Winning Essay by Shawin K., University of Texas San Antonio
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While I have found inspiration from many different people throughout my life, there has been one person in particular that has inspired me the most. This person and I share many similarities. For example, both our fathers are of Kenyan descent. We both struggled to find our identity as children and came from humble beginnings; our parents giving anything to ensure our basic needs. While he eventually became the 44th President of the United States, I strive to become President of a fortune 500 company.

Former President Obama’s life journey has been a great inspiration to me. Growing up as a poor black kid, I was encouraged when I saw someone in the Oval Office who had the same hair, ears, and skin color as me. His ability to build a life from simple beginnings to become a senator, and eventually, the leader of the free world is a living example that anyone can attain the American dream. President Obama proved to me that anything is possible in this great nation. All you have to do is stay focused, driven, and patient. With persistence, anything can happen.

Through his example, I have been ambitious enough to chase after a future of success. I’ve worked to earn good grades, intern at the Plano Chamber of Commerce, found and run a club dedicated to empowering students especially ones of color, and become the first member in my family to attend a major four-year university. I do not know where I would be if it wasn't for President Obama, but I do know that if it wasn't for him I would have not been inspired to strive for greatness. While I have already established myself as a leader and dream chaser, the excellence with which President Obama leads his life has shown me that even the most accomplished people can achieve more. I hope that Regions can help me to achieve the heights that great men such as Obama have shown me how to reach.

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