Shannon, a high school student from Missouri, ponders the question of who inspires her the most. Without a doubt, one person had the most impact on her and her time spent in class this semester (it's not who you think)
I study the room and ponder on the question of who has influenced me most this semester. My results differ each time I evaluate. Do I answer, "The boy who sat next to me every day"? Probably not. While he does inspire me to achieve good things and be the best version of myself, he also distracts me in class by saying really ridiculous and funny things.
Do I comment on the creativity and wisdom of my classroom peers who have improved my writing as a whole? While that would be true, also very vague, considering most of the work done in this class was solo, and I could only rely on small comments shared on workshop days.
What about my intelligent English teacher who taught me valuable lessons in writing, along with speaking-presenting skills? I can confidently say that he’s taught me ideas and lessons that I will execute for the rest of my life. But there’s something more. Something that has undoubtedly had the most impact on me and my time spent in this class.
I scan the class one last time, eyeing my teacher's desk placed perfectly in the center of the room, before spotting it. The sight I knew all too well. Not exactly a human, but a human of the past. Someone I admire and look up to, or rather, look down upon every time I take my seat in class. A figure that stands in the same position, showing the same face and telling the same tale every yearning day.
That's right, when I think of who has inspired me the most, the first thing that pops into my head is the head of Julius Caesar himself, propped up perfectly on the right side of Mr Pruitt’s desk. Its leaning frame casts a shadow of doubt and sorrow, but his background proves the opposite. His brave courage, and remarkable wit, certify his place as the past ruler of Rome.
Julius Caesar's confidence in ruling and protecting inspires me to write diligently and speak with assertiveness. I continue to use his guidance in my own actions. Like the time I presented my horror story in class. I was terrified because I hadn’t even finished the story. How was I going to tell a story that had no ending? When it was my turn, I took a stand and one final breath before making my way to the front. I started reading, and inspiration took a factor as the words left my mouth. I got to the stop point on the paper, but my talking continued. I made out the story as it came to me and kept going till I felt I had a strong ending. Now I might be biased when I say I killed it, but the rest of the class agreed with their loud applause, so I couldn’t have been too off.
Julius Caesar taught me to aim for the highest potential and strive for past accomplishments. As for the multiple pencils in his back, symbolizing the knives injected into him in a pit of revenge, well, that’s an act of heroism. We’ve all been there, stabbed in the back by someone we called a friend. Betrayed by the ones we loved most. High school might be a lot different than the Roman Empire, but the amount of times you get stabbed in the back is awfully similar. His life may have been taken 23 times in a row, but I can’t keep count of how many times it felt like my life would be over during high school.
Looking back now, the things that destroyed me weren’t as bad as I remember them being, but it’s the growth that counts, right? His story motivates me to be brave and take charge in times of hardship while also exploring my inner talents of writing with confidence.
So yes, while there are many people in this class that have inspired me and influenced me, good and bad (mainly good), nothing compares to the noble trophy placed on the corner of my teacher's desk, just in sight for viewing, and providing extra pencils of course. I continue to admire his strong honor and use it to drive my own writing.
Meet Shannon Chenault
Shannon Chenault is an aspiring author and poet looking for greater heights in not only her work but her publishing career as well. She hopes to one day inspire other women to reach their fullest potential emotionally and physically. Shannon will be graduating from Holt High School this year and can’t wait to see where her future will take her.
She wants to be an elementary school teacher someday to show younger kids how to write their hearts out the way she did for so many years. Her dream life consists of a loving husband, an adopted child, some kids of her own, and two Pitbulls to protect them and provide warm cuddles, of course.
Connect with Shannon here: Instagram: Shannon.Chenault
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