Katie Gibson does not dream small.
The Brookfield High School sophomore wants to attend the U.S. Air Force Academy and become a flight nurse. She knows she has her work cut out for her to achieve that goal, but also knows that she won’t attain it if she doesn’t try for it.
“The qualifications, high standards, and an exceptional record are a few of many reasons why the academy is almost impossible to attend, with the low acceptance rate of only 11.1 percent,” Katie wrote in an essay submitted to the Optimist International Essay Contest, locally sponsored by the Brookfield Optimist Club.
“If I was a pessimistic person, I would say the rate is too low, the qualifications are too challenging, and I could never attend this school,” Katie continued. “However, I am an optimistic person who is willing to work as hard as possible to reach my ultimate goal.”
Katie was the first-place winner of the essay contest, which earned her a medallion and $100, said James E. Hoffman III, club chairman of the contest. Her essay will be sent onto a state-level competition.
Maddie Thomas earned second place, and Kylie Jennings took third, Hoffman said.
Brookfield High School teacher Jennifer Laury coordinates the contest within the school.
The contest’s theme was “Reaching Your Dreams by Choosing Optimism.”
Katie said she was surprised to have won first place.
“I put a lot of thought into it, but I’ve never been a strong writer,” she said. “I just really think me sitting down and saying, ‘Hey, this I my dream,’ really helped me and pushed that essay even further.”
Katie said she has wanted to enter the military for some time.
“I’ve always really respected people in the military, and I’ve had family members who had served inspire me,” she said.
Her interest in nursing comes from a desire to help people, she said.
To be accepted into the Air Force Academy, she will have to be nominated by a congressman, and be a top student and one that performs community service and is involved in many activities. Katie plays softball, basketball and soccer – and has run track in the past – is a member of SADD, student council and the Interact Club, and volunteers at her church.
“I just really like to do everything,” she said.
“I feel as if I’m close, but not close enough,” she said of how her pursuit of her dream is progressing. “If I keep my grades up – I have a 4.0 right now – if I continue to keep that up and take, like, AP classes senior year, if I continue to be involved in sports and I’m dead set on my dream, I feel like I could actually achieve it.”
Katie encouraged other students to participate in the annual essay contest.
“Not only is it just another essay to write to help you with your writing skills, it really makes you think about what you really want to do about your future,” she said. “If you’re sitting and just writing about your dream, you really think, ‘Do I want to do this?’ or, ‘Maybe, another path will be better for me.’”
Katie Gibson’s essay:
Achieving Your Dreams by Choosing Optimism
Choosing optimism is imperative to living a happy, fortunate life. Optimism is defined as “hopefulness and confidence about the future or the outcome of something”(Oxford Languages). Although the future is unknown, we (optimists) must think of good things to come. Those who doubted themselves were likely unsuccessful in their future and at achieving their dreams. These were the ones who said “I can’t do that” or “maybe I’m not smart enough.” On the other hand, the truly optimistic people were the ones who told themselves they could do anything if they worked hard enough. The way someone thinks can be the difference between living a successful dream and watching someone else live the dream you were supposed to have.
I would much rather live an optimistic life rather than a pessimistic one. Viewing the world as “a glass half empty” is an example of a pessimistic person. My life would be unhappy and doubtful if I chose to live my life this way, thinking something unfortunate would happen to me every time I walk out the door, rather than living my life optimistically, expecting fortunate and great things to come in the future.
My dream is an unlikely path to follow. Most of my classmates want to attend an average four-year university and graduate with a degree in business, engineering, communications, etc, but, my dream is above average and much more difficult to achieve. Attending the United States Air Force Academy to become a flight nurse is my ultimate goal. A flight nurse cares for cadets and military personnel upon aircraft carriers. Attending the Air Force Academy would allow me to achieve a four-year degree while serving my country. The qualifications, high standards, and an exceptional record are a few of many reasons why the academy is almost impossible to attend, with the low acceptance rate of only 11.1 percent. If I was a pessimistic person, I would say the rate is too low, the qualifications are too challenging, and I could never attend this school. However, I am an optimistic person who is willing to work as hard as possible to reach my ultimate goal. I must keep a 4.0 GPA throughout my high school career. Playing sports will also show my hard work, dedication, leadership, and good sportsmanship, which is imperative to being an Air Force Cadet. My hours of volunteering will also be helpful in my future in the United States military. The ultimate key to achieving my dream is choosing optimism. Letting doubt and fear take over my thoughts will not be helpful in my future. I will be unsuccessful in getting accepted into the USAFA and unsuccessful in life in general, which is why it’s so important to choose an optimistic lifestyle.
My dream of attending the United States Air Force Academy is certain, but my future after that is unknown. After graduation and months of extra training, I will be a certified RN. I can later use my certification to work in any hospital or emergency facility. Getting the chance to help civilians after helping cadets will be another stepping stone on my stones of life. It would be the greatest honor I could ever achieve. If I choose not to become an RN after serving in the United States Air Force, I will use early retirement as an advantage. At this point, I would like to use one of my hobbies as my next job; opening a bakery would be another dream I’d want to achieve. All of these dreams and plans after graduation would simply not be possible without optimism. Becoming a nurse is theoretically impossible if you choose to be pessimistic. You absolutely cannot think the worst is going to happen with every patient. You will doubt yourself and so will the patient. This can lead to further complications that may impact the patient’s life, your life, and your job.
Choosing optimism is key to living a full and happy life. Without optimism, your life may be filled with doubt and uncertainty. I choose to live my life with optimism and use it to achieve my dreams. If you live your life expecting great things to happen, you will be a more successful person and have a more successful future. My dreams will simply not be possible without choosing optimism.