Saint Mark’s junior Rachel Staib was selected as a winner in the 2017 Common Wealth Awards Writing Contest. In this highly competitive contest, Delaware high school students compete to meet the winners of this year’s 38th Annual Common Wealth Award. The Common Wealth Award honors renowned individuals for their lifetime accomplishments in enriching modern society in a range of human endeavors. Rachel joins the list of talented Saint Mark’s students who have received this honor, including two other students within the last three years.
Students compete for this honor by explaining in an original written work which Common Wealth honoree they most want to meet and why. Staib’s essay focused on why she would like to meet Dr. Mae Jemison, engineer, physician, and NASA astronaut, who became the first African-American woman to travel in space.
Rachel and her parents attended the black-tie gala on April 29, 2017, held at the Hotel DuPont. At the gala, hosted by PNC Financial Services Group, Rachel was able to meet and interact with the honorees, and she was acknowledged for her winning essay.
In her essay, Staib eloquently delineated what a chance to meet Dr. Mae Jemison would mean to her. Rachel, who is passionate about writing, also has a growing interest in the field of speech-language pathology and linguistics. She says that she has faced the same type of decision as Dr. Jemison, finding a balance between what she is passionate about and what she wants to pursue as a career. Staib also adds, “Inspired by Jemison's achievements and success, I'm excited and confident in my future as I plan to study linguistics and speech-pathology.”
The other esteemed recipients with whom Staib interacted included Charles Grodin, American actor, comedian, author, and former cable talk show host, and Marlo Thomas, American actress, producer, and social activist.
The Common Wealth Awards, given by the Ralph Hayes Common Wealth Foundation, are presented annually to recognize and reward the best of human achievement. First presented in 1979 by The Common Wealth Trust, the awards were created under the will of Ralph Hayes, an influential business executive and philanthropist.