Earlier this semester, our Pilot Writing & Grammar class was assigned an essay that required each student to think deeply about a life event and probe its significance. This assignment goes beyond simple narration, asking for an examination of the deeper meaning of an event.
|Miguel Angel Flores|
of the Dominican Republic
Miguel has written about his experience of being chosen to receive the Ambassador Award at his high school graduation. This is the second highest award given by his school, a very special honor. Miguel has chosen an interesting perspective for his essay. He not only describes his own response to receiving the Ambassador Award, but he also takes us into the minds of his seven-year-old brother, his father, and his mother, showing the unique response of each family member who shared the joyful experience with him.
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The Ambassador Award
By Miguel Angel Flores
The last day of the most important stage of my life, so far, arrived. It was 6:00 pm of June 22, 2012. As in any other high school, the Pomp and Circumstance song was played. As all my classmates started walking down the aisle, and as my turn got closer, my nerves invaded my body, all the way through my feet. I was next, in a crowd of my classmates. As I walked down that aisle, I tried to encounter all the memories and moments that I had experienced since I first started this journey, that without even noticing it, had put me into today’s world. As I thought, I realized that all the effort that I had put into making a better version of myself, through the opportunity that my parents had given me, was worth it.
After all my classmates and I were standing in front of our assigned seats, we were asked to sit. The ceremony went on with many guest speakers and faculty speeches. After the graduation certificates were given out, the special award ceremony started.
The faculty called some of my classmates to recognize their effort or their outstanding achievements in each particular class. Toward the end of the special award ceremony, the two most important awards of the whole school were given out: awards that are only given to one student per category, per promotion. These awards are El Cristobal Tejeda and the Ambassador Award, in order of importance. The first one to be announced was the Ambassador Award: the award given to a particular student who during his or her path has showed the strongest school spirit, the strongest community involvement, good academic performance, but not necessarily the most outstanding. The faculty called the Flores Dorrejo family, my family, up to the stage. For a second I thought that they were calling my family up to the stage to be the honorary family to present the award. But, after my family was already up on the stage, I heard “and the Ambassador Award 2012 goes to Miguel Angel Flores Dorrejo.” I couldn’t believe it. My classmates cheered the moment. My mom, my dad, my little brother and I all had different reactions; it was a moment full of emotions.
My little brother, Sixto Carlo, didn’t understand whatever was happening. When I saw his face, I could tell he was lost but that he was at the same time happy and full of pride. When he first heard my name he was kind of confused and did not know how to react, but after he saw my mom and dad, he imitated their feelings, or my parents just transmitted their feelings to him: since he is younger he is probably more attached. He was the first to jump at me and congratulate me. I whispered in his ear that he should fight in life to be three times better than me, and he said he would. He hugged me really hard; in that moment I thought that I had done something that he would be able to appreciate and remember whenever he failed in life, so that he could stand up and continue. After what he told me, I realized that he understood the importance of the moment that was going on, and he was proud.
My dad, Miguel Angel Flores, reacted at the immediate second. His reaction was totally different from everyone else’s. He closed his hands and with both of his arms he did the typical “YEAH” man expression. He was very proud. During that moment he was totally feeling and realizing how hard I had worked to keep getting better in a daily basis. He definitely convinced himself that what he had repeated to me over and over again during my youth (“I put my effort on educating you, so that one day you can be better than me”), had become true, up to this point of my life. As I walked to the center of the stage he looked at me, his eyes were shiny, he had this light but really expressive laugh in his mouth: denoting his pride. I’m pretty sure that he felt the most fortunate dad in the world.
My mom, Judy Dorrejo, couldn’t believe it. Her eyes went watery the very first second the faculty announced my name; I think she was confused. She was expressionless. She was probably not expecting anything that big from me. When my name was called I think she didn’t even understand what was happening; she was really nervous. I guess that when she heard everyone clapping and the school founder tap her shoulder to congratulate her, she realized her son was officially ranked second in his school career, not academically but as a whole person. She felt really proud of her job as a mother. She grabbed me and hugged me, and expressed in my ear how proud she was of my achievement, hard work, focus and dedication during my years. She said that she had never doubted my abilities, but that this event confirmed to her that I would be a great success in both business and in my social development in life. She also said that this award gave her the security that whatever life holds for me, and wherever I stand in life, I will be outstanding and that I will represent the family’s name with honor.
I didn’t stand up until 15 seconds after they called my name. Cristian Español, a classmate that was sitting besides me, told me, “Man, stand up.” I looked at him and I realized it. My mom, dad and my little brother looked at me all at once. I stood up, walked out of the aisle and went to the center of the stage where my family was standing. So many different feelings toward myself converged at that very moment; my knees started shaking. I didn’t know what to think, my mind went blank for a moment, and I guess I didn’t even hear anything they said through the microphone when they called me. My parents were excited and Mrs. Valinda Valdez, the head of the school and the international development program, gave me the award and took a picture with me. After my parents showed me how proud they were of my achievement, I was really proud, because I had once more fulfilled their expectations. I also felt as if I left my little brother a message and made sure that he understood it; I told him in that very moment that if he had to do something in life, he was to be better than me, and he promised; he made me even prouder.
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We congratulate Miguel Angel Flores on his Ambassador Award and thank him for sharing this special experience with us, making it even more special by giving us insight into the minds of his family members.
Our next post will present an essay about the discipline of early military training in a Chinese middle school, a discipline enforced by effective punishment.