This I Believe: The Cadets' Essay Contest - Part 3
Arkansas, Texas shows welcome honorary Cadets.
By Caryn Goebel
Ashley Chandler was 13-years-old when she was diagnosed with Fibromyalgia, a chronic muscle disorder that creates constant pain. The young girl from Colombia, Mo., struggled in her attempts to keep up with friends living full lives in their newfound teen years. The life ahead seemed unimaginable until Ashley began putting her parent’s advice and beliefs to work: Never give into the pain. Never let it stop you.
“I knew I was lucky. I could be dying, but I felt depressed and alone,” wrote Ashley. “So I kept what my parents said in my head. I kept pushing through the pain.”
Now 16 and a vibrant teenager, Ashley is the sixteenth winning writer in the Cadets’ “This I Believe” Essay Contest. Her essay on the motivation and values instilled within her by her parents has earned her the honor of spending the day with the corps and marching onto the competition field in the classic Cadets’ block in Fayetteville, Ark., on Wednesday, July 18.
Ashley joins two other new winners who will participate with the corps in upcoming DCI competitions. Meghan Wleczyk of Austin, Texas, will march with the Cadets at their Mesquite, Texas, show on Thursday, July 19 and Jason Black of Humble, Texas, will make his debut with the Cadets on Saturday, July 21 in San Antonio, Texas.
Below are excerpts from all three winning essays:
“Eventually I was back with my friends, doing what every normal preteen did. I was back in school and able to go a whole day without coming home. I was even able to go a whole year of school with fewer and fewer absences than the one before.
My parents instilled in me this belief of never letting barriers get in your way, never let them stop you and I don’t. I have pushed myself hard to get back to the person I was before I was diagnosed with Fibromyalgia, but now at 16, I have a better perspective on life.
It wasn’t until now that I understand why it was me, why I have this disease. I needed to learn that I can’t allow barriers stop me. I need to keep on pushing through, no matter how hard it is.”
“I have always said, ‘It is love that makes the world go round; without passion there is no life; but without friendship, there is no passion worth living.’ I would have never guessed that in my own words I would find, from within my passion, a friendship that has given me faith to simply, believe.
“Individuality. I believe that being an individual and being yourself, no matter what life throws at you, is the key to happiness and any form of success. If you always sit around and get bent out of shape or wonder what others think, say or do in regards to you, you will live in a state of fear.
Individuality is what makes us all unique. It shows who we are, what we are made of, where we come from and more importantly, where we are going. Life throws us all for loops, both good and bad. You have to take what you get and run with it. Tomorrow, the sun while rise and you will continue to have more opportunities to write the everlasting novel that is your life.
In drum corps, there are hundreds of individuals that make up every corps. And, as you may hear teachers, mentors, professors, marching techs and caption heads speak so much, there is no "I" in team, but, in my opinion, it takes hundreds of "I's" to make up that team. Everyone brings their own unique individuality to the table in every aspect of life. Whether it be in a team, in front of a group, in a solo or in a drum corps, being an INDIVIDUAL and having your own true makeup, is what makes this gift, LIFE, incredibly amazing. I live and believe that by being myself and being an individual prepares me for absolutely anything that this world has in store for me. And, by doing just that, this life and story that I continue to write and edit every day is truly a blessing.”
Essays on what values you hold close are still being accepted for all remaining Cadets’ performances as the corps continues its tour across the country with its extraordinary 2007 program, “This I Believe.”
The contest is open to all, ages 7 and up. Include your full name, age, address, telephone number and email address with your entry. Also, let us know what show you plan to attend this summer.
About the Author:
Caryn Goebel is a marketing associate at Youth Education in the Arts, an Allentown, Pa.-based organization, providing programs that allow thousands of talented performers to participate in pageantry events around the continent.
Halftime Magazine®, a bimonthly print publication and online community, presents the sights, sounds and spirit of the marching arts, providing education, entertainment and inspiration for students, directors, alumni and fans of high school marching band, college marching band, drum corps, color guard and winter guard, indoor drum line or percussion, and all-age ensembles.
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