Courage in the face of adversity

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        Malayka Gonzalez

          CM107-Unit 3

        Kaplan University

                          COURAGE IN THE FACE OF ADVERSITY

                                     Malayka Gonzalez

        We all live. It is during our lives that we experience emotions and situations that test

our decision making process, giving us the option to fail or to succeed. It is the decisive moment

where our brains make a decision, and the neurons spark, as our brain is filled with activity

during the process called life. To choose a red ball over yellow, to wear shoes or unmatched

socks; these are choice examples, which we live daily, that makes us humans feel alive. Courage

is the ability for us to make decisions as individuals and as groups; to be brave, to exalt in our

chosen field, to be fearless or be intrepid and wise. Courage is daily evolution. My brother has

shown courage all days of his life, and for this I perceive him as one of the most courageous and

brave people I know.

        The educational system is expected to be welcoming in every aspect and opportunity. It

is my personal opinion that the educational system, similar to our credit or financial system is a

system that only accepts and chooses the strongest, most capable or most qualified individuals.

Discrimination, according to the previously mentioned system, is after all allowed. Understood,

I supposed, because it is the planetary goal to be part of an educated society, capable of

communicating and speaking clearly. The United Nations is a prime example of such


        I can recall as of my earliest years, living on an island is not very easy, nor as beautiful as

people expect. Some places are overpopulated, and can offer only a myriad of situations to

those who can afford them. The governments, as small as they are, try to provide a sufficiently

equal educational system to all who are willing to accept it, though obviously not succeeding.

My family was considered normal, and we traveled between socioeconomic stages. In my

earliest recollections, my brother attended catholic school. I remember him being taught by

nuns, and having a very strict schedule. There is a three year difference between my brother

and I. I also attended a private schooling system during my first years, though we were not

segregated. My school had a plethora of people from different colors, and religions. I do not

use the word race because, for the most part, being born on an island almost guarantee tees a

complexity of heredity which larger demographics sometimes do not experience. When it was

time for me to attend first grade, my family made the decision to turn to the public school

system. I personally did not attend first grade, never quite knowing why. My mother became

the English instructor of our small city, or barrio. At that time we began to experience what life

within a public system was to become.

        To say that we lived in a third world situation educationally speaking was unknown to

us, for we thought we lived in our own little world. Our classrooms did not have air

conditioning, our bathrooms no toilet paper, nor doors, nor working toilets. Sometimes if it

rained a deluge, we would be without water as well. My brother, Yariel, was inducted into the

same elementary school which I attended, and experienced many of the same instructors which

I had previously been with.

        My family experienced many hardships and suffered being the criminal target for our

little city, being the English instructors and all. My mother was raped, my father assaulted at

gun point, our house ransacked, our pets killed in our own yard. We lived a life of fear, always

serving the community, and due to such, created many jealous acquaintances. I can only

assume that it is regarded as awkward for a family to want to help educate and advance a

community, from the perspective of the local community that perhaps had not been introduced

to such eagerness to succeed previously. “What you don’t know won’t hurt you “ perspective is

very well practiced in island living.

        My family moved to the United States, Orlando Florida in particular. I recall trips to

Disney World in the early years, not knowing that we were actually looking for a new place to

live. My brother and I were tested by the public school system, in every subject, as to provide a

clear state of our aptitude. I surpassed and entered the Eighth Grade, my brother the Sixth. We

moved numerous times, as our family tried to find a place to live which resembled the standard

of living we had so painfully experienced. As we entered high school, my family made the

decision to move out to west Orlando. There, my brother and I had the opportunity to attend

the same school. I entered my senior year, my brother became a freshman.

        We enjoyed one or two classes together, which was an advantage to us since we were

new to the area. I recall our patience being tested by the numerous fights which were

instigated. Interestingly, we seemed to have entered a predominantly normal demographic, in

which we were seen as newcomers not only in the classroom, but also because of where we

came from. I presume there were not many islanders at the school, in retrospect. We grew

bored and tired of being bullied all the time. I released my energy through band, my brother

through studying and reading. I graduated during summer of the year, for my attention to

mathematics was not at its highest since “island people” tend to live by entertaining or other

aspects at the time. My brother made the decision, and my family accepted, that he would not

continue his studies and, at the age of 14, resigned from school.

        He lived many years taking care of my parents and guarding their security, since we

were traumatized by the things we had experienced in our early years. Currently, my brother

had managed to become one of the best chef’s in the area, if not the region. He has been

offered the opportunity to cook for some very famous people, and in some very famous and

prestige kitchens, within the resort community.

        My brother defines courage not only because of the sacrifices which he personally took

upon himself, to care that our family’s future would not be endangered. He stood squarely in

the face of discrimination, and adversity, to an educational system which would not accept him.

I specifically recall the day my brother and I attended college to enroll after his GED graduation

at age 14. The college would not accept him, for he was too young. I believe the policies may

have changed since then, and though, I think it unfair that he was not able to fulfill his destiny

since the earliest age, the concept is that he did.

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