The 18th century French philosopher Denis Diderot said, “Only passions, great passions can elevate the soul to great things.” Describe one of your passions and reflect on how it has contributed to your personal growth.

“BANG! BANG! BANG!” I slam the gavel on the desk to get everyone’s attention. As I sit in front of the High School Site Council, full of administrators, teachers, students, and members of the community, I call the meeting to order. Serving as the President of the Torrey Pines Site Council is just one of my many leadership tasks. At the conclusion of the meeting, I rush over to the tennis courts, where I, as the Varsity Team Captain, hold a preseason practice. The next day at the football game, I don the heavy, plastic and feathered suit that transforms me into Freddy the Falcon, the spirited school mascot. Concurrently, I am on the phone calling various venues for the senior prom I am organizing. Taking on all of these responsibilities has been a challenge; however, it is a challenge I am devoted to, and because of it, I am not just a student at my school, I am an integral part of my school. Ever since the fourth grade, when I first ran for office in the Student Council, I have been leading my classmates. I look back to those years, remembering the nervous excitement I felt when I explained to my classmates why I was the best candidate. I also recall my feelings of pride and exhilaration as I stood on the school stage in front of hundreds of people and became the emcee for the annual school talent show. On that very stage, my passion for leadership was born. In middle school, I continued my work in student government. I was involved with numerous fundraisers and dances, and was appointed to the desirable position of lunchtime DJ. I accepted all of these responsibilities because it was fun to be in charge, work with others, and make a positive contribution to my school. I never realized the skills that I was developing, and how they would contribute to my future achievements. I have always pushed myself toward academic excellence; however, upon entering high school, I decided I wanted more out of this once in a lifetime, four-year experience. For example, when I proudly transform into Freddy the Falcon, I attempt to instill my school spirit into the rest of the student body. Despite the costume’s thirty-pound weight and the sauna-like temperatures inside, I leap wildly and flap my cardinal and gold wings in a victory dance. Just as I embraced my roles as the grade school emcee and the middle school DJ, being a high school mascot is a labor of love. As the Chinese scholar Confucius once said, “Choose a job you love, and you will never have to work a day in your life.”I have come to realize that leadership is not just an office held or an event organized; it is an advantage that helps me excel in many aspects of my life. For the past three summers, I have been an assistant instructor for the Solana Beach Junior Lifeguard Program. My official duties have been to supervise and ensure the safety of a group of children at the beach. However, my leadership experience has guided me toward a larger role. I soon began organizing the group games, leading the drills, and mentoring the children in this program. I fondly recall the day when ten-year-old Brian approached me on the beach and stated, “Someday I want to be just like you AJ!” Since then, I have realized that I am more than an Assistant to these junior guards; I am a positive role model and a contributor to their growth and development.Leadership is my passion. Whether the future takes me into medicine, research, education, or The Oval Office, my role in society is as a leader—that is who I am in high school, strive to be in college, and plan to be for the rest of my life.

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