Tell us about someone who has made a difference in your life.

I’ve lived with my grandparents all my life. My grandfather, whom I call “Pipo,” is like a father to me, and he is absolutely, no-doubt-about-it my favorite person in the world. He is intrigued by everything academic and has a photographic memory. He can do math in his head without pencil or paper and he knows about every incident in world history. All my life, he’s encouraged me to be the smartest person I can be. When I was five, he taught me how to read the poetry of José Martí. When I was 13, we memorized the capitals of all the countries in the world together. When I was 15 years old, Pipo made a comment in the car on our way to school that changed everything for me. As the radio news blared from the speakers, he absentmindedly remarked something along the lines of, “There are a million things happening in the world today, and every one of these stations only knows about Castro and what he ate for dinner yesterday.” To understand how intensely his words affected me, you have to understand our relationship. I didn’t meet my biological father until I was seven years old, but, to me, Pipo is my real dad. Pipo was there for my piano recitals. He was there for every scraped knee and every paper cut with a bandage ready. When I moved to the United States with my mom, Pipo was the one who gave up his position as Head of the Textile Industry and very comfortable life, who convinced my grandma to leave Cuba and follow us to a foreign country. His devotion to me is only challenged by my own admiration of him. When I was small, I lived on his every word, and now that I’m older, he and I are incessantly discussing our diverse point of views on politics and current affairs. I’ve been engulfed in the world of mass communications since before I could walk because my grandfather watches, reads, and listens to the news 24 hours a day- literally. He has the radio news on all night as he half-sleeps. He’s always complained about “yellow journalism” and how reporters love to scandalize their stories, meanwhile avoiding the crucially important things. His seemingly insignificant comment about Castro made me realize all the opportunities that reporters might pass up by concerning themselves with canards. At that moment, I felt as though it were up to me to become an honest reporter whom news-philes like Pipo can trust with delivering accurate information. Ever since then, I’ve taken every reporting opportunity I’ve come across, like becoming an intern at the Miami Herald and participating in a journalism summer program at BU, and I am set on continuing that trend by going to school at a great university. I want to be able to repay Pipo for everything he sacrificed to watch me grow up by becoming a renowned and respected journalist.

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