As a bilingual student, I’ve learned to give my best amidst adversity. Juggling to translate classes or not knowing how to order at a restaurant was tough on me. Back then, there were many instances when I would ask for extra help and step out of my comfort zone to improve my English and find a sense of community. I can now read, write, and speak fluent English. Growing up on a ranch in Mexico taught me about hard work. This work mentality pushed me to stay consistent and finish what I started, including when my family and I migrated to the U.S. Along with my family, we would pick huckleberry, a popular berry on the Oregon South Coast. We would do this to earn a dollar for our clothes for the new school year. Learning the value of making a dollar at an early age also taught me to be responsible.
Furthermore, joining the High School track team taught me about having integrity, competing with class, and adding to the legacy. During pre-season of track this year, I ran with younger athletes that often wanted to take shortcuts or skip the workouts. I would encourage them to always do the right thing when nobody’s watching; in other words, have integrity and practice hard because change doesn’t come overnight. There are times when I don’t feel the best, but when speaking to my supportive family, coaches, and friends. It enables me to think about the long-term results and the reward of the sacrifice. This year, I was appointed as one of the team captains, where I have worked to lead in a supportive and courageous way—in other words, finding a method to lift my teammates, so we connect through a community and continue to progress.
I have learned how to compete with integrity, lead by example, and support my community. Because my community has helped and inspired me to be the best version of myself, sacrificing the gift can mean many things, but for me, it means not letting my community down but, most importantly, letting myself down. I always give my best, if I don’t I am sacrificing the gift. Through hardships and obstacles, we learn about sacrifices and the meaningful results at the end of the tunnel. Because “To give anything less than your best is to sacrifice the gift.” – Steve Prefontaine.