Macy’s and the Bob & Dolores Hope Foundation have proudly presented the Bob Hope Band Scholarship Award annually since 2003. The scholarship is designed to honor one outstanding band member and their school band program participating in the Macy’s Thanksgiving Day Parade.
The award is especially meaningful because, during their lifetimes, Bob and Dolores Hope were truly honored and delighted to be featured in the Macy’s Thanksgiving Day Parade and recognized for their service. Moreover, as a gifted song and dance man, Bob knew the importance of music, especially to young people.
For almost a century, Bob Hope was celebrated for his ability to make people laugh. He became one of America’s best-loved entertainers rising to #1 in radio, television, and films. He was a proud American immigrant who gave his time to bring a sense of home to our troops stationed around the world. Since the days of World War II, he worked with the USO to bring humanity and hope to our men and women in uniform. This is the legacy of Bob Hope.
“On behalf of the Bob & Dolores Hope Foundation, and particularly on behalf of my dad, Bob Hope, I want to congratulate Naomi Winders on her most creative essay,” said Linda Hope. “I know that my parents would be very proud that such an accomplished and caring young woman was this year’s scholarship recipient,” she added.
Like many of the student recipients of the Bob Hope Band Scholarship, Naomi learned about Bob Hope through extensive research for her essay. More importantly, it was through her late and beloved grandmother, who deemed Hope her favorite comedian, Naomi became interested in Hopes remarkable life and accomplishments. In her winning essay, she wrote, “I realized how much I had in common with Bob Hope. She [my grandmother] would laugh so loud and wholeheartedly whenever she would watch or hear anything of Mr. Hope’s. Watching how happy he could make her made me want to be someone just like that. I not only wanted to make people laugh, but I wanted to make them happy, just like Bob Hope.
Naomi Winders grew up in Alaska. She was raised by her hardworking mother of three. From a young age, Naomi exhibited a great sense of humor and a natural talent for comedy, acting, emceeing and music. Quite simply, making people laugh made Naomi happy. Naomi hosted and wrote her own scripts for talent shows, pageants, a community Rotary Club event and her class graduation. “Of course, this doesn’t compare to hosting the Academy Awards nineteen times in one’s career,” says Naomi mocking herself, “but someday I hope to host the Oscars just once.”
Her interest in volunteerism came from a sense of deep appreciation because her family was often on the receiving end of charity. In her essay about Bob Hope Naomi shares, “True humanitarians never do it for the awards, and Mr. Hope certainly did not. He would spend weeks of his precious time traveling around to hot, dusty, cold, remote and dangerously located military camps, even putting his own life on the line, so he could lift the spirits of the soldiers who were putting their lives on the line every day during the war. It’s amazing that he dedicated so much time, energy, funds, and love, just so he could create smiles and warm hearts. Bob Hope’s dedication to this country was truly inspiring and I wish more of our nation was as patriotic as he was, especially in today’s society.”
Naomi graduated Colony High School this past June and is presently a freshman at Brigham Young University in Provo, Utah.
The Colony High School Marching Band, THEE Northern Sound, has been entertaining audiences across the country for more than a decade. They have performed at the National Independence Day Parade, a Presidential Inauguration, the Sugar Bowl, the Rose Parade, and Grand Nationals. Today, they represent Alaska for the very first time in the Macy’s Thanksgiving Day Parade in New York City! They are the northernmost high school band in the country. The band is under the direction of Dr. Jamin L. Burton and drum majors Michael Delph and Charlie Carte.