Deena Green - Grade 8, Miami Valley School
My Foundation for Success
“You have to be willing to fail to succeed,” is a quote that my father has reiterated to me often as I have been growing up. In my mind, this quote encompasses the value of hard work to achieve life goals. Success is what we all are after, but success is a funny word depending on your definition. When I am older I am going to be president of the United States of America. That will be the moment when I feel like I have been successful.
My grandmother and grandfather on my mother's side are Holocaust survivors. My grandmother survived in the forest of Poland. When she got to the new country, she worked in a factory sewing. My grandfather escaped the war as an orphan and came to America with his many siblings. He then had to enlist in the U.S. Army and go back to Europe as a translator of Russian. Then, after marrying my grandmother, he opened a headboard factory. My grandparents taught their children Jewish values of justice, charity and community, which I find very important. When I visit my grandmother, she tells me stories of her experiences in the forest in her thick Eastern European accent. It amazes me the amount of grit and determination it must have taken not only to survive in the forest but also in a new country.
I have never had to survive in the forest, or go to a new place and make a new life from nothing, but the drive and determination my family has taught me has helped me throughout all my endeavors, especially on the sports field. In soccer I am a goalie, and in our first tournament game of this season, it had been raining previously. The ball was slippery and my gloves were slippery. Mid way through the first half after, when we had already scored once, a player from the other team came up at an angle towards the goal. She shot the ball, and it slid through my gloves and bounced off my face. The player then followed through with the shot and scored. I was devastated because the score was now one to one, and I knew that if we ended up losing and not getting any further in the tournament it would be my fault. My sweeper saw how upset I was and as we were walking off the field at the end of the half she told me how everybody messes up, and that I just had to shake it off and learn from my mistakes. This pep talk helped me greatly and we ended up winning the game 2 to 1 in overtime. My teams and my Jewish community provide the backbone in my life, and with their support I know that I will be able to succeed in any journey…even the one to the White House.