Cassius Clay

Common App Question 1- Evaluate a signigicant experience, achievement, risk you have taken, or ethical delemma you have faced and its impact upon you.

"Cassius Clay," my father declared, "KO'ed Moore in four. I was there. Ringside." Annoyed at hearing the thousandth incarnation of this story, I rolled my eyes. My father loved telling stories. If you let him, he would talk you up all night. "Muhammad," he would say "really was the greatest. Woulda beat Smokin' Joe too, if Frazier hadn't knocked him down in the 15th." Friends, family, my teachers, the librarian, the mail carrier-anyone within earshot suffered the fate of listening to my father's elaborate stories. At best, I found these stories sufferable; at worst, simply unbearable. I came to understand later that my father's stories were a small fraction of his larger than life personality. No one could mistake his six-foot frame, his slicked pepper gray hair or his tortoise-shell Ray-Bans complete with Croakies. With pockets ever-full of Lifesaver mints, my father was a real character-which made it that much harder to do him justice when I spoke at his funeral.

I am no stranger to public speaking. As Debate President and Student Council President, I regularly address large audiences. However, the speech I most wanted to be remembered by did not involve approving...

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