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February 1, 2013
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I am not a straight “A” student, nor am I a member of the National Honor Society. In fact, my story does not begin very well. I entered the foster care system at age two because of abuse and neglect by my birth parents. I had frequently been locked in a room with my younger brother for hours at a time. This caused me to panic when anyone would close the door to the room I was in. To this day, I struggle with being afraid of the dark. Due to poor nutrition and other factors allergies, asthma, and anxiety continue to affect my life. I’ve struggled with learning delays, visual processing difficulties, and emotional trauma. I was adopted at age four; it took a long time for me to believe that somebody actually loved me. My mom constantly reassured me. To help with my developmental delays, she exposed me to all the free educational and community events she could find. She brought me to festivals, concerts, and story hours during our frequent trips to the library. I was enrolled in summer theaters, and camps. This nurtured my self confidence. Seeing my love for swimming, my mom encouraged me to join the swim team. This lead to volleyball, basketball, and varsity water polo-3 years as goalie. My mom made me realize I have a real knack for promoting a spirit of teamwork. I’ve even discovered I have leadership abilities. This gave me confidence to regularly lead my basket ball team in pre-game prayer and to obtain a position as color guard captain in the marching band.

It’s been a rough ride, with many obstacles and tears. I’ve needed special education assistance throughout many of my school years, but I’ve learned to be resilient and persistent, to advocate for myself, and to continue fighting until I’ve discovered my strengths and how to use them. I’ve “hung in there” until I’ve found areas in which my talents can be used. Because of this, I’ve developed a talent for recognizing other people’s strengths. I am determined to succeed and to encourage others to succeed as well. My heart’s desire is to continue to influence others to be the best they can be. But first, I want to continue my education, improve my skills, and be the best I can be.

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