First Place Winner: Jacob Morales, 12th Grade
When I think about the person I am and who I want to become, the first person who comes to mind is Grandma Jada. While struggling with living in the American culture, and while working full time at the local cannery, she raised seven children and set them all on successful paths. Despite the adversities she faced, her loving outlook and demeanor remained unchanged. She routinely gives much of her time to the church, to her neighbors and to relatives. Her actions reinforce in me how important it is to help and be gracious to others. Inspired by this, I have done volunteer work for the Arts & Cultural Foundation of Antioch for three years. At the foundation, I fund-raise and advertise for community concerts and art shows and I deliver extra food from events to local homeless shelters. My step-grandmother and her strong, loving personality model the personality that I strive for. When faced with adversity, I think of her courage; I hear her voice in my head saying, “Do not give up, I am proud of you.” She brightens my world, influences my character, and remains my primary source aspiration. I know in the future I will fulfill my ambitions as I continue on my path to becoming who I want to be—someone like my step-grandmother, someone who possesses her charity, courage, and strength.
My love of learning and drive to reach my goals comes from the example set by my grandmother. My goal is to become a physical therapist and to devote myself to helping the physically impaired. My aspirations come from the values and ideals instilled in me by my family and exemplified by my Grandma Jada. The ideals set by her guide me, and her memory drives me to never stop learning and improving. I don’t know that I’ll change the world, but I know that, following her example, I will improve the parts of it I touch.