Character Choices 2015: Shane Philbin’s Entry

shaneShane Philbin
Grade: 11
Trait: Integrity
Teacher: Ross
Bradford Academy

Statistics; Detroit contains a lot of them. Gang statistics, violence statistics and murder statistics to name a few. These numbers can have a detrimental impact on the youth, but for the ones who don’t succumb to all the negative influences and maintain a strong moral code, they tend to rise above the rest.

I’ve attended Bradford Academy since first grade and through these 11 years, I have encountered many choices that have tested my integrity. Children typically are more prone to being influenced by outside sources, and slowly start to develop their own thoughts and opinions pertaining to certain subjects, as they grow older. I was no different growing up, being exposed to this harsh city and all it’s negative influence it had to offer. On top of this, I faced racism and prejudice, leading me to be ostracized, desperately trying to find a way to fit in. This being said, negativity lurked behind me, offering me a way to be a part of the crowd.

Most of the “cool kids: were idolized including the class clowns, slackers, fighters and trouble makers. I always grew up knowing that those kinds of people were not beneficial to be associated with, but the longing to fit in was always present in the back of my mind, tempting me at every moment. This temptation, however, was always subsided by my integrity, which I take pride in to this day. I knew better, I had been taught that being noticed by your peers for the wrong reasons was no solution for my desire to fit in, but instead being noticed by my teachers and the positive influences in my life had more to provide me than any attention from my peers could give me. These people were not who I aspired to be, and not what I wanted to make of myself. I wasn’t going to change for them. Through those years, I became an increasingly outstanding student while watching those who had previously belittled me sink lower and lower. Seeing this, I realized I had fit in all along, just not with the people who adopted negative lifestyles, but with the future leaders and positive role models. Emerging from this period of isolation and self-discovery, I analyzed the people who I chose to call my friends, and decided that I’d made the right decision. All of my success and over-achievement can be attributed to those who never let me take my eyes off the prize, and to my incredible integrity. Never having the will to never change who I was and who I wanted to be, I surpassed all expectations set forth for me.

Integrity is an essential part of becoming someone to be proud of. This means blinding yourself from all negative influences, and keeping a straight path with a solid moral code. Integrity also means to not let where you come from or what surrounds you define who you are, but to lead by example by staying absolutely true to yourself and what you know is right. Integrity ultimately made me the outstanding and aspiring student I am today, hoping to graduate next year from Bradford Academy High School, and enter college, where I will begin my next chapter of life.

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