The Morenci High School class of 2013 were assigned by English teacher Heather Walker to write their own “This I Believe” statement.
The assignment was based on a former NPR radio program that is now a project which collects essays of individuals from all walks of life. The idea behind “This I Believe” is not to create or find a common set of beliefs all would adhere to, but to recognize and respect each other’s differences.
Ms. Walker had the seniors create their own individual statement of belief as a final project before graduation. The students wrote a short essay illustrating their thoughts. They also had the opportunity to combine their essay with pictures and music to create a video.
In addition to the following essays from a few students, some of the videos that were made for the project are available to watch at the Stair Public Library.
By Hannah Jeffers
In the words of Ralph Waldo Emerson “All I have seen teaches me to trust the Creator for all I have not seen.” I’m reminded of this whenever I take the time to see the beauty around me. From the billowy clouds to the single blade of grass to the buzzing of a honeybee, I am constantly in awe of God’s creation.
I bask in the sun that warms my bones. The graceful willow has established itself deep in the roots of the riverbank, its branches swaying in the chinook and all my worries are pacified. The soft petals of the periwinkle iris flap in the breeze. The smells of the blooming magnolias and crabapples fill my nose with their sweet aroma. The woods are full and green with the promise of summer just around the corner. The subtle redbuds are distinct in the seas of lush forests. Such an overwhelming sight brings a feeling of utter joy. I believe in God’s awesome creation of nature and the happiness it can bring to one’s life.
Nature makes us play. It evokes the free and blissful spirits of every soul. Without warm sunshine we wouldn’t be able to enjoy a refreshing dip in the lake or catch that prize-winning fish. Autumn brings the competitiveness of football, harvest time and hunting season. With winter comes the fluffy white flakes that you try to catch on your tongue. It also brings the exhilaration of skiing down that big slope. Spring brings the refreshing change many anticipate. The spring rain brings the earth to life as we plant our gardens and start our golf leagues. These playful moments allow us to have fun and be happy in nature. This gift is given to us only by a higher command.
God is real. This becomes evident as you notice the complexity of nature. With each passing glance we are perplexed by the elegance of His design. You realize that nature couldn’t happen by chance. It was created, created by an all-powerful God. The smallest detail, from the strength of an ant to human DNA, demonstrates his magnificence and glory. By noticing all of these details, you begin to realize how truly awesome God is. You learn that He truly does have to be amazing to create such a beautiful, complicated world.
Don’t take nature for granted. Don’t overlook the loveliness of our world. “Never lose an opportunity of seeing anything beautiful, for beauty is God’s handwriting.” –Ralph Waldo Emerson
By Mary Margaret Hollstein
The way the media portrays people is disgusting. People are made to look beautiful, perfect, and almost inhuman. When you start to think about what beauty is you start to think of the perfection of an airbrushed photograph of a person whose body has been so photo shopped they don’t even look like themselves. This isn’t beauty. This is a lie.
When I used to look in the mirror I would see imperfections and flaws. I wasn’t perfect, I wasn’t beautiful, and I wasn’t worth it. I never even wondered why I didn’t think I was worth anything. I would even look at other people and I wouldn’t see beauty, I would see their flaws and how imperfect they were. Then one day I realized that the beauty I was comparing myself to wasn’t real.
Jennifer Lawrence was recently on the cover of the magazine FLARE. Her cheekbones were moved, her collarbones were lowered, and they made her look thinner. Her body is already healthy and beautiful and yet they change the way she looks to their standard of impossible beauty. Our concept of beauty is being changed by bodies and faces that don’t even exist in the real world.
In the real world airbrushed, photo shopped people don’t walk down the street, they aren’t real. I used to look at myself and other people, compared to the impossible perfection of something they will never look like. Now I know that perfection is a lie told on the cover of a magazine. I know that everyone is beautiful; I know that I am beautiful, and this I believe.
The power of words
By Katie Cox
As a whole, we do not fully understand the impact that our words have on those who hear them. I am constantly looking for the right thing to say, for the words that are most tactful, and the best way to effectively voice my thoughts and opinions. I learned to weigh my words carefully at a young age, when I made a painful mistake.
It is easy to be persuaded to use simple-minded language. I’m sure I’m not the only one who is guilty of this. A lapse in judgment when I was seven, taught me that pain can be delivered with a single utterance of the mouth. I was impressionable, naïve, and obviously ill-informed about a word that could have potentially become part of my vocabulary. I was taking a walk with my uncle Danny, when I blurted out the word “fag” as though it wasn’t a big deal. As soon as it came out, he said “Don’t you ever say that word again! Do you even KNOW what that means!? It’s just like calling a black person the ‘n-word’!” At that point in my youth, I realized two very important things. First, words can hurt. A lot. Second, just because we have the right to use a certain word, doesn’t mean we should.
An essential part of growing up is learning to use the gift that we as Americans are given as a right of passage, that gift is the freedom of speech. I believe that in order to use this freedom in the way that it was intended, we must take responsibility for learning the meaning and connotation of our words. We take for granted the right to share our thoughts, feelings and opinions, when what we should be doing is cherishing the fact that we have the power to do so.
My experiences have taught me the importance of effective communication. Whether I am meeting someone for the first time, interviewing for a hopeful internship, or simply asking my parents to borrow the car, I’ve learned that the words we say can make us or break us. Words are all we have. This, I believe.
I am beautiful
By Michaela Merillat
An ugly girl stared back at me in the mirror. Her clothes didn’t fit and her face was red with acne. Tears created stains on her face from the smeared make-up. That was me. No matter what I did it seemed like I would never be good enough. Nothing could hide my flaws. I was sick of not being “beautiful enough”. I was sick of going home every day wishing that I was someone else. Just once I wanted to look in the mirror and feel good about what I saw. I was tired of constantly hearing those piercing words behind my back followed by the heart breaking laughter. Their words began to define me. “You’re so small.” I am ugly. “Your eyes are big.” I am ugly. “Your teeth have gaps.” I am ugly. “You have acne.” I am ugly. How could I be the girl that everyone longed to be with all of these problems? I didn’t want to be second best, I wanted to be the best. Make-up covered the blemishes and starvation took care of everything else.
But what is “beautiful”? Is there a certain look that defines it? Is there a certain weight that you have to be? I don’t think so. I don’t need to conform to society and its ridiculous standards because they are way lower than mine. I have finally realized that it doesn’t matter how much make-up I wear or what clothes I wear because no matter what I will never be good enough to measure up.
Just because I will never meet society’s standards doesn’t mean I’m not good enough for myself or even the most important people in my life. I am a confident young woman and will not settle for anyone else’s judgments. I am happy and carry myself with dignity. I will not be knocked down by anyone’s abuse. I walk with a smile on my face, and because of this, I believe I am beautiful.
Laughing is a Serious Matter
By Ashley VanBrandt
I believe in the power of laughter. Laughter has the capability to alter our bad moods and amplify our good ones. One simple laugh can brighten a person’s entire day and even the day of the ones around you. It can cure ailments, wipe out worry, adjust attitudes, and relieve overwhelming stress.
I believe laughs come in all shapes and sizes. Some laughs resemble a honking goose while others make you think that Santa has come early this year. No matter what your laugh sounds like, no matter how loud it is, and no matter whom you are around, let it be heard.
Every day at some point I experience laughter. I laugh at anything and everything, my friends, my teachers, but most of the time myself. I am not afraid to look like a goof ball, especially when I am around my friends. My friends and I spend almost the entire day in a chorus of laughter. We laugh at the pictures of our funny faces we leave on each other’s phones when they are left lying around. And we have so many inside jokes that comprise the majority of all our conversations that a stranger would think we are speaking in tongues. There is no such thing as a dull moment with us around because we make even the most boring moments interesting.
Laughter also has another well-known feature; it is contagious. There are often times I will laugh at a friend and she will laugh at me laughing at her. This just continues until we forget what we were laughing about in the first place, and upon realizing that we forgot the reason, we laugh even more. A moment like that is even better in a large group of friends because it results in us laughing until it hurts.
Laughter can draw us out of a pit of despair and send us off with an ear-to-ear grin. It can make any dull moment interesting. I believe in the power it holds. And I believe that life is worth living when we fill each day with laughter.