Katrien de Zoeten - UWC Atlantic College
Previous school: Gymnasium Haganum
Place of residence: The Hague
Selected by the Dutch National Committee
“A man was walking along a deserted beach. As he walked he could see a young boy in the distance. As he drew nearer he noticed that the boy kept bending down, picking something up and throwing it into the water. When he came even closer, he was able to see that the boy was picking up starfish that had been washed up on the beach and, one at a time, he was throwing them back into the water. The man asked the boy what he was doing, the boy replied," I am throwing these starfish back into the ocean, or else they will die through lack of oxygen. "But", said the man, "You can't possibly save them all, there are thousands on this beach, and this must be happening on hundreds of beaches along the coast. You can't possibly make a difference." The boy smiled, bent down and picked up another starfish, and as he threw it back into the sea, he replied "Made a difference to that one" “
This story inspires me. I want to make a difference. It does not have to be a big difference. It is hard to get all the violence, hate and injustice out of the world. It is something that cannot be done in just a few years. I do think we should try to reach that goal, but in the meantime it is important to make people happy and let them forget their problems for a while. That is why my priority for the next few years is not trying to get rid of all the bad things in the world, but to increase the list of happy things and cheerful people. To share my experiences from UWC with the world and make a difference to as many people as possible.