My family history, culture, and environment have all been intertwined and are the main forces that have influenced who I am today. I was raised in Florida and both sides of my father’s family have been in Florida over a century, and my mother’s parents came here 40 years ago after moving from New York.
My father’s grandfather was once Sheriff of Sarasota County, until the 1929 stock market crash and the county could not afford to pay him. My father told me about this many times and as I got older it was very enlightening because as my father explained, never under estimate the need for discipline as it is necessary in every aspect of life and without it even a government can go bankrupt.
My mother’s family is Italian, and can trace their roots back to specific towns in Italy. Hearing their stories about the reasons and difficulty of their families leaving Italy and coming to the United States were great life stories. Without knowing anyone in Florida, her parents came here when they were young adults and started a successful business. To me, it takes courage and character to leave your home town and extended family and seek out opportunity. I like to think that some of that courage and character is instilled in me and feel quite fortunate to be part Italian, and to enjoy home cooked Italian food too. I think everybody wants to be part Italian at times, and I do not blame them.
Being raised in Florida gave me numerous opportunities to enjoy the outdoors as I grew up. Although my parents have been divorced for several years, before then we all fished and went to the beach and enjoyed the outdoors together. And here again, I find myself to be fortunate as my parents continue to provide a good adult example to me by getting along very well, so actually I can still do all kinds of things with either one of them.
With the great Florida weather, I could play outside a lot when I was young and that included a lot of sports. I started to focus on football and continued to play in the little leagues all the way up through four years of high school. My parents come to all of my games and it is a great esteem boost to know that they are there and support me.
There are many great things I have learned from my family, but the most important one is the value of faith. We are humble Christians and through our faith believe in compassion and tolerance. I could not write without mentioning this, but also wish to say that we respect all other religions and faiths too.
I am a very fortunate, disciplined, happy and content person. I do not want to boast, but I have high self-esteem and feel secure enough in my upbringing and family to say with confidence that I will succeed in college and beyond.