Never Give Up: GradNation's Essay Winner

Over 300 students attended the GradNation Community Summit on October 19th in Modesto Centre Plaza hosted by United Way of Stanislaus County.  Featured speaker Jeremy Bates, Flip Rodriguez and over 30 community leaders interacted with students, aged 6-10th grade, inspiring them to strive for academic success and high school graduation. America's Promise Alliance and AT&T sponsored the event providing this unique experience. Students were challenged to go back to school and write an essay or blog entry about their GradNation experience and the impact it had on them. The winning essay (below) was submitted by a student from Creekside Middle School, Patterson, CA. For sharing their story the student will be awarded a new laptop donated by James Bates from Datapath and have their essay shared on the America's Promise website. 

GradNation Essay Contest Winner

Student's Name has been withheld for privacy

The Graduation Nation fieldtrip was an inspiring and wonderful experience,
personally, for myself and possibly for many others. It was a motivational and
marvelous experience because the speakers were very kind, and the words they
spoke were meaningful and had great depth.
I believe the field trip to have been a good learning experience because we got
to interact with people from others schools and, most importantly, adults that each
had very important jobs in our community and Modesto. We learned that each of
them has a grand love for their job and their community, and that they each had once
made a mistake in their life. Like what Blair and Jeremy taught us with the painting,
when that one kid messed it up slightly. Don’t give up whenever someone tends to
mess things up, just simply work harder and overcome the challenges perhaps.
Something that greatly impacted my experience was one of the quotes that
Jeremy said, this is either paraphrased or the exact quote.”Don’t focus on the things
that give you happiness briefly, focus on the things that give you happiness eternally“
Another thing that greatly impacted my experience was knowing that each of them
are such successful adults, yet in their past. When they were as old as ourselves, they
experienced horrid things and they know the pain of being in school as well. And
there is something about them that is so relatable, which helps most of us listen to
them and acknowledge that the things they are saying, are to help us.
This experience will impact my future and education, because usually
whenever I feel down or something, sometimes I don’t even try. But hearing their
experiences makes me think that,” Perhaps I can get through this dark time, maybe I
can just get through the darkness and ascent to the light at the end of the tunnel.” So
ultimately, the true message out of this whole amazing trip that I got was that the
students should never give up regardless of those who believe they will just up. This
will also alternate my future because nowadays I wear a mask almost 24/7, in school
and sometimes at home. At school, I use it to hide myself because I feel like I was
weird because I was what people called a “geek”, I watch anime and I get good grades,
but ultimately I am socially awkward. Regardless of this time, I still try my hardest
with school and I will remember the lesson that GradNation and its presenters taught
us. To never give up.