Over time, there have been several people who have influenced various aspects of my life, based on their personal characteristics, accomplishments, and values. I have been privileged to have had numerous teachers and professors who I respect for their patience and intelligence. There are artists that have inspired me by their natural talents and original creativity. I value many political leaders, who have inspired me by their contributions to society, and their ability to change our futures. Of all the people I have encountered in my life, the person I admire most is my father.
As the youngest girl in my family, I always considered myself to be “Daddy's little girl.” Growing up it always made me sad to see so many of my friends and neighbors without a father or father-like figure around. This helped me appreciate how my father always takes an interest in his children's lives. To this day, he still professes how proud he is of me and my siblings, and is still there to support us in whatever we are involved in. In every aspect of my life my father continuously pushes me to excel. Whenever I feel like giving up, or have a question or a concern, I know I can always call on him for advice. From him I have also learned that sometimes you have to put others needs ahead of your own, but not to the point they will begin to take advantage of you. His strength seems to be unbreakable during hard times, and is extremely determined to accomplish anything he sets his mind on. I hold great esteem for how he stands up for what he believes in, and will never back down. I have always admired his open mind, compassion, and sense of understanding. He is a very reserved man, but has a great sense of humor, and always knows how to put a smile on my face.
I remember how my father worked during the week at night, and how we would look forward to the weekends when we would spend time with him. Every night we would have dinner together as a family at the kitchen table, but it never seemed complete until the weekend when my father would be with us. No matter how tired he was from his long work week, he would be up bright and early Saturday morning to attend any of our sporting events, tournaments, or recitals, and then chauffeur us and our friends to slumber parties or school dances. He was always very protective and kept a watchful eye over us.
My father's protectiveness and selflessness generated at a young age for him. He is the ninth of twelve children, and often told us stories of how he had to look after, and practically raise his three younger siblings after my grandfather had passed. He made certain they completed their chores around my grandmother's farm, maintained good hygiene practices, and kept up with their schoolwork. School was extremely important to my father, because he knew an education was the only way he could be successful.
Proudly, he finished high school at the age of sixteen, but could not follow the footsteps of his older brothers and join the military, because he was too young. Therefore, he decided to continue his studies. The completion of his degree in biology was bittersweet. He was the first and the only one in his family to have graduated from college, however, there were not a lot of opportunities for a young African-American male in 1957, in small town Alabama. After taking few odd jobs, he decided to enlist in the military.
My father had encountered many challenges in his life, but one of his toughest was seeking to date my mother. He was stationed in San Antonio when he first met her at a military ball. She was accompanied by her parents, and instantly caught my father's eye from across the room. After their first conversation, they immediately clicked. Unfortunately, my grandfather did not approve of their relationship, and attempted to keep them apart. He is from the Dominican Republic, and believed an interracial relationship...