt, the motivation part maybe not so much.
Here’s what happened, I was 18 and terrified of paperwork and institutions and, let’s face it, responsibility. At the same time my parents weren’t proactive in encouraging me or helping to pry my head out of my butt.
I was scared and immature, my parents were apathetic- the results were $60,000 lost.
Eventually, I grew up a little, figured out how to fill out forms and I earned my college degree, but I paid for it all out of pocket. It took me at least twice as long and there was no “college experience.” No Animal House, or to be fair if you look at me, no Revenge Of The Nerds. I had a family and a job so I did it all on nights and weekends at the prestigious institutions of Chabot and Cal State Hayward.
So, the moral of my story, (it’s not just me feeling sorry for myself, I promise.) Parents, students, you need to work together to get through this. Parents, you need to help your kids; and I know it’s hard- they are 18 and frustrating, and so much smarter than we were at that age, they will rarely admit it, but they are overwhelmed and need help and support.
And students, I know you’ve got pressing things like Instagram and Youtube but you need to take equal responsibility, this is literally your future, you can’t assume that your parents will pull your head out of your butt. I know it’s scary, and it’s so boring sometimes, but I cannot emphasize enough just how important this is.
Okay, now let me step down off of my soap box and tell you why I’m here-
I mentioned that I run a Facebook page called CVLegends, well, this year we started a scholarship.
And this scholarship is a joke, well, it’s not a joke, but it’s totally a joke.
The CVLegends Scholarship is a small amount of money awarded to the student who writes the best joke about Castro Valley.
The concept is two-fold, first, to really appreciate something you have to be able to laugh at it.
Second, you guys are all super smart, you can spell and do maths and homework, you can volunteer and join clubs, you’ve known since before freshman year that these are the things you need to do to get into college, but our scholarship is designed to reward that extra something, the humor, the zest- the stuff that can’t be captured on a college application- but the stuff that make you you.
Of course there is one final reason:, I find the idea totally subversive and that makes me smile.
I came up with this scholarship for maybe not the kid that dominate scholastically- but the kid that everyone is stoked to have in class, the funny kid. Not necessarily the disruptive, armpit fart-noise funny, but the kid that can make the teacher laugh because their humor is insightful, intelligent, and pointed.
There aren’t many rules to my scholarship, I don’t care about spelling or punctuation, I just want your joke to be funny and original. Please no street jokes or anything out of a jokebook with the punchline simply changed to Castro Valley.
Okay, that’s about it. Congratulations on graduating, good luck in college, and I look forward to reading your jokes. Thank you