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Studying film production for every woman and every African to keep on dreaming

In the little rural town in Lagos, Nigeria where I grew up, children had to create their own entertainment. After school, they would gather together to play sing-a-long games and create frenzied contests. I was the child who preferred to sit alone in a corner, engrossed in a storybook. The fables about Mr. Tortoise and his near fatal fall from heaven or how he challenged the hare to a marathon; these were the tales that whetted my imagination. I would make up my own stories: about an old woman’s lonely tooth, or Okon’s bicycle tires that quarreled and refused to move in the same direction.

I was drawn to the western sitcom reruns on our tiny black and white TV. I was intrigued by the unusual people I saw, and the strange things they talked about. To me, they belonged in a far, far away reality, one that felt utterly inaccessible. And then one day, a new program came on: Tales by Moonlight. It dramatized my favorite folktales; this time, however, the people looked and spoke like me. Suddenly, the stories that were confined to the pages of my book came magically alive. I knew, instinctively, that this was what I would do for the rest of my life.

Holding tightly to this dream, I worked hard enough to eventually receive a full scholarship to an American university. It was one of the happiest days of my life. It was proof that there was nothing I couldn’t achieve. Being a female child from a community like mine, however, meant that such a golden opportunity came with hefty expectations. My father said to me, “Now it is time to do something useful with your life, and forget all that childish daydreaming”.

I soon realized that every international student in my school was reading about Medicine or Engineering. Careers in the Arts were considered irresponsible. But, against the wishes of my family, I became the first international student I knew to choose a major in film. Staying true to this dream has been intensely challenging. There have been times—when looking for another couch to spend the night on or struggling to raise the money to survive—I have wondered if it was worth it. Were the naysayers right, after all?

The answer to that question came about a month ago when I received admission into the best film program in the country. I am in complete disbelief that a little girl from an unknown town in Africa gets the chance to study in the same institution that produced filmmaking giants like Stephen Spielberg and George Lucas. It is more than a dream come true; it is a story for every woman, every African: truly, if you can dream it, you can achieve it. Receiving this scholarship will bring me closer to fulfilling this dream, this unfolding tale that has the potential to ignite a fire in the heart of every dreamer; it is a fire that no obstacle or adversity can quench.

We are proud to announce Tracy Egbas is one of the current JustJobs Scholarship finalists. Vote for her essay (Facebook ‘Like’ and other social media sharing options in left column), click the ‘heart’ just above comments section below, and/or leave comments of support to help us with the selection process

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43 comments

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  • YOU ARE A ROCKSTAR, TRACY!!!
    Completely unstoppable! Oscar Material, most determined film maker I know!

    You have my relentless support!

  • I don’t know anyone who deserves this more than Tracy! She is one of the most hardworking humans I have ever had the pleasure of knowing and she is so excellent at everything she does!

  • I’ve known Tracy since 2001 and I can assuredly say that when she puts her heart to something, she doesn’t give up till she succeeds.

    I don’t doubt that she deserves this.
    Go girl

  • Tracy can do anything she puts her mind to, and she never lets go of her dreams… She is a hard-working, persevering, focused person who sees challenges as opportunities to learn and grow.

  • This young woman is a rockstar. She has followed her dream. Jumping over many hurdles. This scholarship can be a significant step in her journey. #teamtracy

  • Tracy and I met in school last year, we liked to hang out before classes and talk about storytelling, American culture, philosophy… there isn’t a topic this woman can’t talk about! Tracy is smart, hard working and always in a good mood! She’s one of the most talented person I’ve met. If the world needs more people with an original voice, it certainly does need some one like Tracy !

  • Tracy’s level of determination is one that I wish more people had. It is very rare! I am super proud of you Tracy. Despite the odds and the challenges, you never gave up. I am very confident that the sponsors will always be glad they chose you as the winner! Rooting for you all the way.

  • “This unfolding tale that has the potential to ignite a fire in the heart of every dreamer; it is a fire that no obstacle or adversity can quench.” Love it!!

  • Tracy deserves this!!! I’m so proud of how far she has come. The hurdles mentioned in her essay are only a snippet of what she has had to deal with to get this far. Go girl!! You are going to make history!!!

  • Mmmm…Tracy you are so very special and a role model in many ways and it gives me the utmost pleasure to write this recommendation. You are one of the most hardworking, focused and disciplined persons I know and I have watched your journey over the years and the passion and energy with which you have approached writing, story-telling and filmmaking and indeed I marvel at how far you’ve gone. Like I always tell you, you are that threshing instrument that the Bible cites in Isaiah; mowing down and levelling obstacles and mountains and walking over challenges. Frankly, nobody deserves this prize more than you do. Keep going strong, girl…determinedly…reaching for your dreams…your are getting pretty close.

  • I remember it was just you and I sitting in your room in Jub talking about whether you should keep taking computer science or pursue your interest in film. You were so torn! I told you to do what you loved and it would all work out. And here you are. Girl I’m so doggone proud of you you got this

  • I’m am praying for your success fellow Fiskite❤ keep pursuing that dream which is now a life goal because it is in fact attainable!

  • What an Amazing story Tracy. I can’t wait to see you dominate the film industry; I know you will someday! Keep dreaming it, and you’ll definitely achieve it!

  • Tracy is a passionate dreamer who works hard to make her dreams realities. I am sure she will make not only her family and friends proud but also justjobs proud. I unreservedly support her scholarship application.

  • Great Story Tracy. Proud of your Achievements thus far. I see you producing Billion $ Box Office Hits. Your dreams are close to being reality dear.

  • Your passion, courage and tenacity are admirable and you will undoubtably be rewarded for it Tracy! Go get em, we’re all rooting for you 🙂

  • Tracy is a hard worker and a trail blazer. She’s creating a pathway for African women so our children don’t have to be confined to just Medicine, Law, & Engineering… Personally I’ve had the opportunity to see her produce short filns from start to finish. Her passion, focus, creativity… It’s undeniable she was born to do this. Tracy Egbas, you have my full support!!!!!!!

  • I remember not knowing what to think when you were in our apt and sharing your dream. And then I saw your short film and thought WOW!, she is committed. I see you Shining brighter than a diamond. Stay true because #youarelikealightthatcantbehid.

  • I am so excited to see the incredible things lurking in Tracy’s imagination realized on screen! The Fraziers believe in you Tracy!

  • Tracy is an absolutely phenomenal woman with the power to dream and the drive to achieve! It’s been amazing to see you keep up the fight and go against the tides of life to pursue your dreams!! You are certainly an inspiration to me! You deserve a chance to spread this light and this willpower to the world through whatever media form you choose 🙂 Looking forward to catching you on the big screen!

  • During the months I’ve known her in Nashville, she has always been very upbeat and wanting to be productively learning especially in the field of film. Despite her trials, she learns to triumph through all discouragements, hard work, and tears. Her gentle, kind, witty, and smart mind makes her the right fit for receiving such scholarship as she progresses to prove to the world she will one day touch humanity with her heart in media. She’s got such a great sense of humor and can effectively communicate her ideas across in a clever way. So it is of no surprise to me that Tracy will exceed all your expectations in the field of film and onward to make the world a better place. Tracy’s perseverance and audacity will not flinch in the face of adversity, fear, or opposition. She will rise higher like the eagles and soar. She will help others to one day soar in freedom through her films, especially for other Africans like her too. 🙂 Bless you Tracy! i knew you could do it, you went after your dreams! 🙂 <3

  • Tracy is an incredible human being who deserves every opportunity possible… she’s going to do amazing things and change the world

  • Tracy has worked had for this. She is dedicated. Her winning this scholarship would mean a lot to her and the community that supports and looks up to her. So please give us all a big win. Thank you!

  • I never met anyone so incredibly phenomenal. Tracy’s passion and dedication towards the arts knows no bounds. She makes the word drive somewhat obsolete. Tracy’s relentless quest to share to the world the African story from a new dimension surpasses any obstacles to come. She has proved worthy and deserving of this amazing opportunity. I believe she is the certified candidate for this scholarship. She is a great example to every young female film maker who dreams that some day they would be heard. This is definitely the beginning of something beautiful and I’m glad to be a part of it. Team Tracy

  • Tracy Egbas is literally the next phenomenon in the film industry that the world will always admire, study, learn from and reference while describing the best things that happened to our generation. I love her attention to detail, her strife to understand the uniqueness of each individual’s story, and the ways it complements and contrasts with our connectedness as humans, and her empathy and respect for each person’s journey. She will present the story of your life as though she has been staring into the depths of your soul from your first breath. And most importantly, she will demonstrate, as I know is her ultimate mission, through vivid colors, subtle plot twists and witty language, that we all are the same person after all. Knowing her, watching her grow, and learning from her deep wisdom and intuition has been the greatest honor of my life.

  • Oh my goodness Tracy, I have known you since we were in high school and your passion to achieve was so evident even then! So lucky I get to see you thrive and continue to succeed in your chosen field of arts. I am excited and would be privileged to see where you take this, with the aid of this scholarship!

  • Wow, I am so excited for you Tracy. You are an encourager and an inspirer. Seeing you run after your dreams makes me even more determined to run after mine. Your future is so bright. Keep being your talented, dedicated, and amazing self.

  • Wow…reading this just amaze me of what a brave and passionate human Tracy is. I have been her roommate and we have been great friends for years, and I can honestly say that Tracy is a relentless hard-worker. This scholarship will help her greatly toward achieving her dream and I am also sure it will have a ripple effect into other people’s lives- especially kids or people that have dreams and do not think they can achieve them, or kids that grew up in poverty and help them realize they can re-define their lives. #Team Tracy

  • There is no one more deserving of this scholarship! Tracy not only wants to be a filmmaker, but I have seen her sacrifice to actually make her dreams a reality. Too many time, creatives only daydream and not take action. If you want someone who walk the walk, talks the talk, and films the film, Tracy is your girl.

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