Winning Essay by D’Andre H., Drury University
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The great thing about history, is that it offers us so many examples and sources of inspiration to reference. History is constantly being shaped around us, in our very lifetimes. One such agent of history that has been a personal inspiration of mine, is David Andre Hill. Hill is currently the respective head cross country and track & field coach at Sam Houston High School. He was formerly one of the women’s basketball coaches. He is also my father.

Being a high school coach can be challenging. High school is a time of changes, hormones, and the beginning of the struggle of finding one’s self and their identity. Teenagers can be difficult to handle. Sometimes the parents of these children are just as difficult to interact with, especially when athletics are involved. Each day, my dad leaves the house before the sun is up. He’s off to work, providing for his family, impacting the lives of the next generation, but even more importantly, doing what he is passionate about. It is this combination of the pursuit of passion, purposeful commitment, and a plan to better the lives of others that inspires me.

Through the years I have had the opportunity to witness several students and athletes come into my father’s life. Sometimes they would come over to our house for a meal and games for bonding. Many times, he was the last coach to leave his campus, waiting to ensure each athlete was picked up and accounted for after games and meets. Equally as often, he would pick up athletes for practice or drop them off at home afterwards. Yes, he is invested in their academic and athletic careers while in high school, but he is even more invested in ensuring they have a plan for their lives and a future ahead of them. He often hears from or runs into his former students and it is always a sight to see the genuine joy on his face that they have gone out into the world and done something productive with themselves, even if that’s just working multiple jobs locally.

I can recall that we once took a student into our home for several weeks, because she needed a place to stay and was having issues with her family at home. The heart and soul that he puts into his students, athlete or not, is prominent. It shows in the things he does, the things he says, and the interactions that he has. Lastly, he is my father. He is a source of strength for me. He continuously supports and encourages me. I am pursuing a degree in animation because of him. I walked onto my university’s track team because of him and his belief in me. I got through jaw surgery this past summer because of the support system surrounding me, and he is a major part of that system. My father is more than my inspiration. David Hill is a hero. I hope to be just like him.

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