BLACK RIVER

GPA: 4.103

COLLEGE: Ohio State University

Once upon a time, there lived a boy in a rural community. This boy had a rather large shadow, so big that a sibling could easily hide in it. I was the sibling in the shadow, and my older brother was casting it.

Ever since I can remember, my brother John was the first for everything: he learned to walk first, learned to talk first, learned to write first and learned to drive first. When he accomplished amazing things, everyone was genuinely surprised and excited. John was the model student-athlete, musician and computer genius. He was the valedictorian of his high school class, a regional qualifier in cross country, first chair of the high school trumpet section and owned his own miniature computer business.

When the next brother, Tom, accomplished similar feats, the responses were less energetic. There had already been a successful individual before him; I was only his successor. My entire school career has been dedicated to bringing light to that shadow that I was so used to being a part of.

Like John, I am a successful athlete, running not only track and field and cross country, but also playing basketball. Like my brother, I, too, am valedictorian, and the first chair of the high school percussion section. I strive to set myself apart by participating in numerous volunteer opportunities, and by conducting myself in the most responsible and respectable ways.

When John graduated, I found myself in a precarious position. For the first time in my life, the surrounding people in our lives began to recognize me as an individual, not as “John’s brother.” For the first time, people asked me what my aspirations were before they asked how my brother was doing in college. This was a very empowering feeling, one that bred great confidence in my daily life.

However, in retrospect, I realize that having a competitive older brother has pushed me to exceptionally great limits, and for this, I am forever grateful to him. As I look back on my high school career, he truly inspired me to accomplish amazing things, and I only hope to have the same effect on my younger brother, Mark.