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This I Believe

As of the 2012-13 school year, the "This I Believe" project is no longer active at Guilderland High School. However, we invite to take a look at--or should we say, listen to--some exceptional submissions from previous school years!

About the project

In the 1950’s Edward R. Murrow hosted a radio series called This I Believe. Its purpose, revived in recent years by National Public Radio, was to share essays that describe the core values that guide writers' daily lives. The Guilderland High School English department is proud to present its own collection of This I Believe essays. Here you will find a wide variety of students’ voices that express deeply held beliefs.

Click on any episode below to read the full text of the essay, as well as to hear a recording of the author reading his/her own work.

2011-12 school year


Episode eighteen: Living Every Day to the Fullest by Brian Crupi

Brian Crupi   I believe in living every day to the fullest because you never know which one will be your last. Eddie Stanley had been a teammate and friend of mine for the two years we played on the Albany City Rocks together. Eddie was an outstanding player who most thought was the best one on our team. Our 2011 season came to an end with a tournament in the Bronx. Our coach dropped off Eddie at what he was told was a cousins house. Read more


Episode seventeen: Racism in the World by Preston Butler

Preston Butler   I believe that there should be no racism in the world. There are many people that are accepting of people of different races. They respect the work that famous anti-racists fought for, so that people of color could live equal to others. But there are also many people throughout the world that still have racism raging within their souls. These people make life more difficult then it needs to be. Read more


Episode sixteen: Love at First Sight by Rebekah Wolanski

   I believe in love at first sight. Not the conventional form of lovey-dovey love, with a couple holding hands and gazing into each other’s eyes, thinking they are the only two human beings on the planet in that given moment. How can I believe in something I haven’t experienced yet? If I could I would, but I’m not talking about that kind of love. I’m talking about seeing your baby brother for the first time in your life and knowing there is nothing more innocently beautiful. That kind of love. Read more


Episode fifteen: Untitled by Iyal Basen

Iyal Basen   At my aunt’s funeral two years ago, I was overcome by sadness. This was something that I had never felt before. From that day on I learned that one has to appreciate everything he has because one never knows, when he will lose it. Before that day I had never realized that my aunt and I had this unique relationship, different from that of her sisters, her children, and her estranged husband. Read more


Episode fourteen: Gaining Independence by Lisa Dobrowolsky

Lisa Dobrowolsky   I believe that people should have the ability to be independent. This is a necessary life skill that seems to have gotten lost as time progresses. More and more, people have other things to constantly rely on, so that they are not able to get things done themselves. Things like being able to ask someone else to do all your homework questions that you’re too lazy to do, or now, even asking your iPhone questions can show... Read more


Episode thirteen: Blame Leads to Failure by Maggie Lawler

Maggie Lawler   This past fall I played for the freshman girl’s soccer team at my high school. We had so much fun everyday at practice and loved spending time with each other. When you are on a team you have to work together and become a family. As everyone knows families fight and blame each other, but blaming is what can tear people apart and really hurt people. Our team learned this the hard way. Read more


Episode twelve: Memories From The Back Of His Motorcycle by Jordan Shultes

Jordan Shultes   When my parents got a divorce and my father moved out, I was about four. I was really upset like any girl would be. His leaving is the saddest memory I have of him. My father always promised me things and would never keep his promises. The only promise I can remember him keeping is when he said when I was old enough he would take me on his motorcycle. That was probably the happiest a ten year old girl could be. Read more


Episode eleven: The Asian Connection by Alicia Chen

Alicia Chen   My parents are American citizens. However, they often say things like “Americans are so fat” when we go to a buffet, or “Americans eat too many sweet foods” when they take a sip of soda with a grimace, and “Americans are dumb because they’re too lazy and use calculators all the time” when I ask my dad what 219 divided by 9 is. This might be a bit ethnocentric, but it’s true that we’re a bit different from “Americans”. Read more


2010-11 school year


Episode ten: Yes I Can by Paul Gallione

   I believe that anything is possible. If your mind is set on one single goal, you can achieve it, no matter what anyone says. I’ve accomplished so many things that I’ve wanted to do even when I’ve had people say that it’s impossible. I have a disorder where my left arm is smaller than my right. I have little use of my arm. People are shocked to see the things I can do. I’ve had people say, “You can’t do that because of your arm.” When I hear people say that, I don’t get angry. I show them I can do it. Read more


Episode nine: Importance of Life by Jung Park

Jung Park   I had reason to doubt my mother. I was like any normal teenager, hanging out with my friends, studying right before the test and wanting to sleep longer in the morning. All those things were part of my daily routine. There weren’t really any “big” events in my life, but I realize now that those things were the most special memories in my life. Little things stay in my mind forever, especially after I experienced hardship. Read more


2009-10 school year


  Episode eight: Anger is Not an Emotion Worth Keeping by Steve Bellegarde

Steve Bellegarde   You can feel it burning in your chest the rage infects your entire body. Your heart beats twice as fast and you feel as if your blood is boiling. This is anger. And I believe that it is not an emotion worth holding on to. When it starts you may enjoy it but like any drug, it has dark side effects.  Read more



Episode seven: This I Believe by Aimee Denn

Aimee Denn   My parents are both devout Roman Catholics. My grandparents were devout Catholics, and so were their parents. In fact my entire family was raised as Catholics. For me, I’m not so sure. I must admit that I struggle with my faith. In fact, what really is faith? Earlier this year I had an opportunity to be confirmed into the Catholic Church. Confirmation is a sacrament that Catholics receive when they reach a certain age that signifies being considered an adult in the Church. Read more


Episode six: This I Believe by Jasmine Day

Jasmine Day   Brown skin the dominant gene/Light and dark faces, some looking mean/Minority is the race that lacks numbers/Which has left me quite a few things to wonder/I have been left to ponder many thoughts/Force never needed in battles I’ve fought/Fists can hurt. But words cut deeper/I keep looking forward because I am a dream seeker/I have been misunderstood/If only they were able to see that then maybe they would, they could, they should/Treat me always like I deserve. Read more


Episode five: I Believe There is No Finish Line by Colleen Ottalagano

Colleen Ottalagano   When mom died it seemed unnatural to sit in a gigantic church surrounded by strangers with foreign smells whirling about our heads. Unnatural to hear the faint cries echo in the silence. It was impossible to understand in that moment that her life had been cut so short. Even after months that turned into years of battle, it just couldn’t be real that she hadn’t triumphed. Read more


Episode four: The Shades of Her Aura By Anna Jacquinot

Anna Jacquinot   As she brushes the dust off the faded gold picture frame, she notices that she is smiling in the photograph in front of her. Lifting it up to take a closer look, she sees that the girl and woman both radiate some kind of glow about them, and it emanates an invisible golden aura around their figures. She stares into the dark eyes of her rosy round face and notices that they sparkle, even in a picture. She runs her finger over that woman’s face next to her own, wondering what she has done to make her smile so bright. Read more


Episode three: Raking Leaves, Miracles, and Hope By Caroline Grondahl

Caroline Grondahl   I’m sure you have heard the saying: miracles happen. It is a saying that I never quite believed in before. Maybe it was because I never took the time to look for the little miracles in life. Or maybe it was because nothing had ever happened to me that required a miracle. Either way, I was never a firm believer in miracles. During the past three weeks, I have changed my mind. Read more


Episode two: Calvin and Hobbes by Bram Peterson

Bram Peterson   When I first picked up a Calvin and Hobbes comic book in fifth grade, I was just bored after school and looking for something to do. I had never read Bill Watterson’s comic strip in my life and didn’t even know what the comic was about. Five years later, I have read every single Calvin and Hobbes comic strip at least twice, and I own nine different books of Calvin and Hobbes collections. It is more than just a comic strip to me; it is a basis for many ideas that are important in my life. Read more


Episode one: My Immortal by Kali Cavanaugh

Kali Cavanaugh   “There is always some madness in love, but there is always some reason in madness.”
I suppose love has the power to be nothing more than the silent saying of someone’s name under your breath. For me, love is spending a week at my family camp on Saranac Lake.
Read more