Diversity can be hard to find in Southwestern Michigan but that is not the case in Cassopolis, Michigan. Cassopolis may only have a population of 1,655 people but it is diverse in culture. Cassopolis has always been a town for acceptance. Our town is known for The Underground Railroad and racial diversity, which is how Cassopolis came to be this way. Being a part of the community in Cassopolis has helped me gain an understanding of cultures and how to embrace them. At my school, Ross Beatty Junior / Senior High, every student, including myself, has learned to accept other’s differences but people outside of our community are not always as accepting. I have witnessed my African American friends being called racial slurs at one of our high school basketball games and treated unfairly. Parents from the school we were playing against that night even confronted some of the African American players. What makes Cassopolis unique is that after my friends were harassed the whole community came together to support these African American individuals. No one tried isolating those people or making them feel unwanted. After going through that I was determined to never treat someone poorly because they have different beliefs or their skin is a different color than my own.
I know that if I attend Michigan State University I will carry what I have learned in Cassopolis to Lansing. Many may find moving from a small town to a much larger town scary but I feel that I would adapt easily and be very open-minded to change. My open-mindedness and accepting nature will help me embrace what Michigan State University has to offer. I will take opportunities to lead and stand for others. Cassopolis shaped me into the person I am today and I feel prepared to do what I can as a student at Michigan State University to be a positive leader and succeed.
My hands are shaking, my stomach is aching and my neck itches from this stiff, FFA, corduroy jacket. My teammates and I huddle around my coach as he applauds us on our performance. Although I am extremely uncomfortable I cannot help but smile because I know my hard work seems to have paid off. Now all that was left to do was wait. Tomorrow we will find out how our team has placed. Those 24 hours seemed to be the longest hours I have ever experienced.
It is finally time for the award ceremony. As I make my way to my seat and look around at thousands of other FFA members from across Michigan, I can tell they are as nervous as I am when I shake their clammy hands and wish them luck. My team and I fidget nervously as we wait for them to start announcing results for our competition. Finally, our state president FFA officer announces, "Up next, the results for our FFA Greenhand Conduct of Meetings teams!" I grasp one of my teammate's hands as they start announcing fourteenth place, thirteenth place and so on. The last thing I want to hear is our team's name called until at least third , but that does not happen. "And in eighth place, Cassopolis FFA Chapter!" our state officer says. I watch my team's president walk up to the stage to accept the award and I start to cry. I am devastated.
We meet with our coach in the hallway after the awards ceremony and I see that I was not the only one that is disappointed. My teammates and I are all crying and speechless. I am not crying because I am a bad sportsman, I am crying because I feel as if I let my whole FFA chapter down. As a freshman I want my team to prove to the chapter that we can handle a state level competition. To add on to the disappointment we are feeling, the two other teams from Cassopolis greet us