“In honor of Danielle” (posted by Danielle's Dad)
“In honor of Danielle”
College entrance letter-2006
Describe a person or experience that has had a significant effect on your life.
February twentieth, two-thousand and six, is a day that will remain engrained in my memory for the rest of my life. My mom, my brother and I were on our way to see a movie when we received a phone call from my dad. All I could hear were jostled words in the midst of deep sobs. In short breaths my mom told us that a close family friends’ daughter, Danielle had been in a fatal car accident. She was only 11 years old. Following the shocking news, we all sat in silence, too stunned to speak.
Although the next few days were filled with heartache and sorrow, all of my emotions reached a climax at the wake. When I arrived at the funeral parlor, I was ushered into a room filled with flowers and boards commemorating the life of Danielle. I struggled to hold myself together as I looked at the pictures of the little girl who had once been so full of life. As I waited in line to get a last look at what used to be my Danielle, I swallowed hard to hold back the tears. I held strong until I reached the coffin. It was then that the reality sank in, Danielle, whose life had never even truly begun, was really gone forever. At that moment I was changed. Looking at her lifeless face, I decided my new motto would be, “Do it in honor of Danielle”.
Since my freshman year in high school, I had always strived for high academic achievement. I was always in the top percentile of my class and was noted for having high honors in the local paper. I was told by my parents, guidance counselors and teachers, that in order to succeed in life, high academic achievement was important. So I continually worked hard and did well; however, I never felt it was for me. Danielle’s passing gave me the incentive to succeed for my own sake. When Danielle passed away, it occurred to me that she will never have toe opportunities I have presented before me everyday. She will never be able to attend high school, participate in activities, plan for the future, or simply live. It is Danielle’s death that motivates me every day to keep going and stay strong. I now have the personal rive to accomplish for myself, the things she never will. With Danielle in my memory, anytime I feel the pressure of my vigorous academic schedule, I remind myself that Danielle would give anything to be in my shoes, and I am able to maintain a positive mindset.
Danielle’s death has also made me aware of the needs of others less fortunate than I am. Seeing and experiencing the effects of Danielle’s death on the people who cared for her most, gave me the desire to reach out to others. Since the death of Danielle, each week I volunteer at my local church, taking care of children while their parents attend mass. In addition, I volunteer as a lectern and read passages every weekend at mass. Those ten to fifteen minutes at the podium each week are my service to Danielle. It is her passing that gives me the incentive to reach out.
Overall, the death of eleven-year-old Danielle has made me a stronger and more confident individual. Now more than ever, as I apply to college, I continue to keep Danielle in my memory. I will continue to study and to live life for Danielle, as well as for myself. In short, when I’ve grown in to a responsible and successful adult, I hope to be able to say that I’ve made her proud. Then I could truly look back and say, “I did it in honor of Danielle”.
Kaitlyn Rossitto Close