Below are some thoughts from MASC/MAHS Board of Delegates member Rachel Roe, a senior at Livonia Churchill High School.
As a senior in high school, I have done a lot of growing up over the past four years. I’ve had many new experiences, I’ve made long-lasting friendships, and I’ve had opportunities that I would have never expected in a million years. I’ve made wonderful memories, but there are also things that I wish never happened. But the most important realization that I have made is that character is more than just a nine letter word. Character is what has defined me, and separated me from a lot of my peers. Character is the one thing that I will always stand true.
What is character you may ask? Character is open for interpretation. Character is a feature or a trait. Character is a moral or value. Character is you. Abraham Lincoln once said, “Character is like a tree and reputation like a shadow. The shadow is what we think of it; the tree is the real thing.” In this case, you are the tree. You are held down by roots; your family, friends, morals. You have branches; different involvements, goals, hobbies that you extend yourself to. You have leaves; beauty. And yes, you do cast a shadow that is your reputation, what others perceive about you. We see these shadows and make assumptions without thinking about the source. While shadows are what we make them to be, the object (tree in this case) is the real deal. Character is the real deal. While a reputation is a pretty close indicator of what type of person you may be, your character is your definition.
As student leaders across the state of Michigan, our character is what makes MASC/MAHS ten times cooler. We are those kids who find passion in helping others. We know that without leadership, structure would not exist. We see opportunity where others see nothing. We choose to put others happiness before our own. We believe in miracles. We strive to BE better every day. We are the lucky ones.
Now, think about your own character. Would you rather cheat on a test because you forgot to study or take a failing grade and do the right thing? Would you rather stay above the influence even if your friends aren’t? Would you choose peer pressure over positive peer pressure? Would you rather give in to others or stand up for your beliefs, even if you’re standing alone? Character is a choice. Although others may see it different, just like the shadow and tree, your character is what you make it to be.