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Some of the most heroic people are those who aren’t tremendously famous. In 1941, after three prisoners had escaped a work camp, the SS selected ten men to die of starvation in an underground bunker in order to discourage escape attempts. Among the selected was a man who sobbed “My poor wife! My poor children! What will they do?” This man’s sorrow was the reason why St. Maximilian Kolbe volunteered his life in replacement, which resulted in his execution.
Kolbe’s influence on me cannot be put into words. Regardless, here is how I would best describe it. In the spur of the moment, Kolbe proved to be selfless. He seized the opportunity to assist a stranger almost immediately and stuck by his decision. Helping others has always been my main goal. In saying this, it would appear as if Kolbe has had no influence on me because I valued kindness before I was aware of his selflessness. Kolbe’s influence on me has been the reason I have not given up on my goal towards being the epitome of the word “nice.” Now a senior, I’ve become the person who people can count on if they ever have a problem. I don’t like to expect anything in return because I hope my personality rubs off on those around me. Away from school, I act the same way, helping strangers just as Kolbe did.
Kolbe is a hero who is not necessarily that well known, and perhaps this is the first time you’ve heard of him. His slight publicity is what I believe to be ideal because he maintains the perfect balance of modesty and fame. His image has impacted my goals as an adult creating a desire to become a hero to someone. It’s not that I wouldn’t enjoy becoming famous, but by being realistic with myself I think I’ll achieve greater heights. I’m always thinking of how I could react on the spot by performing some heroic act. Even if I never have the immediate opportunity to do something as honorable as saving a life, being what I like to call an “everyday hero” is most important. On a philosophical level, the smallest acts of kindness can go on to change the world. The Principle of Causality and the laws of physics state that every action has a reaction, so by making the initial act one of kindness, we up our chances of receiving one of the same. I believe that even though it may at times seem pointless to go out of the way to be nice, it can have an outstanding effect even if it goes unrecognized.
I will probably never reach a level of heroism close that of Kolbe, but I’ve developed a series of blueprints to help me get to my own, personal destination. First, I plan on becoming involved in business. From there, I hope to use my company and own personal assets to give back to my school. I’ve been privileged in receiving the scholarship money that allows me to attend an excellent school. A donation is the best way I can give someone else the chance to obtain an excellent education. The main reason I’d like to do this is because education does not deserve a monetary value. Education, in itself, is priceless because it opens up an infinite number of doors. If I can remove the price tag on an education for one lucky student, both he and his family can focus on education as education, and not as some sort of product that they need to continue to pay into in order for it to work. I would be changing someone’s life, a heroic trait indeed.
Applying to college is the next logical step towards becoming a hero. I will use my desires and goals as incentives to continue to achieve both academically and socially. With a big heart and an invaluable education, the sky is the limit. I’ll never forget St. Maximilian Kolbe and whenever I succeed, feel down, or just want to appreciate something I’ll look down at my chest and see him on my necklace as I do now.
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