Believe it or not, I have much in common with a pencil. That is correct – a simple, wooden pencil! Not the complex mechanical pencils nor the special colored pencils. I am not a fancy fountain pen. I do not live life in daring strokes like a highlighter, but I share the characteristics of a pencil and here is why. A big part of pencils is leaving their mark, and I try to do the same whenever possible. I have left my mark in small ways and big ways. It has been in the lives of people I love; for example, by lending a helping hand to my family whenever it is needed; people I have competed with in sports–as captain and team player, I encourage my teammates despite defeat; or in incidental conversations struck with strangers, for example, by giving directions to someone who has been lost. I have left a mark on my community by using my creativity and talent to design and build the “Little Free Libraries” stationed around my town at key locations. My artwork has been recognized within the community (two web links) and at my high school. I have a mark to leave and I use every opportunity I create or that comes my way to leave something good behind. A pencil is more useful when it is sharpened. That goes the same for me. Every day, I face challenges that could grind me down into a nub, but from these experiences I am sharpened into a more determined and capable individual. For example, I am a high achieving student who has consistently received Honors and High Honors every term since freshman year, leading to membership in the National Honors Society. However, I struggle on standardized exams even though I prepare. I become disappointed when my scores aren’t where I expect them to be, because I know how much I do know even though my score doesn’t reflect it. This hasn’t deterred me from my goal of getting the best education I possibly can and trying my hardest to overcome obstacles.Pencils work at their absolute best when they are in skilled hands, and just like a pencil, I can do some pretty amazing things. I have been lucky enough to have had many coaches in Soccer and Indoor and Outdoor Track & Field who have been a constant source of encouragement, motivating me to physically push myself, to do my best, to keep trying harder. There were times when I would disappoint myself, but I kept pushing forward expanding my skill set and taking advantage of new opportunities where I could prove myself. Especially in Indoor and Outdoor Track & Field, I qualified for State Championships, won League and Conference meets, and earned my varsity letter and pin. This year, I am captain of the Track team, an amazing accomplishment and an awesome responsibility to help me leave my mark.Graphite makes up the core of the pencil and is the most essential part. Without it, the pencil is useless. It is what is on the inside that matters the most and that is what people notice about me; my perseverance, creativity and enthusiasm. All of these characteristics make me a great leader and an even greater student. I do make mistakes at times, but just as a pencil has an eraser for corrections, I also correct the situation so I can leave my mark. Being captain (JV Soccer and Varsity Indoor Track and Field) and receiving awards and recognitions has proved to me that I am capable of anything and I can continue to amaze people.What I’m trying to say is, there are a bunch of different kinds of pencils or things you can write with, just like there are a variety of students you can admit to your school, but at the end of the day, don’t you want a pencil that at her core will make a mark, of staying sharpened to write a new chapter filled with great accomplishments and successes? At your school, I will be in skilled hands to do just that. I am your pencil.