Everyday I enter school and start walking past teenagers just like myself. They have the same teachers, environment, and basic problems I do. They may walk the same as I do, but all it takes is one quick glance to notice the difference between the general Southwestern Virginia population and myself.
People always notice the brown skin first. I have been the only currently enrolled Filipino-American student in the school system for my educational career. I am the son of two native Filipinos that constantly push me to be the best. If I thought these differences were so important, I would have no friends and be isolated in my hometown. The students of my high school have seen my inner-self develop over the years and are able to look past what’s different on the outside. They now see what I’m really about in character and determination, where color and appearance isn’t a factor. They see me as a hard-working individual who has some soccer footwork and ambitions to succeed while having a great time. My skin tone and appearance don’t affect my character, which is now an important and unique part to them and their high school environment.
I believe I have the ability to make friends with anyone, Filipino or not. I will bring this friendly and unique spirit to the University of Virginia where I can further evolve my character for the better. I can create ways to make work and countless hours of band practice fun. Diversity may be one of the best factors in building character and tolerance, and I believe the setting of Charlottesville is the perfect place for me to expand my horizons while giving off my positive vibe.