One month ago blogger and guidance advisor Ian Ybarra wrote about one of his students, Jessica Pierce, who died while trying to save some other friends from drowning in Costa Rica.
In the entry, Ybarra talks about how he had presented an opportunity to the high school is was at to go to Economics for Leaders, a leadership camp that included economics knowledge. Even though it was a very simple application process, Jessica was the only one who went up to Ybarra and said “Yes, I’m interested”. Another girl had applied without telling him, but Jessica showed initiative in asking for help (especially for endorsement letters, which were required) and guidance.
The rest of the entry showed how Jessica stood out from her peers; she communicated her needs and received plenty of guidance on how to acheive her goals. Ybarra did try reaching out to the other students, but the other students never really communicated to him what he could help them with. Only Jessica took advantage of this connection and made the best of it.
The moral of Jessica’s story is best explained through a line from an essay Jessica had written (perhaps as an application essay):
We have all been given so many opportunities, and we need to make sure that we are doing everything that we can do to make the most of them.
Opportunities exist all around us. It is up to us to take these opportunities and make the best of them. It is when we take those opportunities that more will come to us; once one door is opened, the rest open wide too.
Ybarra asks that if you know a young person who’s putting off doing great things, tell them Jessica’s story. If you know parents who stifle their children out of fear of the unknown, tell them this story. Share this story with everyone who is hesitating on making the best move of their lives.