Today I’d like to introduce you to a new and promising voice. The following essay, written by Cassie Ferrara of New Jersey when she was twelve years old, shows the promise this young lady has in the literary field. The essay took First Prize that year.
A Promising Voice
D.A.R.E. Essay by Cassie Ferrara
Look at her! At her very first high school party, already smoking and drinking in the corner. It’s pathetic! We all know she’s doing that just to be cool, but I don’t care how “cool” drugs are. I am not, nor will ever be, that girl. Why, you might ask, would I shut myself out from some people’s idea of fun? Well, I owe it all to the Drug Abuse Resistance Education program. (Better known as D.A.R.E.) This year D.A.R.E. has taught me a lot, but the three main reasons I want to stay drug free are for my health, my family, and my life.
As I said before, I’m not going to forfeit my health for a life of smoking tobacco. There are over two hundred poisons in tobacco, and if you smoke, you are ingesting them straight into your body. When they’re rolled up in a cigarette, they don’t look very detrimental, but imagine it alone. A wad of black pulp that you willingly stuff in your mouth. Revolting, if you ask me, but there’s more. Imagine that when you pack the dark mush through your lips, your teeth are stained yellow and your breath becomes irreversibly awful. Then, as you breathe in, some shadowy liquid drips down your windpipe into your lungs that shrivel up like raisins. You suddenly start coughing and you can’t stop. Hack, hack…then you fall silent, you’re dead. Dead, just like the 403,000 others who just couldn’t hold back from that tobacco. Dead, all alone without a chance to change – it’s too late. Dead, and all you leave your family with is the horrible memory of what you’d done to yourself.
You may think drugs just hurt you, but you’re wrong. Your family takes a major burden too, and it’s all your fault. You’re a slave to the drug, and you’ll do anything to get your hands on it, even if you have to lie to your parents about where you are and break your little sister’s piggy bank in order to scrape up enough cash to go buy crack from a dealer on the street corner. That would be who you are; a thief, a liar. And just wait till the drug kills you and your family is responsible for leaving you to rest in peace. These thoughts had to have passed through their minds. “Do they even deserve my grief?” and “What did I do wrong to have them kill themself like this?” Doing drugs is like committing suicide, not directly killing yourself though, just letting the drug slowly drain the life out of you. But why waste a perfectly good life?
Life is a gift, a precious, priceless gift that would be a shame to throw away…and yet people do. And even if you don’t have the best situation at home, it doesn’t mean you should go and get high to take your mind off it. There are better things to do, like escaping into a good book or writing down your troubles on paper. Anyone can have a blissful life without drugs, so enjoy it. Live life to the fullest, get an education, and succeed.
So as you can now see, I refuse to do drugs because I care about my body, my relatives, and my success, but if you still don’t believe me, let me make this clear; I pledge to myself, to my family, to everyone else that matters to me that I will lead a life without drugs or violence. I will recognize the fact that life is not something to waste; it’s something to celebrate and appreciate. So to quote one of my most favorite people, “Celebrate life, because you never know when it will be taken away from you”.
What a wonderful, inspirational message from one so young! And so well written! Best of luck to Cassie Ferrara as she moves into her high school years.