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My love for wearing costumes developed as a child. Even today, I’d have to say, I still enjoy wearing them. As the president of the DECA chapter at my school, I get to dress up in pant suits and pearls, while role-playing as a CEO. While my costume gives me confidence, it is my work ethic and study habits that lead me to success. To prepare for my category, Business Law and Ethics, I had to master knowledge of the customer-service mindset, and study ethical dilemmas in the business world. My DECA experience has allowed me to become proficient in on-the-spot problem solving, marketing strategies, and working with others whom I don’t know very well. My partner and I won our competition and became State Finalists. Our achievement was a true testament to the hours we spent after school practicing and studying.

As a leader of the Fightin’ Titans, my school’s student section at athletic events, my costumes vary. Some nights I put on a neon tutu, suspenders, and tall socks for a “Neon Out.” Other nights, I proudly wear red, white, and blue for the USA -themed games. Though I am only wearing these ridiculous costumes for the fun of it, my passion for promoting school spirit is very real. The rush that I get when I lead students in cheers and chants is fulfilling. Showing pride in T.C. Williams is one thing that will never get old, no matter the wins, no matter the losses. When I gaze up at my student section, shielding my eyes from the bright stadium lights, I see myself at college games. I will wave the flag of my school proudly; I will wear the colors of my school loudly, and I will always refer to my team as “we.”

A few days a week after school I wear a different kind of costume, my work uniform. The blue polo, khaki shorts and baseball cap reflect qualities that have always been important to me: hard work, professionalism, responsibility and efficiency. As a part of the golf staff at the local country club, I’ve learned the importance of knowing how to converse with the members, as well as strangers. Getting to know the 100+ members, listening to their stories, and networking with them has allowed me to learn so much. It builds my confidence to talk to such accomplished people and I learn from them. This important skill is something that I will take with me to college. I will learn from my professors and fellow students alike, just as I do from the members at the country club.

At the end of each day, I take off my costume and slip on my pajamas. Then, I think about the next role that I’m going to play. I reflect on the qualities that make up the person I am. I consider all the costumes that will allow me to demonstrate those qualities, and I envision my future.

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