Winning Essay by DeMerrius P. from Missouri attends Jackson State University

The special African American that has been a big influence in my life is Deidre Plair, which is also known as my mother. Soon, I’ll explain how this woman has impacted my life in many different ways. Growing up, I have seen many times where she has made many sacrifices for me and my brother to have better. At a young age, we had moved to O’Fallon, MO. This is a suburb outside of St. Louis. The idea of this change was for us to grow up in a safer environment with better education because St. Louis has one of the highest crime rates in the nation. She had us enrolled in private school up until middle school, even when we necessarily couldn't afford it. She instilled the idea that I could fly, all I would have to do is spread my wings. This is a sense of being fearless and going after anything that I wanted in this life. She was very supportive in anything that I wanted to do from participating in piano, hockey, soccer, cross country, football, track etc. When I say supportive, I mean my number one fan and the loudest person cheering me on. There were times at my hockey tournaments where kids from other teams wanted her to stay for their games so she can cheer them on. She just had that type of impact on others. Even though I had a great relationship with her growing up, she wouldn’t hesitate to let me know when I was wrong and she referred it to “teaching mode”. I also learned other aspects from her like positivity, service, entrepreneurship and the expression of work ethic. Even when things looked like it was going downhill when basic necessities would be shut off in the house like gas, electricity, water etc., she would always keep a positive mindset. From an outside perspective, this can seem to be near impossible. This is the difference between my mother and the rest of the world, she is the eminent expression of unshakable. I also learned the sense of service by her being active in the community. She always showed the importance to put others before you and you shall reap the blessings later on in life. Later on in my childhood, she came to the point of owning her own gym. This was a big accomplishment and showed me the work it takes to gain ownership of your own business. Recently, she was diagnosed with a brain tumor and is recovering from surgery currently. During this hard time, she still showed a sense of courage and stated, “I am a no limit soldier”. I am very blessed to know this women and very grateful for the impact she has had on my life. From her I have felt encouraged to adapt to any situation and that I can handle anything put in front of me no matter how difficult it could be.


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