This I Believe

Sophie - Houston, Texas
Entered on May 7, 2007
Age Group: Under 18

I am a high school cheerleader. I am 5’9, size 2, with long brown hair and a big white smile. Most of my friends drive Mercedes, BMW’s, and 07’ Mustangs. We are loud and giggly and enjoy watching America’s Next Top Model. I am a vegetarian, and I have been dating my college boyfriend for almost a year.

The preceding description, I will admit, definitely alludes to a stereotype. Most of the kids at my school see me as this because that is what is on the exterior. However, I doubt they are aware of the fact that I am in the top 5% academically at my school. I am in all Honors classes and I take much more pride in my schoolwork than I do in my physical appearance. My aspirations do not include becoming a college cheerleader or winning a Miss America pageant, but I do hope to attend an academically prominent college and one day join a prestigious law firm.

I think that stereotypes are useless; they do not by any means define a person, and I think that I am a perfect example of this. Very few people would expect a girl like me to be so studious and to have such strong values. Yes, I am a cheerleader. But I am also a member of the National Honor Society. I enjoy volunteering my time at the Special Olympics. I work hard and I have very few things handed to me. My family has been on and off of welfare since my father left when I was seven years old, and I am on the free lunch program at school. I do not believe that any of these circumstances define the person that I am. I am sure that if people knew I was poor, they would see me in a different light. This does not bother me because I enjoy upholding an image of being rich and spoiled, but because I am an independent young woman and my annual family income does not say anything about the person I am.

I believe in looking past skin color, clothing, IQ, sexual preference, and body type. I believe that you should follow your own path, and be true to your heart. I believe in being real, down to earth, and not caring what other people think.

I think cheerleading is fun, and I like my friends because they are funny and have spunk. I like working hard in school because it gives me a personal satisfaction to know that I am achieving my greatest potential. I believe that if you set your mind to something, you can achieve it, no matter how great the obstacle or how thorny the path. I believe that even though I am just one person, I can help the world to become a better place by being open minded, hard working, and unique. There is clearly more to the “typical” high school cheerleader than meets the eye.