A Life of Service

Kyle VanDerVelden, a freshman in the Myers-Lawson School of Construction, is a winner of the Virginia Tech Common Book Project 2016-17 Essay Competition.

His essay, "The Potential of Ut Prosim," describes how he started the nonprofit organization Right to Write as a 10th grader in Wayne, New Jersey. Ever since, he has held pencil drives at elementary schools and then shipped writing utensils to schools and orphanages in third-world countries where educational supplies are not affordable.

In the spring of 2016, VanDerVelden traveled to the Philippines to visit children at several of the orphanages where he has been sending supplies.

Now completing his freshman year as a Building Construction major at Virginia Tech, VanDerVelden has placed over 168,000 pencils in the hands of children worldwide.

Virginia Tech students entering the essay contest were asked to answer the question: "What does it mean to you to live a life of service and how do you make life choices that embody this value?"

You can learn more about the winning students and read their essays here.