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A Significant Influence

The following is an essay written by a graduating senior in the Johnson Scholars Program, a college readiness program that is a partnership between the School District of Palm Beach County, Take Stock in Children Palm Beach County and the Johnson Scholarship Foundation. We will feature other student authors in the coming weeks.

Amit Ray once said, “Life throws challenges and every challenge comes with rainbows and lights to conquer it.” This quote clarifies that the road to success will not be simple; there will be adversities to overcome. One recognizes Ray’s fight for world peace; however, it is the triumphs of a common man that has had a significant influence on my life. He is more than a man I call brother. He is a beacon of hope and an inspiration to everyone he touches. Wendy Dumerlus has influenced me from an educational standpoint as well as a moral perspective.

students in graduation gowns throwing capsAfter witnessing my brother graduate from the University of South Florida with a bachelor’s degree in management information systems in December 2014, I instantly knew I wanted to achieve this goal one day. Being a first-generation student and graduating summa cum laude, Wendy opened my eyes to educational success. His achievements have motivated me to pursue a college education. Noticing the financial accomplishments my brother has been able to achieve after earning his degree revealed the opportunities that are available for me as well. The plan is to major in computer science or the like, to enter the information technology realm as a cybersecurity analyst.

In addition to my studies, I plan on getting involved with different organizations. Specifically, I plan on joining a sorority to serve the community and to network with fellow classmates. Also, I plan on joining culture clubs to learn about my roots and to be surrounded by like-minded individuals. Throughout college, my brother was a member of Phi Eta Sigma Honor Society, Neg Kreyol Incorporated, and Club Creole. After his experiences with these outstanding organizations, he has stressed the importance of getting involved and building relationships with people. After all, it is not what you know, it’s who you know. Like Wendy, I will also be active in campus activities.

Two people clasping hands Getting involved is vital to serving the community. During my pursuit of a bachelor’s degree, I will focus on giving back to the community in various ways. Being a positive role model, tutoring, and serving the homeless are some of the services that are near and dear to my heart. My brother was involved with Parents and Children Advance Together, which is an elementary tutoring ministry; the HipHop Basketball Foundation, which is an inner-city financial freedom organization; and Feeding Tampa Bay, which is an organization designed to help provide meals to less fortunate families. So I not only want to embody the values of my university, I also want to help transform the surrounding communities.

In essence, no one is perfect; however, it is important to have positive influences in your life to prosper. Wendy Dumerlus has set me on the right path and like him, I aspire to be the change I want to see in this world. Whether in school or life, the advice and the push I get from my brother is truly inspirational. Because of that my long-term and short-term goals are set for the future, now all I have to do is apply it and expand it.

Guidna Dumerlus is a senior at Palm Beach Lakes Community High School in West Palm Beach, Florida. She is a student in the Johnson Scholars Program, and she plans on majoring in computer science at Florida Atlantic University. Her career goal is to be a cybersecurity analyst.