Nathan T (Class of 2026) is the 2022 Alpha Delta Kappa Young Writer’s award winner for the 6th- 8th grade division. Alpha Delta Kappa is an organization of women educators founded in 1947 dedicated to promoting excellence in education. The Young Writer’s Contest was hosted by Pennsylvania’s Gamma Chapter.
This year’s prompt was: How have your lived or cultural experiences shaped you into the individual you are today?
Nathan framed his essay around Hill Top Prep’s Spirit of the Hawk. Interwoven in all we do at Hill Top are the Spirit of the Hawk pillars of Courage, Perseverance, Leadership and Service. Together, these traits represent our ideals as individuals and as a community.
Hear from Nathan directly on how the pillars of the Spirit of the Hawk have shaped him into the person he is today by reading his essay below:
People go through things in life: that's something that happens no matter what you do. Whether those things are bad or good doesn't matter. people go through troubling times and you can either avoid them and try and forget, or you can face them and learn from them.
Tough times are not uncommon for me. But tough times create tough people, and troubling times can alter how you perceive things and many aspects of life. I would like to share how my experiences have shaped me into the person I am today.
I used to play football, in fact I used to be quite good at it. In fact, I would play every day with my brother. We had dreams of going to the NFL, but that all changed when I moved in with my grandparents and no longer had the opportunity to practice what I loved. I decided to find something else that I could succeed in: video games. It was tough at first. Nobody believed I could become great, so I used that as motivation. I persevered and continued to chase my dreams even through tough times and doubt, I still went on. It paid off. I'm finally one of the best Fortnite players on the East Coast but yet I still continue to persevere. I am not the best yet and I will not settle for second.
When I was younger, I was taught that the best thing someone could do was to help and give back. I would make sure never to leave my trash hanging around or to leave someone who needed help. Serving people that I care about is something that I have done since I can remember and is something that I will continue to keep a high priority for the rest of my life. This is still one of the things that I hold myself to a high standard for, whenever someone needs help, I make sure to offer a hand.
My old school was not the best place for me and that was obvious to everyone involved. Making the switch from a school I've spent 4 years of my life in can be very hard and really was. As anyone would be in my situation, I was scared. It was a big change for someone that young to be moving schools and especially for the reason I did. I could have just avoided the change and pretend that it didn't happen, but I chose not to. I chose to face it head on and adapt to my new surroundings and that experience has led me to embrace a new way of looking at things. If it needs courage to get through, you will gain all of the strength and courage that you spend on solving that problem back later on in life.
I've always been told that I'm a leader and that I am meant to be an example to people who need one. I've always taken that to heart and made it my mission to be a good role model for people. As I've gotten older, I have been able to recognize when people need help and when I can be a strong leader for people who need one. I think that this reassurance from a young age that I am a leader and I am a role model has led me to have that concept as second nature to me to know and I will continue to honor those values that I had learnt years ago.
Many years ago, I went to a school that was not right for me, and it was very hard dealing with all the emotions brought with being surrounded by people you would rather not be around. At the time I felt like I was cheated. I felt like I deserved more and to an extent I still look back on it and still believe I was done injustice. Now I realize that those experiences have greatly helped me deal with similar situations that sometimes occur to this day. I didn't know it back then, but I am stronger now because of the things I was exposed to as a child.