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Anthony Brandt once said “Other things may change us, but we start and end with the family.” While others have certainly influenced my life, nothing has shaped the person I am more than my family.
My grandfather follows current events like a cult member its leader. Since I was very young, my grandfather has asked me invigorating questions, sometimes lighthearted and warm, sometimes playing the role of devil’s advocate. We often discussed compelling topics such as the role of government in society or the importance of civil liberty and rights in a democracy. At the helm of my pubescence, a life passion was born within me. I began to absorb current events, history and politics like a sponge. Subsequently, I joined the Speech/Debate team of which I am now President. Another highlight of my civic participation was when my peers chose me to represent their views concerning national and global issues in the local newspaper. While I am proud of these accomplishments, I am even more proud of my Grandfather for nurturing this lifelong passion.
Although both intellectual vigor and civic engagement are valuable traits by themselves, my family taught me that they are far greater when combined with altruism and empathy. My parents volunteer their time generously to help others. I share an appreciation of the need to help others and have done so. Whether repairing bicycles or collecting food, I worked hard to earn the Outstanding Community Service Award for the past two years given by the National Honor Society.
The Boy Scouts of America has also instilled within me a sense of civic duty that extends into many aspects of my life. Since the age of five my parents have supported my involvement in scouting. On the long trail to becoming an Eagle Scout, it was the ascent to the top of the mountain I value most, not the top of the mountain itself. Reaching the Silver Peak of Catalina Island, canoeing down the Colorado River, and scuba-diving the depths of Emerald Bay were all diverse scout outings that cultivated my appreciation of nature and my desire to work towards preserving our planet’s natural resources.
My experiences in cross country have also made me a better person. I began running nine years ago when my dad and I joined a running team together. Cross country is different from most other sports in that on race day it is all you. There are no umpires, referees, or time-outs. There is only a starting line, a finish line, and one’s own willpower that will decide the outcome of the race. Cross country taught me to see far into the distance and push myself farther than I thought I could go.
All of these are activities from which I have and will continue to derive much meaning and purpose. I am thankful my family fostered my interests and supports my pursuit of public service. Anthony Brandt was truly wise when he stated that our personal changes begin and end with the family.
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