My Wall of Greats

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I was trying to think of three people who represented three qualities that I find important: tenacity, kindness/generosity, and hard-working. These are the three people who I think represent one or several of these qualities with short descriptions of why I believe they fit these qualities.


Clara "Mother" Hale (1905-1992)
Clara Hale lived most of her adult life in New York, particularly in Harlem and New York City, which during the 60s through 90s were impoverished. Her father died when she was very young, and her mother died when she was 16. Her husband died when she was 27. When her mother was alive, she worked multiple jobs but always made sure that she had time to be with her children, and worked tirelessly to do so. Hale would later claim that her mother's devotion to her children was her inspiration for her work with children.

She had worked as a domestic and house cleaner for a long while, up to age 64, when she then retired as a domestic and opened her house up to children who became addicted to drugs in the womb. Within months of doing so, she had started looking over 22 drug-addicted infants. Later in this career, she would expand to a bigger home and aid adults in overcoming their own addiction, and taking in children who were infected with HIV. Even when her age advanced into her 80s and 90s, she always kept at least one child in her bedroom when they slept, often the child who required the most attention and care.

She belongs on my Wall of Greats because her unending care and kindness and work to help people and children who had otherwise been ignored by society is truly inspiring to me. While I do not think that I will be doing the same work she had done, I want to have the same dedication to "public service" and helping others she had. It will be a skill I will need to work on, but I sincerely look up to Clara Hale as someone who I should strive to be. She was tenacious, caring and generous, and hard-working.


Nicolas Steno (1638-1686)
Nicolas Steno was a pioneer in many fields, including geology, anatomy, and paleontology. He conducted numerous dissections, one of which led to the discovery of a duct for a salivary gland in the heads of dogs, sheep, and rabbits. Another dissection (this time of a shark's head) led to the realization that "tongue stones" in Europe were actually fossilized shark teeth, as the "stones" bore a resemblance to shark's teeth. This refuted ancient authorities such as Pliny the Elder, who stated that these stones fell from the sky.

His work with geology also founded several laws of geology that are basic today, such as the law that states that layers below other layers were formed before the top layers, and the law that states that cuts, cracks, and other deformities in layers were created after the layer was formed rather than as the layer formed.

While I have less to say about Steno, his work is no less important than Hale's. While his scientific work stopped after becoming interested in theology, he had an unquenchable thirst for knowledge, and did not let older works or authorities stop him from his own discoveries and evidence. While I believe being inspired by the past is not a bad thing, Steno represents where the line ought to be drawn on the subject. His tireless work led to many discoveries and advancements in science and knowledge. He was tenacious and hard-working.


Malala Yousafzai (b. 1997)
Malala was born in northern Pakistan, where the Taliban had been (and is still) active in controlling and governing the area. Malala's experience with media began when she was relatively young. She wrote blogs for BBC Urdu and was in a New York Times documentary. In her blogs, she detailed her life under Taliban control. At this time, the Taliban had also banned women from attending school. The documentary also detailed her life in northern Pakistan. The documentary and the blogs rose her to prominence.

In 2012, Malala was attacked in an assassination attempt by the Taliban for her activism for women's rights, children's rights, and education rights. She was shot in the face, though fortunately she had not died. She was in critical condition, but her condition improved enough for her to be transferred to Birmingham, UK. Since then, she has based her activism in Birmingham, and has spoken in front of the UN, has received a shared Nobel Peace Prize (the other laureate was Kailash Satyarthi), started the Malala Fund (a non-profit organization that is most famous for supporting education for women), and started a school for young women aged 14-18 in Lebanon.

Malala is very inspirational. While her work has not completely eradicated the Taliban and stopped rules against women getting educated, her work has been great steps towards the end goal in allowing more people education. As a prospective teacher, her work for education really strikes a chord with me, because I also believe that quality education should be given to everyone. Her other goals towards women's rights and children's rights are also important, but education especially holds importance to me. Even at her young age, she has been able to shine light on these issues, inspire other young people like myself, and make steps towards providing education for women and children. She is tenacious, caring and generous, and hard-working.

I hope that by sharing these people and info about them with you guys that they get the attention I believe they deserve. Even though these people did not have as big of an affect on history as other people, such as George Washington, Josef Stalin, or Nelson Mandela, their impact on their communities and other aspects of life, such as science, education, and the lives of children and infants are still important because they are nevertheless still part of and influenced history and life, no matter how subtly.


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