An article in USA Today, “Passion fuels seniors’ ability to achieve,” raises interesting questions about what motivates some of the nation’s top-performing high schoolers.
For example, Megan Blewett, who won a $50,000 scholarship in the Young Epidemiology Scholars competition last month for her research on multiple sclerosis and Lou Gehrig’s disease, said she was driven by the importance of her findings, while Veronica Shi, a pianist who won the Phoenix Symphony Guild Young Musicians Competition in 2005 despite a broken and bloody fingernail, said she was motivated by the beauty and challenges of creating music.
“I think the process of learning and discovering new things is much more important than winning awards,” Ms. Shi said.
What do you think? Are students more motivated by learning and discovering new things or winning awards? Do students who focus on the process rather than the prize create better work?
A version of this news article first appeared in the Motivation Matters blog.