Congratulations to these students! We applaud the hard work you are doing in your schools and communities to make a difference.

Herren Project student scholarship winner


Julia Whelan
Westford Academy – Westford, MA
We all have a path to follow; something that motivates us every day. I didn’t know what mine was until the first year high school. “Ask me why I’m Purple!” I had seen the phrase plastered on the back of a female student’s purple shirt during the Freshman Activity Fair. It was at this time that I was first acquainted with the club Project Purple. A club about making good decisions, being a positive role model, and maintaining a healthy lifestyle free from drugs and alcohol.  I was immediately interested, and decided to sign up that very day. My own commitment to sobriety, in addition to my family’s loss of my mother’s older brother, who suffered from opioid addiction, and was tragically lost to an overdose before I could meet him, propelled me to join. What I didn’t know at that time was that this club would become one that changed my life.

Since I was elected president, the drive to better the club that has become my passion has only grown, and I am truly proud of the progress that has taken place. To start, membership has risen as a result of campaigns around the school. We’ve also held and participated in many events, such as a “Be You” day promoting positive self-image and numerous volunteer-based teen centers at the middle schools. We have developed plans for the rest of the year, including a semi-formal fundraising dance and a mock accident warning senior of the results of drunk driving. I even had the privilege of serving on the National Go Purple Advisory Board…Once a shy yet curious freshman, I had no idea where this club would bring me. I recognized my desire for helping others and dissatisfaction with abuse of drugs and alcohol, but never expected to learn a worthwhile lesson. There are no limits on what each of us can do, as long as we find a passion worth the fight.

Student Scholarship Winner


Zachary Fishman
The Woodlands High School – The Woodlands, TX
Living in the suburban town of The Woodlands, Texas, it always seemed as if I was living in a bubble. The Woodlands seemed to have less crime than other places, less drug use, and less violence. In high school, I noticed that these statements are not true, but that these issues are ignored or downplayed in our community. When starting high school, I was bothered by the overwhelming percentage of high school students that were abusing alcohol and illegal drugs. I joined the Going Purple movement to help educate teens and young adults on the dangers of alcohol and substance use. I wanted to make a difference. As a freshman, I gave suggestions in club meetings on how to provide more education to our community and how to get people help that they needed. As my high school career progressed, the Going Purple movement became more than just a school wide program and stretched out into the community…

I actively participated in our Going Purple club throughout high school and progressed from member, to historian, to vice president, and finally to president. For four years, I dedicated two hours per week to this club and plan to keep dedicating my time to Going Purple after I leave for college. I have seen this club make a tremendous impact on the school and the community and also my life. It gave me a want to give back, to help others and our community. The Going Purple movement is amazingly rewarding and taught me to value human life and others. It encouraged me to be an activist for what I believe in and to work to make this world a better place for all. My life and the world around me has improved because of the positive impact and beliefs learned from the Herren Project.

2018 Spirit of Purple award winner


Ariana Gonzalez
Putnam Academy – Springfield, MA
When Mr. Scott came down to my shop and told me about the Going Purple movement and everything it stood for I immediately wanted to get involved and wanted to give back to my community. Mr. Scott helped me see that every dark moment can be turned into a positive. He put me in our Going Purple club. It gave me a purpose and the people in this group helped me turn my past into a teachable moment and not let that define me. I got involved into everything our Going Project club did and I was finally being happy and finding my purpose. The Going Purple movement showed me that just because things are bad you don’t have to go down a dark path and that you can still turn things around and be successful. The club has helped me be the strong leader I am today.