Prove Them Wrong

I ran off the bus in a hurry. I unlocked the door as fast as I could and slammed it so that they couldn’t see me crying. I called my mom. “What’s wrong? Are you okay? Did you lose?” I said whimpering “No Mom, I won.” I didn’t win a large prize or trip, however, I won something that a lot of my classmates wanted, student council president. In the days leading up to the election, I learned that many students did not want me to succeed and get the position. Nevertheless, I won the role of president and something else. With my election, I learned that others will underestimate you and doubt your success. It doesn’t have to be this way after you understand how to prove others wrong with your success.

The student council election came at the end of my fourth grade year in a new elementary school. Many students in the school didn’t like a new student running for president. Most of the kids running have dreamt of this position for a long time and did not like that a new kid could take their dream below their feet. Many kids retaliated in their own ways against my nomination. Some defaced my elections posters. Someone drew on a mustache, had given me missing teeth and a black eye on a poster that featured my face. I don’t know why someone would do this as I had never attacked one of my classmates or other candidates. One of my opponents while walking to the bus started screaming “facts” about me. The student said things like “Franco eats his boogers!” and “Franco doesn’t shower!” Kids were really afraid of me winning and were doing anything and everything for me to have a negative image.

The final part before voting was a speech in front of the student body. In the days leading up to the speech I listened to two other candidates for president and heard them talking about how their parents had written their speeches and that kids would vote for them because of how good their speeches were. All I had were a couple sentences that I had typed up with size thirty- two font. The students and teachers filed into the auditorium to listen to all the speeches for the open student council position. I was the last candidate to speak. The speeches I heard before me were being read off from a piece of wrinkled note paper, way too fast, with the diction of an educated adult. When it came time for me to talk, I tossed my speech aside, looked at my audience’s eyes and spoke from my heart on why I should be president. My speech resonated with the whole school. I received a loud round of applause, the largest form of support I received from my peers.

The results would come at the end of the day. I didn’t think I had a chance of winning because I was a new student, no one knew me. I believed that I would lose, but hoped to win. Before we left to go home, the principal came over the loudspeaker and announced that “Your new Student Council President is Franco Bucciarelli.” I felt proud of myself and my hard work to get me to that point. I was on the top of the winning platform at the Olympics and no one could knock me down. On my way to the bus, I started getting stink eyes from kids, tongues stuck out at me and faint “You suck!” in the background. I didn’t know was wrong. As I walked onto the bus with all the kids giving me looks. I was then lectured on the fifteen-minute ride home by my fellow classmates saying that a new kid shouldn’t have won, only kids who have been at the school since Kindergarten could win, my speech wasn’t good because my parents didn’t write it, I shouldn’t accept the position and have someone else have it. I let my emotions bottle up until I got home to cry.

I ran and lived my campaign by the golden rule. I didn’t do anything to harm or hurt my fellow candidates. I didn’t think about this until much later but the other candidates saw me as a threat. Not only was I a new student, but I was also an Honor Roll student, possessed great character, and was well liked by the school’s teachers and staff. In addition to how little my classmates knew about me personally, they needed to play dirty to make sure that they could win. I was accused of cheating, bribing, and rigging the vote, all of which I didn’t do. These accusations all came from my fellow candidates. My classmates were underestimating and doubting my success. I would go through a similar event to this, however, I knew how to handle the situation and change my position in order not to better myself but also others.

The setting hasn’t changed much, now taking place in student council during high school. After being selected for the role of class secretary, I was excited that I get a chance to make my school a better place with my new ideas like new fundraisers for a class trip. I soon found out the other student council members did not want me in the group. They didn’t see me as a friend or colleague, just another person they had to “include” in the group. The group would often put down my ideas for their own which often made me upset that my opinions were being overlooked. The final straw I had was when I found out the whole group planned out a fundraiser over Facebook and never included me in the conversation. I didn’t want to leave the group because it would radiate the fact that they didn’t want me to succeed. I needed to prove them wrong.

Instead of leaving student council completely, I started putting my time into other clubs that valued my ideas. One group was the business club at my high school. This group managed the most successful fundraiser the school had, a coffee shop located in the library. Every morning students would line up before the coffee shop’s doors were unlocked to get their caffeine fix. I was entrusted by the business club’s advisor to manage the coffee shop my senior year. I flourished while being in the business club than be a “leader” in student council. I started creating friendships with the underclassmen, who would often come up to me with questions about school events or how to get involved with the coffee shop. With my role as manager of the coffee shop, I discovered my passion in business management and plan to study it in college. While some club members doubted my success because of my short time working at the coffee shop, I had full support from my advisor to make the coffee shop a very successful place. I will never forget my time at my high school’s coffee shop. I wouldn’t have been able to prove everyone wrong in this case without the prior experiences I’ve had.

Having this feeling of others underestimating my abilities, I worked my hardest in order to better the lives of the students and others in the community in both my first run in student council and in the coffee shop. As leader of student council, my partners and I tied more rewards and prizes into the school’s reading program, which encouraged more students to read and use school resources like the library. We also managed two very successful charity fundraisers with over $2,000 going to organizations like Relay for Life that help and support people and families with cancer. We also donated a plaque for the school’s memorial garden in honor of students, staff, teachers, and principles, who have had an everlasting impact on the school. The plaque is still on the school building, well maintained in the seven years since its installation. In the coffee shop, besides increasing profits and customer satisfaction, we as a club gave nearly $10,000 in scholarships to graduating seniors. What I’m most proud of was starting a new pilot program. This program invited students with disabilities a chance to work in the coffee shop. Not only were these students gaining resume-building job skills, they were also gaining more social support from others students and teachers by serving them drinks and snacks from the coffee shop. This program has kept on growing since I have left high school. I would not have been able to accomplish so much with student council and the coffee shop if my classmates underestimated my abilities. There are people who will underestimate you, there are also people who will help and support you in whatever you may do. I learned who were my friends and who weren’t and picked up more friends along my way. I wouldn’t have been able to accomplish my plans and goals without the support from my friends.

I showed people who undervalued me I was the right person for the position. In anything I do today I often think back to the time when a lot of people thought I would stumble and how that impacted my life today. Even in group projects and work today others often underestimate my abilities. However, I know from experience how to react to them and how to show them that they are wrong and that I can accomplish anything I set myself up to do. I can do it without crying too.

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