Middle School Student Essays

    [Houston, TX] Over one hundred fifty students at John J. Pershing Middle School participated in a recent essay contest based on their reading of the Society's "Booker T. Washington - American Hero" booklet.
    Caring Friends, a Houston faith-based non-profit, that, among its many good works here and abroad, includes offering a hand up to at-risk children and those wanting to read at grade level, sponsored the contest.
    Kudos to Ms. Kim Heckman, Principal of John J. Pershing Middle School and its creative writing staff, and Rev. John Collier, Exec. Director of Caring Friends, for initiating and expanding the perspective of so many children in this engaging, innovative way.
    Selecting the best proved so difficult among the judges, that the "Top Four" were awarded prizes with two runner-ups:

Top 4 Winners: Aaron R., Laura A., Mauricio F., Muaz R.

Runner Ups: Eunice B., Oscar R.

"Booker T. Washington's Dreams to My Reality" by Aaron R.

        Booker T. Washington wasn't always an American idol, he started as an average Joe, a kid. A kid with struggles and hardships trying to make something out of himself. I started as a kid and I am still living that life with struggles, family struggles, school struggles and even struggles with myself.

        Booker T. Washington had to struggle with his education but he planned his schedule so he can work at the mine, but also go to school. I have to plan every day of my life, because of all my different classes, different projects, different homework and all these different studies. It's just a different experience every day. For Booker T. Washington, he planned his day between work and school. Once he was old enough he was ready to head to the Virginia School for Negroes. Like him, I hope to be ready for the culinary school of my fitting so I can create my own career like Booker T. Washington. He did all this starting with a thought, then a plan, then he executed that plan even though knowing the obstacles ahead.

        Booker T. Washington is an inspiration, starting from nothing but a kid to a successful man. Knowing this I know that when I have a troubling obstacle in life, I will find a way through like Booker T. Washington. After accomplishing all these tasks he had given himself, he was recommended to be a principal for a new school project held in Tuskegee, Alabama. When he got to Tuskegee not knowing anything school related was prepared, he created his own school room from an old church room and eventually got more funding from loans and even a personal check that was given to him but he gave it towards the schools.

I haven't known what it is like to have road blocks as big as Booker T. Washington's, yet! That is why I aim to get throughout this year of school with the knowledge I have and will gain. I plan to try to get all A's, but to also follow my true passion of culinary arts, discovering all I can do with that talent. By using the Booker T. Way.


"Turning my Dreams into Reality" by Eunice B.

        From a slave to a leader, from building a school in a one room broken down church to a worldwide famous Tuskegee, with more that 4,000 schools. From an ordinary black man working in mines to a person that inspires as he speaks, everyone stops and listens. Booker T. Washington has a life that everyone can look up to, a life that gives me such inspirations.

My two goals in life are, one, finish reading all the classic books on my dad's bookshelf, and two become a professional golfer and/or get a full golf scholarship in a really good college. I know these goals sound completely irrelevant, but through the inspiration Booker T. Washington gave me, I know I must try my best to reach these goals. When I feel I cannot meet my goals, I will remember that Booker T. Washington built more than 4000 schools all from one single goal.

Booker T. Washington once said, "Success is to be measured not so much by the position that one has reached in life, but by the obstacles which he as overcome." Even when the books are too long and boring or when I'm too lazy to stand up and go practice, golf, I know that on my journey to reach my goals, more and more obstacles will come my way. The important thing for me is that I learn from them, I get through it and I try my best to win them over.

Booker T. Washington went through all of his trials step by step to build more than 4000 schools. I will also go through each task in my life in order to reach my goals. I will go from getting through the first word of the whole book to finishing it, from first swinging the club to getting a full golf scholarships and I will turn my dreams and goals into reality.


"Booker T. Washington" by Laura A.

        In life there's so many hardships and obstacles that you're going to have to overcome, even when it may appear that impossible odds are stacked against you. In order to accomplish whatever it is that you want to do, you have to show true courage strength determination and work hard. To get to the top, you have to endure the toughest of times and Booker T. Washington knew that better than anyone.

        Booker T. Washington was born a slave in 1856 on a small tobacco farm in Virginia. His family was eventually freed and moved out to West Virginia. Booker wanted to go to school and get an education. The problem was though, that his stepfather wanted him to work in the salt and cold mines, to help to provide for his family. Instead of giving up on an education he did both. Booker rose before dawn each and every morning, worked for hours, went to school, then went back and worked some more. Only to do the exact same thing on the next day. After years of that, Booker made his way to the Hampton Institute. Starting from the bottom he worked his way up. In the end, he impressively graduated with honors. he was offered a job at the Tuskegee School and built the school by himself, turning it into something extraordinary.

        In my own personal life, I've had my own struggles. Of course they can in no way compare to being born a slave, but they've been the things that have set me back in my life. I didn't have the best start in life and my home life has been rocky for as long as I can remember. My main goal is to just be better than all of that. To get a nice job, have a good life, and to get that I know that I need to have perseverance. If I can keep in mind that Booker T. Washington, rose above his original standpoint, then I know that I can too.


"Booker T. Washington Went From Slave to a King" by Muaz R.

        Booker T. Washington was born into slavery. He was lower class, but he went from a slave to a king. He lived in a dirt floor cabin with his mother for years. He never knew his real father. Those were one of his hardships.

        Booker T. Washington wanted to go to school but he couldn't. His strict stepfather did not let him. He had to work and go to school in the same day. It was an eleven-hour work day. He faced the challenge of doing a lot of work in one day. He only did it for the education! That was the second hardship.

        The qualities which helped him to succeed were to never give up and always accept responsibility. Never giving up, because he did not give up on his goals even though he was born into slavery. Even though he was considered lower class, he still set his goals for the future.

        Another quality was accepting responsibility. Accepting responsibility, because he was responsible for his education. He was as responsible as a lion responsible for his pride’s food. His mother supported him for his education. He worked eleven hours a day and he even walked 200 miles to go to college. He figured out a way to do what was expected of him and still reach his goal of an education. That was another sign of accepting responsibility.

One challenge or hardship I want to overcome is to write better essays. In my English class, I was close to getting a four. I got a three and a half. It was like a cat that almost caught a mouse. Although I got a three and a half, I know I can do better. This grade has encouraged me. I will never give up.

        In the future challenge I will face is getting into college, free. I need to get a doctoral or professional degree. I will work hard and study hard to get one of those degrees. I need on of them because I want to become and astronomer, when I grow up. Astronomy is the study of matter and phenomena in the universe, it is my dream. I will work hard and never give up. I will be my own version of Booker T. Washington.


"What This American Hero Means" by Mauricio F.

        Booker T. Washington was a slaved African American. He did not pity himself he instead wanted to help educate others as well as himself. As freedom came, Booker T. Washington wanted to go to school, but his father insisted he work in the mines to help the family. So Booker T. Washington found a way, he would wake up at four in the morning to go to school and then when school ended he worked at the mines until after night fall.

He shows me that determination and hard work can get you anywhere in life. He also proves that there's always a way and time for learning. Booker T. Washington never let anything stop him from getting his education. He shows me that in life, education is given to those who want it and those who don't want it will have an extremely hard life.

        Booker T. Washington was important because not only did he help educate others he also started organizations that would help people in many areas. I also help by donating to people in need and also donate to my church. I'm right now struggling in sports it's difficult right now because everything's changing. The gameplay is changing, ball speed, the baseball runners, and the players themselves.

        Everything I know is changing because everything is a competition and being good is not good enough. You have to be amazing and also be consistent as well. I’m also worried about high school because I’m not zoned to any good schools I want to go to and I also have to try out for them. I think if Booker T. Washington was here right now that he would use one of his motivational speeches to encourage me to not give up without trying.

        Booker T. Washington shows that working hard can also help you in life and help you get what you want. I think Booker T. Washington would tell me not to worry and just try and you will see the results. I have learned from Booker T. Washington is that in life anything can happen but you decide whether you want it or not.

        I want to thank Booker T. Washington for everything he has done for America and showing us that if you dream hard and tackle every obstacle in your way, your dreams can become a reality.


"The Struggles of Everyday Life" by Oscar R.

        Struggles and challenges everyone faces in life. Life may seem easy at first but the struggles begin as soon as you’re born in this world. Babies struggle by having to wait for their mothers to feed them, clean them, and change them. Kids have to struggle with school because of all their homework and learning they have to do all the time. Teenagers is the same story with kids only that they have more concerns such as their appearance, career options, and dating. Adults seem to have the most struggles. They have to work every day so they can get money for their bills, food, taxes, clothing, and children if they have any. It would be more challenging if they have children because they will need to buy them a lot of stuff such as diapers clothing, food, toys, etc. The kids will grow up and go to school so they will need to buy uniforms and school supplies Then the kids will start asking for money, phones, and all those expensive stuff that kids want in this current generation. Basically, anyone at any age will have struggles.

        There is one famous person who has struggled a lot throughout his life and his name is Booker T. Washington. Booker T. Washington struggled since his birth. He was born as a slave in a small house with not enough space for his family. He became free when he turned nine but the struggles kept on going. Booker T. Washington wanted to go to a school so he could learn but his father did not approve and told him to work in the mines instead so he could support the family. Booker T. Washington found a way to go to school and work at the mines He could wake up at four or five in the morning to start working at the mines and return at nine or ten in the morning so he could go to school. Booker T. Washington would then go back to the mines to work again and come back home at nine in the evening. He made sure he met his goals and did what his [step] father wanted.

        Booker T. Washington wanted to go to a university but didn't have enough money for it. At age fifteen or sixteen, Booker T. Washington made enough money for the trip but it was only enough for halfway. He had to walk 200 miles so he could get to his destination. Booker T. Washington didn't find any university when he got there. He decided to raise money to build the schools in the future. Booker T. Washington struggled to raise money and build the schools that children needed to learn at.

        I also have struggles in in my life. I have personal goals and career goals in my life. I don't know yet what my exact career goal is. Just trying to find out my career goal is a huge struggle for me. There are a lot of things I can be such as a lawyer or doctor. There are also some personal goals I have. One of my personal goals is to learn how to sing like an angel. I really love this goal because singing is a way I can express my feelings and personality. Another one my personal goals is to learn the Japanese language. There are a lot of reasons why I want to learn Japanese. One reason is because I think that their language sounds amazing Another reason is that I want to go to japan one day. I will need to know Japanese if I want to.