Winning Essay by Taylor Rhea, Bellarmine University
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History has provided us with a multitude of historical figures that lead the world in areas of science, politics, and entertainment to name a few. These individuals in a way are planting a seed in a vast garden in which future generations can revel in and hopefully plant their own. As a young black girl, I always felt empowered and encouraged when hearing about the achievements of African Americans that lead to a change in how our reality is shaped today. I didn’t have a true dream until I was about nine when I had developed a huge interest in space. For me, space was a world beyond ours that I wanted to know and be a part of. At a young age, my father always took an interest in my dreams and goals and always encouraged me to work hard and be the best me that I could possibly be to make my dreams become reality. Even though he is not noted in history books my father, Michael Rhea, is my greatest inspiration.

I choose my father as my biggest inspiration due to his willingness to work hard in the face of immense obstacles so my siblings and I can reach our dreams. My father at a young age grew up in a single-parent household and saw how hard his mother had to work to provide for him and his sister. Due to family struggle, he couldn’t attend college and, in the end, wasn’t able to do what he whole heartily dreamed of doing. As I was growing up, I remember him working in a few factories, I also remember how tired he was after working third shift. Even though he was exhausted he always made time for us at the end of the day.

Throughout my years in school, he always asked me what I wanted to be and how hard I was willing to work. He always told us to dream big, go to college, and not make the same mistakes he made. He made sure we went to the best schools possible and we gave nothing less than 120% effort in everything we did. At times I felt pressure, but I came to realize that he doesn’t want me to regret anything in life. As I’m pursuing a degree in Biology, I have faced my fair share of obstacles and been on the verge of quitting but then I think about the opportunity I have been provided. My father didn’t have the opportunity to pursue college at my age and he worked hard for me to be here. Knowing this makes me want to work even harder to make not only him proud by also to make myself proud. I’m extremely grateful for all that he has done even if I don’t say it enough. Life will have more challenges for me in the future but through him, I learned you must get through the ugly to see the beauty in it.

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