This I Believe

This I Believe

Sample Essays 

All essays, photos and descriptions come from the This I Believe website.


Sarah Adams

Be Cool to the Pizza Dude

“We know them. We depend on them. We call them out on cold, rainy nights. Now, college professor Sarah Adams tells us why her life philosophy is built around being cool to the pizza delivery dude.” You can read the text of the speech here.



Muhammad Ali

I Am Still the Greatest

“To be ‘The Greatest of All Time,’ boxing legend Muhammad Ali said you have to believe in yourself. It’s something Ali’s parents taught him as a child, and it’s helped him through the biggest challenge of his life: fighting Parkinson’s disease.” You can read the text of the speech here.



Tony Hawk

Do What You Love

“Tony Hawk has turned what many consider a childhood activity into a professional career. Now for Hawk, skateboarding is not only a job, it’s a means of expression and a foundation for personal belief.” You can read the text of the speech here.



Alaa El-Saad

America’s Beauty Is In Its Diversity

“Fifteen-year-old Alaa El-Saad is a student at John B. Connally High School in Austin, Texas. She hopes to study medicine and become a pediatrician. El-Saad says she wants to help children learn to embrace their differences and accept who they are.” You can read the text of the speech here. 



Brighton Earley

Finding the Flexibility to Survive

“Brighton Earley’s mom shops at a gas station because she can no longer afford to buy food at a regular grocery. At first Earley was ashamed to go on these shopping trips, but now the Los Angeles student believes they’ve taught her a valuable lesson.” You can read the text of the speech here.



Josh Stein

The Triumph of Kindness

“Josh Stein believes that when people come together, it’s a beautiful thing. He’s seen it happen on the Little League field, in a most unexpected way.” You can read the text of the speech here.



The Real Me

Katherine Bowman

“Katherine Bowman is one high school student with much more on her mind than impressing people with her well made-up face. She believes that hiding your true self can do more harm than good. You can read the text of the speech here.



Kamaal Majeed

Being Content with Myself

“Massachusetts teenager Kamaal Majeed believes being content with himself and defining his own life are more important than adhering to any racial stereotypes that his peers may try to force upon him.” You can read the text of the speech here.



We’re All Different in Our Own Ways

Joshua Yuchasz

“By all outward appearances, Joshua Yuchasz is a regular teenager. But his classmates still tease him about the thing that makes him different. Yuchasz believes it’s our differences that deserve respect.” You can read the text of the speech here.



Delia Motavalli

Find a Good Frog

“Delia Motavalli has grown up watching movies about fairy tales and princesses. But after she received a piece of advice from her mother, Delia has come to realize her own definition of ‘happily ever after.’” You can read the text of the speech here.



Ying Ying Yu

A Duty to Family, Heritage, and Country

“Ying Ying Yu has a maturity beyond her years. The 13-year old immigrant from China believes she has a duty to honor the sacrifices made by her parents, her ancestors, her teachers and her homeland.” You can read the text of the speech here.



Sufiya Abdur-Rahman

Black Is Beautiful

“What’s in a name? For writer and teacher Sufiya Abdur-Rahman it’s key to her identity as the proud daughter of Muslim parents. Like the 1960s movement, Abdur-Rahman believes black is beautiful and not a condition she should have to rise above.” (Note: This essay was recorded in 2008, so it predates a lot of changes, such as the Black Lives Matter movement.) You can read the text of the speech here.



Amelia Baxter-Stolzfus

Returning to What’s Natural

“High school student Amelia Baxter-Stoltzfus believes in the freedom offered by semi-permanent hair dye. As much as she likes trying a new look, Baxter-Stolzfus knows there are some things worth coming back to, no matter how much her life may change.” You can read the text of the speech here.



Alexxandra Shuman

The Essentials to Happiness

“When Alexxandra Shuman was in eighth grade, she was diagnosed with clinical depression. But it took more than medication for her to feel happy again. Ms. Shuman believes she has to look in the right places in order to find happiness.” You can read the text of the speech here.



Lex Urban

Finding Out What’s Under Second Base

“Sports teaches us many useful lessons: how to be a team player, how to handle defeat, and how excellence comes with practice. Lex Urban learned a different lesson on his Little League ballfield–one he’s carried with him to this day as an attorney.” You can read the text of the speech here.



Corey Ratsch

Trans-cendent

Corey Ratsch, a high school senior in Illinois, talks about his experience of realizing he is transgender and his belief in rights for members of the LGBT community. Hear the audio and read the text of his essay here