From Humble Beginnings

Open-ended

My father has always told me that education can break down many barriers, whether they are class, racial, or religious. For this reason my father has made it a priority for me and my sister to attend well established private schools. This education has come at a heavy price to my father. As a truant officer, he has had to work extremely long hours in some of the toughest areas of Los Angeles. I know there have been great accomplishments made over the last forty years concerning social and racial equality. My father and grandfather would have never been able to attend my high school, Pilgrim School. However, attending Pilgrim School has opened my eyes to the continuing inequalities in society. My school claims to be one of the most diverse schools in Los Angeles; however, I am the only African American student in four of my classes. Many of my friends drive new cars, while I could not even get my drivers license because my family could not spare the money. While many of my classmates drive home to neighborhoods like Hancock Park (a very ritzy part of Los Angeles), I must go home to Gardena, often taking an hour and a half to get home on public transportation. During these long rides home I pass through many desperately poor areas of town. I know that most children living in these poverty stricken areas do not have the opportunity to attend a school like mine. These students are attending public schools that are under funded, overcrowded and mismanaged. These schools are the reoccurrence of Ringgold Colored High School in modern times. I know that if my father had not sacrificed and worked for me, then I would be one of those children attending these schools facing greater challenges and obstacles. Because of the struggles and accomplishments of my father and grandfather I am proud to carry on their legacy of self empowerment and achievement. My grandfather wanted his heirs to be able to live in a society free from prejudice with equal opportunities for all. I see the influence of my grandfather in society and live my life as an extension of his work. One way that I would like to carry on this legacy is through education. I want to give back to the community through medical research and discovery. This is my dream, to help ailing patients and to contribute to the welfare of future generations.

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