The Election

Describe a significant setback, challenge or opportunity in your life and the impact that it has had on you.

Near the end of my junior school year, I ran for senior class president. My decision was based on a few different factors. For one, I wanted to play a larger role in my school. Although I have always participated in school athletics, I have historically not participated in clubs and school organizations, and I was eager to change that. Also, I knew that the senior class president is granted an opportunity to give a speech to the graduating class at the graduation ceremony. That was the selling point for me, because the opportunity to address my fellow students on one of the best days of our lives is priceless. My announcement was met with much excitement and congratulations from students throughout my class. Someone spoke to me about it every day leading up to the election. My opponent was a long time office holder, and she did not expect me to challenge her in the election. Election day came and I was on edge. I had been furiously campaigning and reminding friends of the event, and I was optimistic but unsure of the results. When the results came in, I had won. Almost as soon as the good news echoed through the halls, I came upon bad news. There were reports of my voters stuffing the ballot box. I would never endorse such cheating, and the rumors dismayed me. As I heard more and more stories, I eventually heard stories with names attached. Without hesitation, I approached each of the three people that had reportedly cast multiple votes. They confirmed that it was true. I felt that my whole accomplishment was ruined. I knew that many, many people had honored me with their votes and had not cheated. These people were lifelong friends of mine. These people were fellow classmates who had maybe only heard me give a speech in English class. A few students had ruined a very good thing for myself and dishonored all the people who had fairly voted in the election, whichever side they were on. I was about ready to announce that I would step down from my position as newly elected class president, when the head teacher of student council approached me. She asked me about the cheating, and I told her everything I knew. She informed me that there would be a re-vote. I told her that I was in favor of that, although secretly I knew it would be hard to ask voters to cast their ballots again when they thought that I had cheated in the last election. I decided I would go ahead and try it again for one reason. Even if only one person would vote for me in the next election, it would be worth it. Because if I didn’t run, I would be letting that one person down. As I had expected, it was not easy to ask people who had done me a favor to do it again, but I did it. Surprisingly enough, this time my adversary launched a huge campaign. She gave out cookies with her name “for president” labeled on the plastic wrap of each pack. She sent out electronic messages to masses of students on “MySpace,” a medium I have no experience with. It would be a tough race. It was a different election the second time. There were adults, not students, running the polls this time. Students couldn’t vote without a driver’s license or official school I.D. After a student would cast a ballot, their name was marked off of a list of everyone in the junior class. After the election, it took three times as long to count the ballots. They were making sure this time. The results came in for the second time, and I had won again. The impact was huge. I had learned a lesson about “sticking with it.” I had learned that friends, and forging relationships with the people around you at all opportunities in life, are always better than cookies. Also, this was an opportunity for me to teach those three students who had cheated in the first election a lesson about honesty. Honesty always pays off. Lastly, I learned that when the going gets tough, I need to look deep into my ethics and values and make an educated decision with them in mind.

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