This I Believe is a movement encouraging people to share, in essay format, their core values guiding their everyday lives. The movement began in the 1950s with radio host Edward R. Murrow.
When This I Believe was conceived, one of the goals was “to facilitate a higher standard of active public discourse by inspiring people to reflect, encouraging them to share, and engaging them in a conversation about personal values and beliefs that can shape a life, a community, and a society. By inviting Americans of diverse backgrounds to participate in the series, we hope to create a picture of the American spirit in all its rich complexity.”
This year, seniors and a few faculty members will be delivering their own This I Believe essays in our Monday assemblies. The videos on this page will be updated as each member of the senior class delivers their speech.
I believe in failure. We have all failed, whether that be failing a small homework assignment, test, or making first period class on time (we have all done it). We learn from failure, and it makes us stronger. Let me clarify: I don’t believe in failing, and I don’t think anyone does, but rather I believe we can learn from it. I believe in looking at failure in a different way. Failure can make us stronger, shape us into a better person, and remind us of our own humanity.
I failed. I failed my first essay in high school for Mr. Gyenes. Those who have all had Mr. Gyenes remember writing the essay, “Who Discovered America?” Yeah, I failed that essay. I remember that feeling in my stomach when I first saw that grade on my paper. I thought I had crafted a paper that was well written, but I was wrong. All I could think was, “Oh, this is going to be a long four years of high school.” I wanted to cry when I got home. I had put a good two or three hours into that paper, and what I got was an F. I was too embarrassed to even tell my parents the results of my paper.
I did what most good students who want to do better on the next paper do: I went to see the teacher and talk about the paper. I had never done that before. It was a different experience. I had only had Mr. Gyenes for a little less than a month and was still trying to get comfortable with my new teachers. I remember approaching room 43 ( Mr. Gyenes’s old room) with my essay in my hand and shaking nervously. “Come in, Abe, take a seat” Mr. Gyenes said in his cheerful voice. Mr. Gyenes wrote all sorts of notes of my paper, drawing lines to different sections of the essay and crossing out whole sentences and paragraphs. It no longer looked like an essay but rather some football play that Coach Scotty drew up. I walked out of the room with a better feeling for not only the paper but also a desire to write another paper so I could prove to myself that the next time would be different.
Society views failure as something that is forbidden; the word failure itself has a negative connotation. Instead of accepting this without question, I encourage you to view failure as a way to learn, grow, and progress. Failure is simply a first try at something and provides an individual with experience for future attempts. Failure has even proven to be the motivation for society's greatest innovations to occur. As the once great Jimmy Valvano said, “Never give up! Failure and rejection are only the first step to succeeding.”
Failure can discourage us from reaching our full potential, but with the right help and motivation, you can really turn it around for yourself. For me that was meeting with Mr. Gyenes in that first semester of high school. I believe anyone can succeed, if they choose to take advantage of the help offered to them. Trust me, meeting with a teacher during a study hall or afterschool is worth it, especially if you do better on your next assignment. I believe that failing makes us stronger if we rise to overcome it.
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