Growing up in the south side of Chicago wasn’t an easy task. You hear gunshots every night and see multiple innocent lives taken by gang members. As I got older, I felt the streets got worse. My parents were great parents and they installed leadership and responsibility in me. I believe I matured faster than most children my age because, I gave myself responsibility and motivation earlier than most. In the fifth grade I was introduced to basketball, one of the most memorable moments that made me who I am today.
Another memorable moment would be, in eighth grade I graduated valedictorian. Now I just recently graduated high school, something most black male teens didn’t do in my city. Those three moments I feel modded me into the man I am today and the man I will be in the future. I grew up in the projects where everyone looked out for one another, we were like a family. Before fifth grade, I was the kind of child who went to school, did homework, and played with toys and things of that nature.Order now
The start of my fifth grade year my uncle, who was the coach, asked me if I wanted to play basketball and I responded sure. From there, I worked in the gym and outside the gym. I stayed with a basketball in my hand wherever I went. It is almost like I made it my obligation to take whatever I do serious. Being on a basketball team gave me another family and a bond that I never knew I could have. Coach made everyone responsible for everyone on the team because we all were apart of one team.
My parents always told me school was first and that everything else came second. I had done just that. I stayed with all A’s and a starting position on the fifth and sixth grade team. My parents drilled responsibility and leadership in me and I carried that with me. I am the oldest of three siblings, so I was forced to obtain these qualities. I have never let anything stand in the way of my education that is why, I was named the valedictorian for my eighth grade class. I was the number one student and graduating with that honor was a blessing.
My accomplishment didn’t come easy because I had a responsibility in school, on the court, and at home so I knew school would have to stay the first priority. I did all homework assignments and made sure any questions I had were answered. I made my parents proud once they were notified of my award and it felt great seeing the smiles they had at my graduation as I gave my speech. I stayed humble because I knew that in the fall I would be attending a top high school in Chicago, and things will only get harder from this point.
Freshman year was pretty much the same as my entire junior high school days. I finished fourth out of 220 students with all A’s and a B on my final report card. Sophomore year was the worst year school wise I ever had in my entire life. I was in danger of failing a class first semester and I needed a turn around. Once the basketball season was over I focused on school only and my grades looked better but not where I wanted them to be. Junior year in high school seemed to be the most important with the ACT test and colleges really starting to creep around the corner.
From junior year on I had a job and gave myself more responsibility. My parents had two young daughters to raise and I helped out by getting a job. I shied away from basketball and it was only school and work. Towards the senior year time began to fly past. I was now really putting thought into college and knew that was my next step. Graduating high school wasn’t as common as it was in the older days. But, through all of the obstacles that life placed in front of me, I stayed on task and did what I needed to do.
Being responsible is easier said than done. I feel I would only get better and grow not only as a man,but as a person to. The responsibility and leadership that I’ve gained over the years made me who I am. The moments I cherish and remember give me motivation every day. I wish I can relive my eighth grade graduation just once more, or remember the exact day I first picked up that basketball. Maybe even hear my named called by my high school principal and grab my diploma. These are somethings that will live with me as I continue my journey to greatness.