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Meet James Hartranft: 2020 Leadership Scholarship Winner

by Janelle Hill Nov 9, 2020

Chalfont, Pennsylvania 
Mathematics Major 

1. How did you hear about the Leadership Scholarship? 

My mom brought it up to me. She and I were perusing the website and looking for opportunities to come here. I was pretty hard-pressed on wanting to come here. Once we came across the opportunity, I was immediately drawn to it because service was always something that had been a part of my life. It just felt like it was perfect for me, like everything was working out as God had planned.

2. Describe your reaction when you found out you won. 

It was one of the coolest moments of my life. I was in school and my mom called me. She was sobbing because she was so excited. It was absolutely astounding. Then I went back into my classroom, and apparently the teacher had found out, so the class was clapping for me. It was just this perfect moment. I felt like I had earned something. 

3. What was the focus of your essay?

I wrote about a service trip that I went on both my sophomore and senior year of high school. We went to this place called YSOP in Washington, D.C. The first night we got there, we made a meal for all the families and people who needed something to eat that night. 

We were told above all else to realize that homeless is in some ways a derogatory term. While we were eating with them, it was a bonding experience. Even though we didn’t know about what circumstances they were in, we had the chance to listen to them or play card games with them and to interact with them in a very personal way. Both times I went, it was a super fulfilling experience because I got to eat with somebody who I would probably never have come across normally.

4. Describe the interview process.

The interview process went very well. I was definitely a little nervous at first because I knew that this was basically my college fate. There was a lot of pressure. But I already started to feel like I was at home even before the interview began. By the time I walked in and met everyone, it felt very natural. I felt like I was having a genuine conversation with them. 

5. How do you think the campus community has fared during the COVID-19 pandemic? 

So far, we’ve done a pretty decent job. Even though there are masks and it has compromised some bigger activities, I’ve grown to accept the way things are and I think a lot of people have too. We just make the most of whatever comes to us. There are still little opportunities that we have to bond, even if it’s just talking with one another six feet away. It’s compromised things to an extent but there’s still a lot of potential in what we do have. And it’s made us more grateful for what we can do. I think that has made the experience just as valuable. 

The Leadership Scholarship is a full-tuition scholarship offered to six students who have shown outstanding leadership in their high school careers and who plan to continue to develop those skills at DeSales. The deadline to apply is Tuesday, December 1, 2020.