Flax Dental’s Dr. Hugh Flax, a cosmetic dentist, gives away multiple scholarships for higher education as part of a larger vision of community service.
Applications for The Knowledge Matters Flax Dental Scholarship for dental hygienists and assistants are due Sept. 25. In its third year, the scholarship awards $1,000 to a student pursuing a career as a dental hygienist or dental assistant enrolled at a Georgia college.
This summer, Flax awarded $1,000 to Meredith Weiss, a recent graduate of Holy Innocents’ Episcopal School in Atlanta attending George Washington University and majoring in international relations.
Weiss won the Why My Teacher Makes Me Smile Scholarship for high school seniors to be used for college tuition. Weiss wrote her essay about her favorite teacher, Kacey Michelsen, chair of Holy Innocents’ history department. He also coached Weiss in the school’s Model United Nations Club and taught her favorite senior course, International Diplomacy.
In her winning essay, Weiss wrote, “He encouraged me to make bold decisions … and that when you experience a little pushback, it means you’re probably doing something right.”
Weiss explained to the AJT: “Mr. Michelsen is one of the most inspirational teachers I have had during my high school career, especially during my senior year. In our international diplomacy class, we explored the health of democracy around the world, which I learned later can be a touchy subject for some.
“In order to gather some data for an article I was writing about that topic, the class sent out a survey with questions about how the public felt about our democracy. Some of the questions in the survey challenged the Christian and conservative values at my school. … When you experience some push back, you’re probably doing something right.”
Although she’s a Jewish student in a Christian school, Weiss said she never felt like a minority. “My high school, Holy Innocents’ Episcopal School, is very much an inclusive school, so we make an effort to learn about others and celebrate their uniqueness. When we spoke about the Israel-Palestine conflict in my international diplomacy class, I feel like some of my classes did not feel as strongly about the situation. But establishing a dialogue and learning from others is the first step toward helping people become informed.”
Weiss was surprised to receive the scholarship. “I was excited and very honored that they chose me. At first, I had no idea what to spend it on, but then I realized that college textbook prices are no joke, so that’s how I have been using it so far.”
About the scholarships, Flax said he was inspired by his parents and his conservative Jewish upbringing to be charitable. “What better way to do that than to help my profession grow and continue to excel by helping bright students in the local community?”
Flax is a dedicated supporter of education and youth. “Our love of education and excellence is what motivates us to invest in the next generation of students through scholarships,” he said.
Knowledge Matters was the first scholarship Flax offered and then he decided to add the Why My Teacher Makes Me Smile scholarship to help students with college tuition and honor the teachers who serve the community, Flax said. ■