My role models are probably very similar to those that most applicants discuss in their college applications. I've been blessed with devoted parents, a strong extended family, and enjoy the influence of many generous teachers, coaches and ministers in my community. I enjoy discussing life with older acquaintances, who are happy to share the wisdom they have acquired through decades of experience. It isn't often that I observe exemplary behavior in someone my own age that inspires me to emulate them. But Cassie Bernard is a rare exception and I am proud to cite her as a role model.
The media extensively covered the Columbine High School shooting, and people worldwide collectively grieved the loss of 17-year-old Cassie and her classmates. Those with strong Christian beliefs often cite her as a martyr, as she reportedly confimed her belief in God to her killer right before death. I am touched by this knowledge, and know in my heart that Cassie's faith has been an inspiration to her family and friends.
I look up to Cassie not only for her faith, but for the courageous way that she lived. At the time of her death, Cassie was reportedly on the right track. She was a good student, a devoted friend and a strong Christian. But life hadn't always been this happy for her. Cassie had struggled with puberty, and fell prey to the to the terrible temptations of drugs, sex and alcohol. For nearly a year, she fought with her family, abandoned her faith and dabbled in the occult.
What inspires me about Cassie is that at age 16, she acknowledged her poor choices and sought help. She approached both her parents and minister and asked them to help her find her way back to God. This could not have been...