Monday, June 24, 2013

Teen Essay Contest 2013: English Essay

The 1st Place Winner of Middle School Group
Erica Kong
8th Grade - Roosevelt Middle School
Topic: "Building Leadership: Embracing Cultural Values and Inclusion"

It was 6:00 P.M., the golden time for transportation. Adults were enjoying music at the end of their work, and children were eating their snacks and walking behind their parents from their schools. All the people had one thing in common: going to their happy hours, whether if he or she was going home or going to the bar. The roads were filled with cars and buses. People were squishing into public transportation. And, my sister and I were trying to ride the BART to get home. The train was running late and everyone’s desire of going to his or her happy hours encouraged them to get into the train no matter how hard it was. Everyone was frustrated for being tight in the train and longing to get off at their stops. Then suddenly, the train operator spoke up,

“Everybody…this train is running late and I want you guys to help me. So, I will take a little leadership role here,” then the train operator continued formally through the speaker, “Now, the people who are blocking the doorway please move out so that the people who need to exit the train will get to exit and you guys can go back in afterwards. And, I will appreciate you guys! It’s a simple task, and let’s work together and make it happen!”

I’m inspired by this train operator’s words. I believe that there are two types of leadership. The first type is “common” leadership. This type of leadership is describing people like Ed Lee and Obama, who are the leaders of our country and our city. This kind of leadership is limited to a few people. But, another type of leadership can be established by every individual, even cats and dogs. An example is the train operator above. He is not a leader like Obama, but he solved problems like leaders do. A guiding dog directing a way to his owner is another example of “individual leadership.” Having leadership means that you have good character traits. Good character means that you are respectful, responsible, fair, trustworthy, and a good role model to everyone. Leadership is also very important in a variety of jobs and future successes. Building leadership is easy, if you have the will to, and here are the two starting points that you can refer to: embracing cultural values and inclusion.
Embracing cultural values is being respectful to the natives of that culture. I came to the United States when I was 7 years old. Everything in here was so different to me. The most “memorable” part of the first week in the United States was the fire truck sound. It sounded like a person screaming when he or she is jumping off a building. And, I was shocked that it was actually the fire truck. In Hong Kong, the fire trucks go like woo wee woo wee, but in the United States, the fire trucks go like ah ah ah ah ah. Besides of adapting the environment, I also had to embrace the table manner. Americans like to use the plate to eat. In contrast, when I was in China, people treated the plate as a waste dumper; they would throw bones and fats in the plate. Now, I have been in the United States for six years, and have been Americanized. I learned how to speak and write in English, eat pizzas, and play a western instrument. In the United States, our family still keeps the culture of celebrating the Lunar New Year and the Moon Festival. We will eat moon cakes and dishes that symbolize wealth, health, and luck, and also we are embracing the language and the culture of America too.

People always say “when you are traveling or going to another country, you have to embrace or adapt its culture.” But, sometimes it can also be the natives who adapt your culture. Imagine that you are in a car in Paris and you want to go to the Eiffel Tower, but you don’t know French so you can’t understand the street signs. Luckily, there is English translation next to the street signs. The French have adapted English to make the travelers navigate easier. And, this is one form of leadership. This type of leadership blossoms every edge of our world. Yes, I’ve seen this type of leadership in our country too. There was one time when I was traveling to the East Bay by BART, the train operator yelled out the station in both Cantonese and English since that station is Chinatown. From his accent, I believe he’s not Chinese. The natives adapt your cultural language to make you feel that their home is your home. They also want you to feel that you are welcomed and included in their culture.

Including other people in your community shows that you have leadership and that you respect them. How will you feel if you are excluded from your favorite game? Back in the 1900’s, the colored people were separated and mistreated from the white people. And, my fourth grade teacher wanted my class to experience the colored people’s feelings. The teacher separated my class into two groups, and I was in the colored people group. During lunch time, I had to let the “Caucasian group” go first then I could get my lunch. When it came to form a line, the colored people had to go to the back of the line. The feeling was not nice and no one deserves that feeling.

As I mentioned in the beginning, leadership is handy when it comes to getting an occupation. My dream job is to become a doctor. And, a doctor needs a lot of leadership skills. Being a doctor needs to make sure that everyone will be cure. If I am a doctor, I cannot skip the patient in my waiting list if he or she has lots of diseases or has a different race than me. I adore the doctors have worked in Africa to help the needed people. They don’t care who his or her patients are or what background they are from, as long as they can help them to stay healthy and provide them warmth. 

In conclusion, building leadership is the thick chain that links different cultures and people together. No matter which type of leadership you belongs to, you are helping our world to become a more respectful and beautiful place. In the future, I believe that there will be more people like the train operators who performed leadership. At least, I might be one. Leadership takes a large part of our community, and let us “hold hands” and make leadership take part even larger in our community.

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