Winning Essay by Dwayne L., University of North Carolina-Wilmington

Winning Essay by Dwayne L., University of North Carolina-Wilmington

An African American who has inspired me and continues to do so, is my father, Dwayne Leach. The reason why I selected my father is because of the effort I have seen him display in order to help others. As he was raising me, he taught me the importance of paying it forward. He devotes his time every day as an educator knowing that when he would join that career professionally it wouldn’t be a very lucrative option. Despite this, he entered the profession of education with the mindset that the value of money is not as important as the value of educating the younger generation.

When I inquired as to why he decided to become an educator he informed me of the following, “I decided to become an educator because I wanted to make a difference in my community. When I decided to continue my journey in education I did not want to teach a perfect classroom, because whether or not I was there, the students would succeed no matter how good or bad of a teacher I was. I wanted to be in a classroom that actually needed me to be there, to teach to the average or below-average students so that I could make the most effective and positive difference. It’s a struggle everyday dealing with students that don’t want to learn, students that are only there because it’s a meal, or students that are only there because their friends are there; however, the daily increase in their knowledge and general attitudes is what makes it worth to me.”

Considering this, along with the fact that he is in a community service group where he spends a significant amount of time helping the community by providing mentorships, donations, fundraising, and more showed me what it means to be a leader. I tried to emulate his actions by joining a group known as the Young Male Achievers, which was a group of young men who used their time to give back to the community by rebuilding shelters, donating to families, cleaning up neighborhoods, serving as mentors to those younger than them, and much more. I’m trying to continue the habits that he instilled in me by joining the same organization that he is in this semester so I can serve the community more so than I already have thanks to my father.

In summation, my father may not be a famous person that is known throughout the world, however, in his community he has motivated and encouraged others to achieve their best even at times when they do not know what their best is or should be. To some he might just be an educator, but to others where they have never had a male educator or mentor, especially an African-African one, he’s a hero to them, and someone I inspire to be.


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