Breaking News: Perseverance

Author: Tudor Soncodi

Perseverance: Fact or Fiction?

What is Perseverance? Is it facing adversity and overcoming obstacles? Perseverance is having the strength and willpower to achieve something with the odds stacked against you. However, strength and willpower are not traits discovered by nightfall. Through determination and one’s desire to achieve greatness, strength and willpower will be developed. There are many examples of this topic, but here are just a few of the outstanding and courageous people who have never yielded and triumphed.

Nazi Regime: WWII

Europe was under siege; the country had reached a point of no return. For 12 year-old Yanek Gruener his life was changing right in front of his eyes. As a Jew in Poland his family and his life were in danger. The Nazis advanced to his home in Krakow and sealed off the entire town, making it a ghetto. This was only the first step in the major event known as the Holocaust. Yanek grew older the problem only became worse. At age 13 Yanek's parents were abducted by the Nazis and taken to a concentration camp, never to be seen again. Soon after, Yanek was captured and taken to the first of ten concentration camps he will visit. Enduring the hardships and back-breaking work of the camps, Yanek vowed to never give up and survive at all costs. After six years in ten different camps, all of which were never better than the last, Yanek was found by the Allies and rescued, along with everyone in the current camp he was in. The Allies eventually ended the war and the Holocaust, saving tons of prisoners persecuted by the Nazi Regime. However, Yanek's place in Poland had ended, regardless of the Allied liberation of the country. A couple of years later, Yanek boarded a train on his way to a dock and the ship that would take him to his new home in America.
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1936 World Olympics

It was the year, 1936, the Olympic village was a breathtaking sight for Louie Zamperini and the other foreign competitors. As the runners were getting ready for the 5,000 meter race, the crowd was going wild, filling the Olympic stadium with the noise of a thousand human voices. Louie however, was not as rowdy as the spectators; he was very nervous, especially since he gained an extra 12 pounds on the boat. When it was time to race, his excitement turned into adrenaline. POW! The race was on and the runners from Finland took the rear with another American runner from Indiana, Flash, ahead of them. Louie was beginning to accelerate forward when the smell of a slick haired runner ahead of him made Louie nauseous. About to vomit, Louie slowed down and went to end of the line of runners. Soon the Fins caught up to Flash and roughed him up, taking the lead and eventually winning the race. However, Louie was still in 12th place and he needed to catch up with the group, but the pomaded runner ahead of him was making Louie feel heavy and upsetting his stomach. Knowing the race will be over soon if he didn't do anything now, he gathered up the energy he still had left and began passing other runners on his way to the finish line. When he neared the foul smelling runner, he sucked in some air and began passing him. Soon he went ahead, progressively getting faster and faster and faster until, with one last blast of willpower, he crossed the finish line with record speed. The crowd cheered and shouted widely, no longer were they focused on the Finland runners who won the race, but on Louie Zamperini, who finished the race in only 56 seconds! Louie couldn't have been more amazed by his performance.
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Venn Diagram on Adversity: Louie and Yanek

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San José Copper Mine, Chile

On August 5, 2010, a mine in the Atacama desert of Chile caved in, with 33 miners trying to earn a living inside. At first no one suspected anything could happen to the San José mine, and for 17 days no word of them reached the surface. Their families all rushed to the mine and prayed their loved ones would all return safely. Soon a makeshift camp was constructed and people poured into the desert. A call for help was issued and soon many people with drills big and small came to the aid of the miners and their families above. However, about 2,000 ft below the surface, the miners have taken shelter in a safe part of the mine. The reason these miners were able to persevere was because of their leader Luis Urzua. Under his leadership the crew rationed their food until a drill was able to break into the mine with a tiny hole, only big enough for tiny capsules of food, water, and medicine. No one ever thought of turning on the group with Luis inspiring them to survive until they were rescued. However, the problem was not how the drill would reach the miners, it's how the miners would get up the mine to the surface. Finally on October 13, 2010, four days after the Center Rock drill reached the miners with a hole wide enough for a person, a solution was found. A specially designed capsule just wide enough for the hole would bring each miner up 2,000 ft. to the surface. One by one the miners went up the mine with hundreds of people, along with their family members cheering. When the capsule went down to get the last miner everyone knew who it was. Luis Urzua emerged from them mine with everyone cheering wildly. Everyone thanked Luis and he returned the favor, for it was not just him, it took all 33 miners to work together in order to achieve success and to survive underground.
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Fishbone Diagram on Adversity: Chilean Miners

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Perseverance: Explained

What we can learn from these remarkable people is simple: Persevere. However, it's not just about perseverance, it's about courage, determination, selflessness, creativity, etc.

These people are special, not because of what happened to them, but because they stood up and did something about it. Adversity caught up with them, but not once did Louie, Yanek, Luis and his crew, give up and yield. They knew they would succeed and they persevered. Anyone can do the same, because at the end of the day, does it matter how you started, or how you finished?

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