Common App Draft

Discuss an accomplishment, event, or realization that sparked a period of personal growth and a new understanding of yourself or others.

Before applying to my middle and high school, a single-sex public school that houses grades 6-12, as a mere fifth grader, my world was small. I went to school, saw people that came from families with the same socioeconomic status as mine, went home, did my homework, and went to bed. I was hardly involved in any activities, so I didn’t meet new people often. I was comfortable in my bubble. I didn’t understand how great of an impact the acceptance into my new school would soon have on my life. Shortly after the new school year started, I began meeting people from all over my hometown whose lives were completely different from mine. I soon realized that not everyone had grown up the same way I had. One of my classmates in particular has impacted my life the most. Her effect on my life was most noticeable when she moved in with my family during my sophomore year of high school.

Ebheni moved in with my family in October 2015 when she needed help getting to school and volleyball practices because her family lived across town. Directly after she moved in, I began learning from her. The first thing I learned was that Ebheni’s background is very different than mine. We come from different parts of the state, from different families, and from different cultures. She often has a different point of view about social topics or events that happen at school. Because of this, I often find myself turning to Ebheni to ask her opinion about topics ranging from global issues to whether or not she liked the lunch she ate that day. I have noticed that since she moved in with us, I search for new perspectives everywhere, not just when I’m with her. I enjoy hearing my classmates’ opinions on different social issues because their perspectives open my eyes to new ways of thinking. I actively research biased and unbiased news articles so I am not stuck in a bubble of my own partiality. I have discovered a new interest in learning why others think the way they do and how their backgrounds have shaped them.

My school teaches leadership as an important life skill. For a long time, I thought I didn’t possess the qualities to be a leader. I thought there was a cookie cutter definition of how one is supposed to lead; they must be outgoing, loud, and extroverted. In fact, I was wrong. The second lesson I learned from Ebheni is a leadership quality my school allowed us to learn on our own: people lead in different ways. Ebheni is one of the most outgoing people I know, qualifying her, by my original definition, to be a great leader. I, however, am not quite as extroverted as her, nor as extroverted as the stereotypical leader. From viewing mine and Ebheni’s leadership roles on our volleyball team and at school, I’ve realized that I can be quiet and a leader the same way others can be loud and leaders. These leadership qualities balance each other out in the long term.

The experience of having Ebheni become apart of my family is one I will remember for the rest of my life. Not only have I learned more about someone I only knew as a classmate and teammate for most of my middle and high school career, but I have also learned a lot about myself. From Ebheni, I have learned the importance of diversity of thought and background, and how to keep an open mind. I have turned disagreements into learning experiences, and I don’t immediately shut out those who are expressing beliefs I disagree with. Also from Ebheni, I have learned the importance of variety in leadership. My quieter form of leadership is just as important as a louder, more outgoing form of leadership.


Rhetorical Analysis of George C. Wallace’s Inaugural Address

In 1963, George C. Wallace gave his gubernatorial inaugural address in Montgomery, Alabama. Gov. Wallace had many strong beliefs that he proudly expressed in his address. For example, he spoke heavily on the topic of his support for segregation as well as his belief in a less powerful federal government. Wallace claimed that a strong state government is necessary for the United States to function as a country. The governor presented this speech in hopes of appealing to his conservative, white supporters from Alabama by using religious diction, historical references, and a sarcastic tone.

When George C. Wallace gave his inaugural address, he was speaking to a very limited audience: his white supporters in Alabama. When Wallace enforced his faith in God and Christianity, his audience was able to relate to him. This allowed Wallace to incorporate his beliefs of stronger state governments in a way that was understandable to those listening. According to the Pew Research Center, Alabama is currently the most religious state in the United States, with 82% of the population that are absolutely certain God exists. Wallace says that the United States was never meant to be united as one, but “a united of the many… In united effort we were meant to live under this government… whether Baptist, Methodist, Presbyterian, Church of Christ, or whatever one’s denomination or religious belief…” (pg. 8) By incorporating many different denominations of Christianity, Wallace was inclusive towards most of his Alabama-native audience members. When Wallace tied religion into his argument, he created a religious relationship with his audience increased the audience’s trust in Wallace and his views.

Throughout his speech, Gov. George C. Wallace used historical references to argue his belief in stronger state governments. Many times, Wallace turns to the original ideas of the founding fathers to explain why we should lessen the power of the central government. Wallace believed that all forms of government are unable “to give freedom… or deny freedom. As Thomas Jefferson has said, ‘The God who gave us life, gave us liberty at the same time; no King holds the right of liberty in his hands.’ Nor doe any ruler in American government.” (pg. 7) Wallace explains to his audience that America hasn’t followed the decentralized path set by the founding fathers. Gov. Wallace wants to recreate an America where the nation isn’t, “…a unit of one… but a unit of many… that is the exact reason our forefathers established the states, so as to divide the rights and powers among the many states, insuring that no central power could gain mast government control.” (pg. 8)

Finally, throughout Gov. George C. Wallace’s speech, Wallace carefully chose his wording to create a sarcastic tone. In doing so, Wallace degraded progressives and pushed his conservative views onto his audience, leading Alabama to become one of six red-states in the 1964 presidential election. Gov. Wallace mentions how faith and reasoning have “long since been forgotten as the so-called ‘progressives’ tell us that our constitution was written for ‘horse and buggy’ days… so were the Ten Commandments.” (pg. 6) Using the words “so-called” and placing the word “progressives” in quotations, Gov. Wallace nearly seems disgusted at the idea of progressive motives; motives that he doesn’t believe are progressive at all.

According to Governor George C. Wallace’s inaugural speech, he deeply believed that the decentralized plan of the founding fathers is the way the United States should continue to run the government. Wallace interpreted quotes of the founding fathers throughout his speech to show that a strong state government is what the founders of the United States wanted. Wallace also used God and Christianity to relate to his audience. When Gov. Wallace used God as a reason for the need of strong state governments, more people were able to understand his argument due to the high number of those that believe in God in Alabama. Lastly, Wallace used a sarcastic tone to degrade progressives for their belief in a constantly changing interpretation of the constitution. Wallace makes it obvious he disagreed with the progressives through his word choice and tone. By the end of his speech, Gov. George C. Wallace made sure his motives were clear: to lessen the power of the federal government and to strengthen the power of the state governments.

Works Cited

“Electoral College Votes.” 270toWin. Accessed 8 Mar. 2017. Chart.

Lipka, Michael, and Benjamin Wormald. “How Religious Is Your State?” Pew Research Center, 29 Feb. 2016. Accessed 7 Mar. 2017.

Wallace, George C. “Inaugural Address.” 14 Jan. 1963, Montgomery, Alabama. Speech transcript.

Trend of Violence in the United States

I created this video to compile the never-ending news reports about shootings and violence in the United States. History continues to repeat itself. Schools, places that are supposed to feel extremely safe, continue to have shots fired within them. Why didn’t we change anything after 20 first graders were shot? Why do school shootings continue to happen? Why do we have to prepare and practice lockdown for such horrors? And a simple speeding ticket should not end in the death of a black man or woman. A trigger-happy cop should not end an innocent black person’s life. And yet, this continues to happen on the daily. We have too many hashtags. There are hashtags for names of those who have innocently been shot by the police, of places that we need to #PrayFor because they have suffered gun violence. A hashtag isn’t enough. And we, as a country, need to do something, anything about it. What will convince us to change our laws? Why have we let so many people die because of our stubborn ways? When will we say enough is enough?

Girl Writes Satirical Paragraph; Teacher is Shocked

On September 1, 2016, Claire L astounded all by writing a satirical paragraph for her English class. “I am shocked,” Ms. Langley, Claire’s English teacher, commented. Because the paragraph was assigned, L challenged herself to write a satire. The 16-year-old wrote tirelessly before finishing her final product. The astonishment of her classmates only lasted a brief moment, and soon everyone began ogling over other students’ work. Meanwhile L sat back, looking at her work and saying, “This paragraph is my love; my life.”

Creative Response Proposal

As a response to Claudia Rankine’s Citizen, I plan on creating a video compilation of news reports, viral videos, and video that I take to demonstrate the need for violence in America to be controlled and, eventually, stopped. Whether the clips are about the black lives matter movement or gun control, for example, the video will portray the message that there is too much violence in the United States. My video will also portray the message that we, as a nation, need to step back and see that there are ways to stop the brutality and the only thing standing in our way is our stubbornness. My audience will be anyone who is willing to watch my video, though I will most likely post it to my WordPress. My hope is for those that are not supportive of the message my video is trying to convey will have a new perspective on the problems in America.