You Are Smart Enough

Mr. Luttrell, Mr. Rutherford, and all others who may see this,
I am writing with the purpose of inspiring other teenagers and people of all ages who may have been told that they were not good enough. I guess I should start with the fact that I am 18 years old. I grew up in a small town in Ohio. I play sports and have played since I could walk. When I was about 12 years old I lost my grandfather to a vicious fight with Mesothelioma cancer. One day after that horrible day for me, I made the decision that I was going to serve my country. I was excited and told a lot of people in my school. I was laughed at. “You’re never going to make it” “you’re weak”. That lit a fire inside of me. I started to workout everyday. I walked into a recruiter’s office before the beginning of my eighth grade year asking if I could join. Of course, I was turned down only being about 13 years old. They did allow me to begin attending physical training sessions on Tuesday and Thursday and that was the beginning of my journey in the military. I began doing pull-ups and running the fastest out of everybody in our physical training group “our pool”. My first two years of high school went by quite the same, I kept getting stronger. In the middle of my sophomore year, my teacher, Mr.Scott, was diagnosed with testicular cancer that had spread through his lungs and back. He was given a slight chance to live and he was only in his young twenties. He fought and at one point was paralyzed from his waist down. Eventually, he was declared cancer free. My friend and I, being only 15, looked at a way we could help him pay his medical bills. We came across the Ving project that allowed teenagers to present someone with $1000 who had overcome a huge obstacle. We filled out the application and submitted multiple videos and forms to get him the money and presented the check at a basketball game at our high school. As my junior year came around, I lost my aunt to diabetes and I became down and out. My motivation was struggling. I knew that staying down was not going to help me, I had to stand back up. I applied for a program called the Marine Corps Summer Leadership and Character Development Academy. I needed to get letters of recommendation and it was highly selective. I was laughed at, saying I was not good enough. I was told I was never going to make it. I pushed myself though, I maintained a 4.0 through high school and during my sophomore year I was selected. I loved the program and the picture included is meeting the Medal of Honor recipient Harvey Barnum at that program. In February of my Junior year I was caught in a situation with a family member. He was armed, dangerous and not in a sane state of mind. I fought and kept the course. The altercation ended safely and I was recognized for my bravery from my local deputy sheriff. I continued to push myself through my junior year and applied for one of the most prestigious programs in the country. The Semper Fidelis All American Program. Once again, I had the comments, “you’ve just been getting lucky” “you’re a loser” “nerd”. I picked myself up and pushed forward. Eventually, I was selected with 98 others as a Semper Fidelis All American. I attended the Battles Won Academy in Washington DC in the summer of 2017. Now, I am enlisted in the Marine Corps and I am accepted into the Air Force Academy. I am also hoping for offers of appointment to the Naval Academy and to West Point. I was nominated for every single service Academy from my congressman which is almost unheard of. So to those people who doubted me and said I was t smart enough, I am and I have proved it. I am writing to tell people that no matter what people may say, you can do something. As long as you put your mind to it, anything is possible. The only opinion that matters is your own and no one can take that from you, just remember that. Also Mr. Luttrell, Mr.Rutherford and whoever else that may read this, please don’t forget that there are still a few in our generation that are willing to take a stand. There are also still a few of us with the upmost respect for our seniors and superiors. So please ladies and gentleman, don’t lose faith in this next generation.

McKenzie Mercer

Author: McKenzie