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I am an 83 year old grandmother, a mother of four. I climb fruit trees at this age. I wake up at 3 a.m., every day, to start my work. I fed five hungry mouths, now just one. I take no medication. I am strong.

I am an 84 year old grandfather. I am an airline mechanic. I work sixteen hours a day, drinking 12 cups of coffee to keep me present. But even that doesn’t help. I am a full scholarship to the Ivy League. I am a pregnancy test away from it. I work with my hands, but I will always be the smartest man in the room.

OK. So I’m not really a grandmother. Nor do I plan on becoming one, for I am a guy. However, I can’t help but point to my grandmother Ellie when analyzing the psychological reasons behind my actions. Besides swearing (she has the mouth of a sailor), above all else, my grandmother has shown me how to love unconditionally. My passion for volunteering both in Mexico and other locations, working with underprivileged children in Seattle, and recovering drug addicts in urban Boston stems from the love she has shown me. It would be selfish not to spread it to others.

During high school my mom often uttered the words many teenagers dream of hearing, “stop studying”. It’s not that I study all day, I do in fact live a very active life, I played 3 varsity sports in high school. Being my mother however, she possesses magical powers of knowing when I am caught up in something. She questioned my organizational skills since I would spend too long on my homework, I even was checked out for OCD. However, the reason why I spent many sleepless nights studying wasn’t’ because of my desire to attend a prestigious university, make millions, or become a House-like doctor. It comes from the admiration and experiences of my grandfather, who is the hardest working man I have ever met, seldom taking a day off or leaving a job uncompleted.

So why am I a sincere and spirited hard working adolescent? Because I have the greatest role models.

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