“If you could say one thing to the entire world at once, what would it be and why?”
Students have the opportunity to speak up in this unique scholarship. The Shout It Out Scholarship provides students the platform to give their thoughts a voice — and the chance to earn money for college. See our past winners and their scholarship responses below.
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Suicide is not the answer. As someone who has been suicidal and whose father took his own life, I have witnessed the outcome of both life and loss. I have seen how, upon his death, my father’s suffering didn’t evaporate: it merely dispersed to those who loved him. His pain was left to his friends and family to be carried in the form of unthinkable grief. As his daughter, my world was ultimately shattered and I have never been the same.Following my dad’s death, my preexisting mental health struggles escalated and led me to seek a way out. Although I was desperate for my suffering to cease, I knew very well from experience that suicide has a way of rippling outward and shaking countless lives in unimaginable ways. Thus, I had to accept that suicide was no longer an option, and I was forced to take the ultimate risk: fully committing to life. I’m grateful I did, because suicide wasn’t the answer for me after all. It wasn’t the answer for my father either, and I want others to learn from that.Reader, gift yourself a new beginning — starting today. Verbalize your pain, advocate for your needs, and find support. Recovery requires patience, vulnerability, courage, and tremendous inner work, but it IS possible to find purpose in being alive. You are never in too deep to be able to climb out. I?m living proof: today, I am doing better than ever. You deserve to be your best self, too.
Say it with me! The United States need to revamp their Sexual Education Program. I used to live in the county that has the best S.H.A.R.E. curriculum in Nevada. It includes developmentally appropriate, medically accurate, and culturally sensitive topics and provides strategies to support all students regardless of gender, race, disability, sexual orientation, and gender identity.
It also lays a foundation for knowledge and skills related to human development, relationships, decision making, consent, abstinence, contraceptives, and disease prevention. That may seem very impressive, but the curriculum is still not up to par with the needs of students. Students in Nevada are pushing for a curriculum with topics covering anatomy, contraception, sexual identity, gender identity, and very specifically, and sexual assault/rape. Students want open conversation about sex and harassment, but they also want to feel included in that conversation. Meaning LGBT students, students of all ethnicities, and students with disabilities need to be able to speak openly about sex and how to have it safely.
On top of that the lack of Sexual Education in Nevada has a large link to sexual assault. Some teens in high school are taught about sexual assault and rape, however they are commonly taught more about how to avoid getting sexually assaulted instead of learning how not to sexually assault. This means that the rate has risen due to the fact that we would rather pretend that these things do not happen. This is just not working anymore, we need to make a change.
“STOP CHILD ABUSE!” If the world could hear me scream, I would yell to anyone that would listen to help stop child abuse. Child abuse affects all of us, even if we weren’t abused ourselves. A child that suffers years of trauma at the hand of someone they know ultimately impacts them and others around them for years to come. That broken relationship due to the abuse affects how the child grows up and has their own trust issues and can’t form positive relationships with other people.
Our society is quickly changing due to the mental health issues and trauma kids my age suffer and have suffered. I have friends that suffer from depression and after getting to know them better and understand what they went through at an early age, watching domestic violence, being a victim of verbal or physical abuse, living in a broken home, all of those things have impacted their outlook on life now.
So many times we hear of school shootings and violence committed by teenagers only to find out they were a victim of their own abuse, causing them to strike out at others. The trauma that abused children face is hard to survive. Child abuse affects us all and will continue to dim the bright lights in our society for years to come.
“Remember to look up.” Tear your eyes from your phone screen, lift your head to see the beauty of reality. Take the time to gaze at the myriad stars that make you feel small and insignificant; watch the sun color the sky, edging out the darkness of night. Glance away, if only for a second, from schoolbooks and plans of the future, and absorb the world around you, taking in every mundane detail, for this instant will never come again (and one day, everything that now seems routine and unchanging could be gone). Open your heart, and look beyond what you know to better understand and appreciate those around you for who they are. Raise your critical eyes from your body and instead admire the face in the mirror, a face that is beautiful and unique and deserving of love.
“Remember to look up.” It is a friendly reminder, but one that should not be disregarded. The world moves too fast; people rush from one thing to the next in a flurry of emotion with a side of stress and a pinch of worry. We jump to conclusions, unable to spare the time to consider other perspectives. We spend our lives looking ahead, focused on our goals, convinced that happiness will come if we struggle relentlessly. But if we just pause and look up, we may see that happiness is already here.
No one, two, three. No ready, set. Just go. Just do. Ask for that raise. Apply to your dream school, even if you believe you won’t get in. Go explore the world. Everyone is either too scared of the negative possibilities or says that they don’t have the time. Thousands of comments on Facebook on videos of acts of kindness read, “Wow! We need more of this in the world!” No matter how many heart-eye or smiley emojis you put next to it, there is no “we” without you.
You must be the change you want to see in the world, not sitting on your front porch, casually talking about how messed up the world is. Do something about it. If you see something wrong, fix it. Even if you do not succeed, others will see the effort you are putting forth and may be inspired to do the same. Change starts from a spark that will set off a chain reaction. This reaction will be filled with love and compassion, but in order to get it started, people must take action. From talking to your government representative about changes you want to see, to going to a third-world country to build wells, every action taken is an action that counts for something. Go out into the world and change it, little by little. Simply go.
“Can I help you with that?” It could be a heavy box, an over‐sized sundae, or an overwhelming sense of fear. Lifting, sharing, reaching out a hand ‐ it’s what makes the human race, well, human. It could be your neighbor, your‐girlfriend‐you‐might‐be‐falling‐in‐love‐with or that disheveled guy standing on the corner who just made eye contact. By speaking the simple phrase, “Can I help you with that?” a burden becomes a bond, a dessert becomes a life‐changing memory or a stranger becomes a savior.
Too often today, we worry about everyone’s space. We don’t want to push, we aren’t implying they can’t do it on their own, we aren’t running around trying to save the world. So, we do nothing. We watch, we wonder and we let our own fears keep us distant from the very people and experiences that could make us become something more. When we dare to be aware of the people around us and the real individuals on the other side of our planet, we create our own place in this world. We define and shape and color our own piece to fit into this massive jigsaw of human existence.
What if we all looked around, moment to moment, person to person, nation to nation and said, “Can I help you with that?” Refugees become family, neighbors become friends and we each become something more.
I still feel the pains; I still have the belt marks on my back. Anytime I look in the mirror I see it, I cry because I know how it feels to be abused.He opened the door, came inside, covered my mouth and ripped my clothes in half. He whipped me with his belt five times because I wouldn’t let him rape me. I shouted, but my voice was lost in the dark because nobody could hear me. I cried, wanted to die, was depressed, and my bed was covered with blood because I was raped by my grandpa at the age of six. He told me not to say a word to anyone or he would kill me. I trembled and was frightened, so I couldn’t even say a word even to my mother. This situation affected my life, I couldn’t talk to anyone, I couldn’t play with my friends, and I nearly committed suicide. I have kept this secret for fifteen years. It is now time to SHOUT IT OUT, because I can’t keep it anymore. It is time to break the silence. CHILD ABUSE has to come to an end, because we the children hold the future!
St. Augustine, FL
There are many things I would like to the say the entire world, be kind, be open minded, etcetera. However, the one thing that I feel the world doesn’t hear enough of is a simple, “Thank You”. The basic two word courtesy has slowly slipped the minds of most teenagers and young adults today, but I feel that, although it’s not perfect, the world deserves a thank you. A thank you for demonstrating to me that challenging obstacles can be overcome, a thank you for teaching me that everyone is different but deserves respect, a thank you for showing me that sometimes life doesn’t go the way you planned but it’s ok to alter your route. I would also like shout a “Thank You” at the world to show that the small chivalrous act is not dead. As a teenager, I can recall over a thousand situations where a “Thank You” was in order and yet, I failed to comply. This does not mean that the world should cease with this tiny sign of kindness all together, but rather that we should overindulge in the use of these words. We should say it in the middle of conversations with our parents and teachers, we should stop our day just thank a friend or a neighbor. We should run and shout at the top of our lungs and give a “Thank You” to the world, in hopes, that one day, the world just may say “Thank You” back.
Be soda. If I could tell the entire world something, I would tell it to be soda. Be strong and sparkling but be fluid and yielding. Flow together with the other soda particles in your blue and green bottle of Earth. Taste delicious and fizzy but also know when to release your excess CO2 molecules into the air. After all, at our core, we’re all the same; we have the same wants, the same desires, the same needs. We’re all just tiny soda particles floating around in a bottle that’s much larger than we could ever imagine. Yet, together, with the billions of other soda particles, we make up the world. Without each other, we’re nothing: just insignificant, miniscule, crystalline, liquid drops. So climb together, struggle together, do whatever it takes to reach the zenith of human achievement together. Imagine that we’re all trapped in a glass bottle. Imagine that the only way to reach the top is to work together as a whole, not as separate groups. And, after that? Stop imagining. Just do it. Bring to an end ignorance, whether it be political or religious; bring to an end the constant fighting; bring to an end all of your conflicting differences. Just be soda.
“If you were given a 60-second appearance on a late night talk show, what would you shout out?”
San Diego, CA
“THANK YOU TO WHOMEVER INVENTED CUPCAKES!”
One cupcake and you will be overcome with nostalgia for your childhood days of, “Dad, can I have a dime please?” before gallivanting off to the nearby bakery.
Give your girlfriend a cupcake and watch as she goes on a Shakespearean soliloquy, “I loveth my boyfriend! ” While other women hysterically demand of their boyfriends, “Why don’t you ever do that for me! ” Cupcakes are a woman’s best friend during a break-up. Slouching on the couch in sweatpants, with a box of Kleenex, sobbing as you watch The Notebook – a scene we are all too familiar with. Oh, the jubilation of sinking your teeth into this sugary confection – there is no sweeter remedy (no pun intended). Want to see the divorce rate diminish? When your wife screams at you for, ‘Not taking out the trash! ’ Give her a cupcake. I promise that will put the biggest smile on her face. And hey, take out the trash.
Baking cupcakes with mom can earn you ‘brownie points, ’ so the next time she grumbles about how you do not spend enough time with her, exclaims that, “You are shocked, ” that she is so blatantly forgetful.
Still unconvinced? Just ask Archduke Franz Ferdinand of Austria who was short one last cupcake before his assassination. When the first grenade attempt failed, he shouted to local officials, “So you welcome your guests with bombs. ” Well, he was right; that wasn’t very hospitable. He must have been expecting cupcakes.
It was a muggy, summer night in the bustling city of New York. I was a country-bumpkin compared to the sleek natives, who closely resembled an army of ants, minus the stolen picnic goods. I awkwardly made my way through the sea of foreign faces when, against all laws of physics, more people mobbed together in an undistinguishable mass of bodies. The tourists shrieked, and some ambitious ones leaped after the cameras and their only chance of fame. The locals skimmed over the scene with a mild interest at most.
Before I could fully analyze the chaos in front of me, I found myself sucked into the vortex. The grip I had on my sister’s hand wasn’t strong enough and I found myself alone in the storm. Still disoriented, I was confronted by a young man. He was one of those flawless talk show hosts. He was so beautiful that alien technology must have been utilized to form him. He swiped a spotless smile and nudged a microphone in my face.
“What’s your name, little lady?” he purred.
The bright camera lights highlighted my every move as I irrationally felt pressed to defend my beliefs, even my very existence! My thoughts jumbled around in incomprehensible waves. “I’m eighteen years old, short and blonde, family oriented, a firm supporter of equal rights and freedom, a lover of animals and Italian food-”
The spokesperson raised his eyebrow in anticipation and I knew this was my moment.
“My favorite color is blue!”
As fatuous as it seems there are valuable lessons to be found, from a little yellow sponge under the sea. Of course, I am referring to a cartoon character–SpongeBob SquarePants. The character building skills presented by the cartoon should be utilized through adolescence and adulthood. Glimpsing ahead to my near future, achieving a college education, perseverance becomes a dominating attitude. I embrace my inner sponge as I face challenges ahead with determination to succeed. SpongeBob is a character full of persistence; he attends boating school every day with eagerness to learn. Regardless of the hundreds of times he has failed his test, he is unwilling to throw in the towel. Starting each day off with enthusiasm, I’m ready, I’m ready! as Mr. SquarePants exclaims, is the best way to face the commitments of the day. Fry cook, SpongeBob has high spirits and pride as he goes work at the Krusty Krab restaurant. SpongeBob strives for excellence in every patty he makes, though it seems mundane and unimportant to others, he takes satisfaction in what he has accomplished. As people Embrace their inner sponge, they should feel spirited and a sense of accomplishment in everything they achieve. For college students, like me, it sends a message to go after an education with passion and enthusiasm, and to strive for the highest brilliance. It may seem like a struggle as students’ labor their way through college but, embracing the sponge, & keeps them positive and successful.
Dr. Seuss once told us, “Be who you are, and say what you feel. Because, those who mind don’t matter, and those who matter don’t mind.” That quote would change my life forever. It was a quote I learned to live by. To be free, without restrictions. It taught me to not be afraid of who I was. To say and feel things without inhibitions. Too often the youth of our society are told they can’t do something. Inhibitors are forced into our brains that by the time we are young adults we no longer believe in ourselves enough to pursue our dreams. We are no longer free individuals full of creativity and expression.
So if I had a chance to tell the world one thing it would be to, “Ban Your Inhibitions.” Allow yourself to be free from everything that tells you not to. Leave the word can’t out of your vocabulary and see how far it can take you. For some it may be, to take that trip, they “can’t” afford. For others, it may be letting go of that diet that says, you “can’t” be beautiful the way you are. For me however, it would be getting my art out there, in my own store. Something I plan to pursue after college, and with this scholarship make my dream a reality. So you may not be the world, but I encourage you to say “I can”, and “Ban Your Inhibitions!”
Lee’s Summit, MO
Nowadays people say “Can I get your e-mail address?” Or “Can I fax it to you?” or maybe “Did you get my text?” and possibly “I posted it on Facebook.” Remember the days when people would get together on a porch to have a friendly conversation over a glass of lemonade? In the modern day, communication has been immersed in technology. The echoes of conversing voices have been replaced by the sounds of typing and ring tones announcing the arrival of a text message. Real communication is slipping from the grasp of humanity.Students now have the ability to take high school and college classes over the internet, which causes student and teacher verbal communication to become obsolete. Adults are now able to work from home by only communicating with customers via the phone and computer. Currently, the most common way of keeping in touch is through Facebook. Sure, Facebook is a great way to contact those who live too far away to visit, but people will spend hours on end chatting with their friends who live close to them.
As such, I would like to tell the world that a good conversation is eye to eye and that each form of modern day communication has a proper use, but should never take away from the human dimension.
I took a sip of my coffee, let out a yawn and wished sleepily under my breath that the morning session of the workshop would end soon. Suddenly, I heard someone say “Michelangelo once said, The greater danger for most of us lies not in setting our aim too high and falling short; but in setting our aim too low, and achieving our mark.” It was as if someone has just injected me with adrenaline, and I forgot about everything.
Have you ever wondered about the most used word by people around you? For me, that word is ’survive.’ I hear this word being repeated at least once in every conversation, everyday and it seems like nobody wants to live anymore, all they want is survival; it makes me realize that we are all aiming too low, and we are achieving it. We are surviving, but we are not living. I would tell the world:
We are not born to survive; we are designed to fight, we are born to live, to grow, to experience, to laugh, to make mistakes, to learn, to love, to do anything we can and anything we want. Be spontaneous, dream big but pragmatic dreams, be random, laugh at yourself, and aim higher! Aim to live, not to survive.
“Bald is Beautiful!” Last spring, I noticed my hair was thinning. I had thick long blonde hair, so it was hard not to notice the strands that began to litter my home, car, and office. It took three months and three doctors to get a diagnosis. It wasn’t my imagination as the first doctor insinuated. I was truly going bald. I have alopecia areata, an autoimmune condition that causes hair loss. By the time I was diagnosed I lost over 50 percent of my hair. I decided I was done letting my hair loss control me, and that I was going to take control of my hair loss. I walked into a nearby salon, whipped off my wig and asked them to shave my head. It was the most liberating experience of my life. I continued to wear my wig for a week after my new haircut, but I was really feeling uncomfortable, both physically and emotionally. I felt like the wig was a lie, like I was ashamed of myself and had to hide beneath it. I was done hiding. I started going everywhere bald. People didn’t hide their reaction to my baldness, and I can’t blame them. Children pointed, laughed, and stared because they couldn’t fathom the idea of a bald woman. Bald is not a socially acceptable condition for women like it is for men. That is what I want to change. It’s just hair. Think of it as an optional accessory. “Bald is Beautiful!”
I would say this not as a command, not as an order, but as a suggestion, a suggestion of limitless possibility.
We all know the Beatles once sang, “Love is all you need.”
We all know the Gandhi once stated, “Love never claims, it ever gives.”
And we all know that Martin Luther King, Jr. once said, “Love is the only force capable of transforming an enemy into friend.”
Yet, what I know is that love is the only thing in the world you can never have enough of. It is the one thing, that from the dawn of our very existence, that we have been searching for. It is that ultimate answer. Imagine, if the entire world decided one day to heed my suggestion…tell me, what would the world look like?
A world without hate, a world without war, a world without violence, racism, or evil. If everyone heeded the words of the giants’ quotes above, and heeded my simple suggestion, the world, in the words of John Lennon would “Live as one.”
When we realize that we are all the same, when we realize that we are vastly more powerful together than divided, then perhaps then people would listen. Until then however, I have but one suggestion.
“If you were given the opportunity to say anything to the admissions staff at your prospective college (or to the faculty of your current school), what one thing would you shout out to make them remember you?”
Not every day is a person’s name a fashion statement. Well, mine is EVERYDAY! “I’m Autumn Boots!” Can’t forget that! Just as space boots, cowboy boots, and even rain boots are common names given to boots specifically for their use, I was born in the autumn season and in that same season 11 years later, I met Mr. Boots. Funny how true a name can fit a person, well; I can fit into my name. I have a pair of yellow autumn boots. I wear them, obviously, in the season of autumn when the rain covers the ground beneath my feet. Just as my boots are faithful to me in the beautiful season of autumn, so am I, Autumn Boots, faithful to the name given to me by my family and husband. I am Autumn Boots. So try me! But don’t try me on because I might not fit you, but as a friend, I fit every quality.
They look but they don’t see. From the watchtowers they decide, gazing at the waiting crowd. What am I to them? Just one in a sea of faces. Like a fleck of pastel hidden in a Seurat painting, waiting to be noticed. Am I pink? Or white perhaps. Maybe Eggshell, Ivory, or another bland label for paint hues. “Do whatever you set your mind to,” say the individualistic onlookers. Such simple instructions, yet vague and incomplete. Can it all really be reduced to mind over matter? Is this nothing but a socially prescribed idiom, meant to inspire? What then, when the matter is beyond the capabilities of the mind? We are reduced through this process to rats scratching at the doors as the water rises, waiting for a select few to be generously spared. To set the mind on being one of those few is not enough. Even to set the mind, body, and soul on this task would not suffice. Those in power delegate the doors that may open or close before us. We do all we can. We make the grade, we clean beaches, and we write submission essays. “We,” “we,” “we.” All they see is the massive cloud that is “We.” They don’t see me! I refuse to be their overlooked speck in the pointillism! I am Eggshell no longer! I am the fuchsia blossom with leaves of teal that the flecks join to create! I am the vibrant colors that will make your gallery whole!
CODE BLUE! CODE BLUE! It’s flatlining! My career is flatlining! I have got to get a new degree and a new job. Is that CLEAR!? Entering the nursing field at almost forty-years-old is a challenge. I currently hold a biology degree and teach part-time at COTC, the college where I have chosen to pursue my nursing education. Several of my nursing classmates have dealt with me trying to cram anatomy and physiology down their throats. Some of them even survived my foray into being a chemistry instructor. And we really don’t want to talk about that impromptu singing session in biology 101 where I did my karaoke thing with “cranium-acromion-patella-phalanges,” do we? While I am already known to the administrative staff as “that weirdo-biology chic,” I think the “code blue” might just work at getting the underappreciated and sometimes almost code-worthy admissions staff to remember me in a slightly different light; especially if I yelled it while throwing those yummy blue-wrapped Dove chocolates in their direction…
Recent studies show that people tend to remember short, sort of rhythmic, catchy phrases that are repeated over and over. For example, the highly effective advertising campaign for a headache pain reliever went something like this: “HEAD-ON, APPLY DIRECTLY TO THE FOREHEAD!” “HEAD-ON, APPLY DIRECTLY TO THE FOREHEAD!” “HEAD-ON, APPLY DIRECTLY TO THE FOREHEAD!” “HEAD-ON, APPLY DIRECTLY TO THE FOREHEAD!” “HEAD-ON, APPLY DIRECTLY TO THE FOREHEAD!” This commercial provides a good example of how to get people to remember the product being advertised. If I wanted the admissions staff at my university to remember me, I would model my presentation after the Head-On commercials. So my shout out to the admissions staff at my university is: “PICK ME, AND GIVE ME LOTS OF MONEY!” “PICK ME, AND GIVE ME LOTS OF MONEY!” “PICK ME, AND GIVE ME LOTS OF MONEY!” “PICK ME, AND GIVE ME LOTS OF MONEY!” “PICK ME, AND GIVE ME LOTS OF MONEY!” “PICK ME, AND GIVE ME LOTS OF MONEY!” “PICK ME, AND GIVE ME LOTS OF MONEY!” I chose to repeat my shout out seven times because studies show that people tend to remember about a maximum of about seven things at a time. I hope that this form of self avocation brings me success with this scholarship. If not, I hope that it is at least memorable.
Ever wonder what Albert Einstein’s favorite flavor of cake was? Ever wonder who ultimately decided we would call the all too familiar “toilet,” toilet? Curiosity strikes often in a mind such as mine. Although there may be a time or two that my curiosity seems a bit foolish, “there is never a dumb question.” My thought provoking style and desire to learn has brought copious amounts of opportunities that had I not asked such a simple question as, “what was Albert Einstein’s favorite flavor of cake?” would not have brought me to the point where I am today. I am asking you to branch out and along with me, ask a silly question, or two, and allow your imagination to soar. My mind has led me to some interesting conclusions and has developed me into the flower I am about to blossom into. With the acceptance into your University, I will continue to allow my mind to soar and increase my desire to learn while soaking up all the information around me, just as a bud would soak up all the nutrients available, in return blossoming into a beautiful rose. Allow me to become part of your student body, and blossom into a beautiful flower, improving and developing your future, my future, our future.
“If you were given a 60-second commercial spot on television that would air repeatedly during the presidential debates, what message would you shout out to America?”
GO, although it is the shortest sentence in the English language it possesses a world of meaning. Go run, go plant, go learn, go vote! All you have to do is go. In this way people battle obesity, benefit the environment, gain awareness and institute change. Motivate yourself to simply, do something, because the results may surprise you. It is as if you are embarking on a new and exciting journey, a journey with endless possibilities. The steep mountains and unforeseen obstacles may test your patience and challenge your spirit but nevertheless, acknowledge your victory with priceless rewards. And if you need guidance, do not hesitate to gain support from your family and community. Who knows, they may be inspired by you! If a two letter sentence can illuminate a world of possibility so too can you encourage the power of action! The task may be big or small, complicated or simple but the cooperation of such activity will catalyze positive change. In doing so, you gain a wealth of knowledge and experience that is yours forever; no one can steal your impact. So, unless you prefer the gloom of idleness why not brighten the world with a positive deed? Create plans and go; do not let apathy manifest your life! GO!
Fort Worth, TX
EAT MORE CHEESE! Cheese is an excellent source of calcium, protein and phosphorus! It also is shown that eating either Swiss, Cheddar, American or Mozzarella cheese can help prevent tooth decay in the long run. Eating British cheese right before bedtime however, can help you have good dreams and a nice sleep. Lactose intolerant? Not to worry! There are many varieties of soy cheeses that you can consume. There are also many different ways that you can eat cheese. You can have it on a cracker. Also on a sandwich. Put it on your nachos and hot dogs at a baseball game. Have a cheese omelet in the morning before you go to work. Impress your friends with a fancy cheese platter at a formal dinner. And don’t forget that good ol’ Mac and Cheese! So remember, if you want good teeth, nice dreams and a happy tummy, then EAT MORE CHEESE! Eating too much cheese may cause different side effects such as constipation and projectile vomiting. Side effects may vary.
If I were given the chance to shout out to America, I would shout out, “Try BBQ sauce with pizza!”. No, I am not being random. I am being totally serious. It all happened on that fateful day when we cooked pepperoni pizza at my house. We were out of Valentina hot sauce, and it was about to turn ugly. But then I remembered that my dad had bought Sweet Baby Ray’s Hickory & Brown Sugar Barbecue Sauce and I wondered what it would taste like with pizza. So I ran to the refrigerator and opened the bottle. I poured it on my plate, and as I watched the brown sauce dripping down, I was skeptical because when I was little I had bad experiences with BBQ sauce. But as soon as I dipped my pepperoni pizza in that sweet sauce, and put it in my mouth, I was hooked. I am never going back to Valentina hot sauce. I don’t know if it was the brown sugar or what, but that was the best thing I had ever tasted. Since that day, I have been experimenting, and I must say, BBQ sauce tastes really good with ruffle chips and french fries. I want people in America to experience my fascination and love for BBQ sauce. Much to my dismay, my siblings think I’m a total freak and that BBQ is disgusting, but if I can turn someone into a pizza-BBQ lover, then I have fulfilled my mission.
To set the scene: The stage is black except for the yellow light flooding the middle. I am sitting there, perched up on a bar stool with a mug of coffee. I take a sip of my latte as the camera focuses on the hot steam rising tantalizingly from my beverage. I shout: “Starshucks for president! Starshucks for president!” They are who I am voting for. They have the right idea. Who can help but be relaxed when surrounded by mellow music and the smell of freshly ground espresso beans? The frozen drinks are not exposing the scandals of the hot drinks. Vanilla and caramel blend together perfectly to make a satisfying beverage. Soy and whole milk live harmoniously in the same refrigerator. The cups brag about being composed of recycled materials. Strangers stand together in line, united by a common cause: to enjoy a great cup of Joe. They sit side by side at cafe tables, sipping slowly and smiling to one another. There is no conflict here. Little did the public know that as I gave my speech the steam rising from the coffee was actually a hypnotizing technique. As the debate is broad casted worldwide, crime rates dwindle as coffee purchases at local cafes increase. Earth is a little bit happier now.
A new and improved reality show premiers TODAY! And guess what? Nope, no one is getting a wife. No, no one’s surviving being left on a desert island. Try again. No it’s not “Real World” season 100! Come on! You’re close! Yes… it’s YOUR LIFE! Today you live in a world where 400,000 people die of smoking each year…where 1/3 of the nation are students who have dropped out of school and never received a diploma…and where approx. 1 million teenage girls get pregnant a year! Sure today’s headlines may seem seductively interesting: “Britney Spears gives up custody!” or “Christie Brinkley settles for millions.” But while we as a people waste time being “entertained” by a predominantly promiscuous media, children go missing and the environment screams for attention! The most important factual evidence of our daily lives should not be the number of times Lindsey Lohan checks into rehab, but fighting for the percent of students who graduate college to rise, or the number of Americans who actually vote to greatly increase… Live in Reality, Face the “Facts” Make a Change.
“If you could say one thing to the entire world at once, what would it be and why?”
I stand looking down at seven billion pairs of eyes drilling a hole through me as they wait for me to make my voice heard. I have one shot to inspire, to move each one of those seven billion hearts, but I know exactly what to say. Just as his words once reached my heart, I anticipate those words will again penetrate through the rough human exterior to the very core. I open my mouth to speak the words of the legendary Mahatma Gandhi, “Be the change you want to see in the world.” This quote packs a punch full of meaning and depth and leaves a mark that could last a lifetime; it emphasizes the power of the concept of leading by example. The way to make the difference you want to see is not by putting endless efforts towards arguing your views or trying to change others because these labors will be futile. The best way to see your idea flourish is to put it into action; be a leader and see if anyone will take your lead. For instance, take a look at the mustard seed. Once someone plants this tiny seed, it can blossom into a very large and thriving tree which will lend more seeds to the barren earth. Leading by example is much like the ripples in a pond. It starts out very small but grows larger and larger until it has covered the entire pond; all you need is someone to start it.
Saint James, MO
As I climb onto my slightly worn soapbox, I smooth the wrinkles in my black skirt. I lift my head up high, and shout, “World, LISTEN UP! Life does NOT stand for Liposuction, Injections, Facials, and Eating Disorders. Why have so many of us thrown away our personalities and independence for a pair of Jimmy Choo shoes? Why have we sold our souls for a skinnier waistline? WHY CAN I NOT EAT CARBS AND STILL BE ACCEPTED IN HEAVEN??! Life is about LIVING! We should focus on what’s important! Love, friendship, conversation, higher learning, and congeniality should fill our hearts and minds while doughnuts fill up our stomachs! We only have a few years to live, so why cheat yourself by giving up happiness so others will look at you and think, ‘Dear God, I wonder how many hours she spends in a gym every day?’ Should someone ever tell you that love and happiness are based on how bleached one’s teeth are, that person should be drug out and shot, while the unhappy recipient of that comment shouts, ‘Friendship is loving someone for who they are and not their number of Botox injections!’ Come on World, look at yourselves! Feel slightly guilty? Well, you should. Live life fully so at some point you can look at your sad, roadmap of a face, touch your skin, and think, ‘I’ve done it all… and boy can you tell from all the wrinkles.’“
The truly unprecedented opportunity of speaking to the entire world–to share with it a thought that defines who one is–is incomprehensible to the finite human mind. One would most undoubtedly speak of the object, or idea, closest to himself.
My personal statement to the world would reflect my allegiance to my Savior, Jesus Christ. Perhaps this seems cliché, or divisive, but it truly is where my heart is. Specifically, I would quote John 14:6 from the Bible. As the verse reads, “Jesus answered, ‘I am the way and the truth and the life. No one comes to the Father except through me.’” Using a verse that defines Christ as the sole route to heaven might appear to both religious skeptics and pluralists to fan the flame of intolerance, but to me the verse presents the truth.
Some might argue that a statement of self-empowerment or peace might be more helpful to today’s world, but I beg to differ. While the phrase “believe in yourself” wins all the accolades of the twenty-first century, it does nothing for eternity. Today is too short – and eternity all too long – to settle for a comfortable, safe, and acceptable statement.
Perhaps quoting Scripture rocks the global boat. Perhaps it steps on the proverbial toes. But the opportunity to share Christ to the rest of the world is too great to ignore. Who I am is defined by Him; and that is something I want to the entire world to know.
One thing. The whole world. Six billion six hundred two million two hundred twenty-four thousand one hundred seventy-five people. A daunting task that would require one heck of a PA system. And I’m the one who gets the microphone? It’d have to be something meaningful, something that would touch lives, every life. “Higgibity ridicuubo blisatz plumbforad yibtunkel jequivox,” followed by a most ridiculous face to be seen by those lucky enough to catch it on television. No language barriers to overcome. No chance of offending anyone. The only consequence would be laughter. Pure, contagious, and inexplicable laughter. Have you ever been in a room and someone started giggling, and before you know it, the entire room is rolling on the floor hysterical for absolutely no reason? Imagine that times a million. Everyone could use a good laugh and nothing is better than shared laughter. The whole world united in one minute of absolute joy. What could possibly be better?
Sierra Vista, AZ
“Friends, family, women, and girls everywhere (and even some men): I call a strike against flip-flops! The age of naked feet is no more. I plead with you to stop the unholiness of your treacherous crimes of wearing thong sandals with not-so-beautiful feet. If you decide you would still like to continue wearing these wretched shoes, there are a few rules I at least ask of you to follow.*Rule number one: make sure it is the right season for flip-flops. When it’s 35 degrees outside and your feet are purple from the cold, you only appear to be lazy and ignorant of the weather.*Rule number two: do not get dressed in the dark; at least, that is what it looks like when your flip-flops do not match your outfit.*And lastly, rule number three: do not walk out in sandals UNLESS your feet are clean and fixed up. No one wants to look upon feet that are crusted over, caked in dirt, and have chipped, unpainted toenails.So I call all of you to take action, take a stand for all that is good in this world–end the flip-flop craze and cover those monsters up.”
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