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Common App: Topic of Choice (leadership) ---

sara_h20 1 / 1  
Dec 23, 2009   #1
I chose to write a topic of choice for common app -- I need advice! Should I make it personal or keep in 3rd person ? Going out to occidental, cornell, loyola marymount. Thanks!

A waterfall starts with one drop. Leadership takes on the same concept as it requires the courage of one individual to initiate the gradual downpour of a "waterfall." Leadership takes patience to acquire, it is rarely immediate and the effect and influence are impossible to trace.

There are people everyday who are brave enough to take the first step, by doing so they make changes, differences that can live on for eternity. At Sumner High School in Washington, there was a note left on the leadership teacher's whiteboard stating, "Stadium pick up, meet on the field after the game. Gloves will be provided." The teacher had left the note there, yet doubted a turnout for the event. As the game finished, there were more than 20 students eager to begin their mission. It only took a few minutes for them to clean the entire area. Eric, who was the student who had originally left the note, then charged across the field to the visiting section to clean their region as well and the students followed. They left before they could see the night janitorial staff heading towards the field. The staff members had been dreading the night that lay ahead of them because they were missing 2 custodians due to sickness, and had received no backup. As they arrived they were stunned by the view of a clean stadium. The head custodian even dropped a few tears of happiness. The next day, the custodial staff sent an e-mail to all of the district saying what had happened, and that they were more than grateful to those who had helped them out. This became a tradition at Sumner High School and had even expanded to events that were held at other schools as well. Years later, the leadership teacher went up to a freshman who was cleaning, and asked what she was doing, she replied by saying, "it's a tradition." Nobody could have predicted that a ritual would form from a random act of kindness.

There are many instances of leaders being the change. Another leader lies in the midst of Wenatchee, Washington. In 1997, Janice Franz, a teacher at Wenatchee High School was diagnosed with cancer. The staff and students all knew that the family was suffering and struggled with having to pay medical bills. One day, a student raised his hand and asked if it was possible to do a fundraiser for this family to relieve them of their burdens. The idea to hold a talent show was very fitting for their school and they soon planned to hold a Janice Franz Talent Show. The auditorium became filled and held close to one thousand people. There were people in their hospital beds laid out in the aisles and many had been turned away due to maximum capacity. As the end of the show approached, a man had dropped off an envelope, and not knowing who he was left as quickly as he came. The envelope contained seven one hundred dollar bills which helped the school fund close to $16,000, all to profit the Franz family. From that year on, Wenatchee High School held the show and donated the money to a community member that was in need. In 2008 the student body president presented a goal to the ASB. He wanted to set a record in the amount of money raised for the talent show. He wrote over 200 hand written letters to businesses around the area and raised over $4,000 single handedly. Despite the current recession, they were able to raise close to $24,000 in one night. It started with one hand, one question. Although it began with one individual, it became successful because of others deciding to become a part of the waterfall.

Sumner High School in Washington got the chance to encounter the change that John Norlin had made during his high school career. Being elected as class president as a senior, his only goal for the year was to make sure that the students of his school knew he cared. As the new school year began, he came to school an hour early everyday and propped open one of the seven double doors. As the students entered, he shook their hands and said, "good morning," and, "have a great day." Some students were welcoming to him, while some were not. Everyday there was a specific girl who gave him a hard time while he stood at the door, but John still stood there and greeted her as he would any other student. As John got older and moved out of Wenatchee, he decided to visit his ASB advisor and met at a Sheri's Restaurant. The waitress happened to be the same woman who had ridiculed John. She told him that the only reason why she came to school was to give him a hard time. By coincidence, he found out that he was the reason for her attendance at school just by being genuinely nice. She may not have finished high school if it wasn't because of John's intent to care for the student body. There is no such thing as a small act of kindness. The notion may be small, but the outcome is infinitely big.

Each of the students mentioned will never know how many people they have inspired. No one will. Every act of kindness has no limit to the good it can do. They're all stepping stones creating a better world to live in. Drugs, alcohol, and violence are huge impacting factors of a futile society, but so are the little things such as disrespect, conditional love, selfishness, and many more. As corruption approaches us on a daily basis, it is important to be the "drop" to start it all. This is the power of influence. More famously known as the butterfly effect, these students acted on a small notion, thus creating a significant change in outcome. It may seem senseless to assume that these "small notions" has impacted people without ever having solid proof. However, there are instances where some are reassured in their actions as well, therefore, it is essential to be the one to bring change.
Psyched 2 / 3  
Dec 23, 2009   #2
I thought the essay was very good, lots of intricate thought processes and it really showed me what you value.

But I feel as if it wasn't personal enough. Its like you are talking about everyone else's accomplishments but not your own.
OP sara_h20 1 / 1  
Dec 23, 2009   #3
Thanks--- That's exactly how I felt too. I am able to convert it so that it is personal because I have had instances similar to the one's told, but I had used this essay for the Sullivan essay which required no refrences to myself.

Thanks again for your input, it's greatly appreciated.
EF_Kevin 8 / 13,321 129  
Dec 26, 2009   #4
Leadership takes patience to acquire, it is rarely immediate and the effect and influence are impossible to trace. --- this sentence is grammatically incorrect and quite confusing. I think it should be scratched out and that the short first para should be merged with para #2. Your theme is sufficiently complex if you stick with the concept of good things starting with one "drop" like a waterfall.

This sentence should be part of the first paragraph: There are people everyday who are brave enough to take the first step, by doing so they make changes, differences that can live on for eternity. ---> and right after this sentence it will be good to give a thesis statement. I think that sentence above that I recommend crossing out is intended to be a thesis statement, but I suggst coming up with a new one based on the paragraphs of this essay. What is the main theme, now that you began with the idea of leadership/followership starting with one proactive person? Can you express that in a way that captures the main idea of the essay? Then end the first para and start para #2 like this:

At Sumner High School in Washington, a note was left.. .

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