Student Spotlight: This I Believe


Photo taken by Jacquelyn F.

At the beginning of first semester, sophomores were asked to write a speech based on the question “What do you believe in?” as an assignment for their English class. It was inspired by the original This I Believe radio series hosted by Edward R. Murrow in the 1950s and which is today a podcast at Because there are many things to consider when asked this, it can be a very tough question. However, as seen through all the entertaining and insightful speeches, the tenth grade class had no problem expressing their thoughts. The newspaper club was fortunate enough to hold a contest in which we had to choose the best speech from the top of each English class. Overall, it was a tough decision, but after much thought, we went with “The Belief in Beliefs” by Firaoli Gemeda. Firaoli was thrilled when he heard the news and said, “I never really expected [being chosen]. It was difficult to choose a belief, but eventually I came up with this idea and now I am very proud”.


Read about Firaoli’s belief here:

I believe in the power of beliefs. I believe that belief can give someone such a motivation, it’s the reason they get up every morning.

I believe that a belief is something one is passionate about and that they would do anything in honor of. This comes in a spectrum of variations. A belief can be as great as believing that a spiritual entity is the sole creator of all life and the universe to something as small as someone believing they have ten fingers. A belief can be what someone sees or what someone feels to be true.

As a child, I grew in a mixed background. My parents are from Ethiopia, one of the poorest countries in Africa. My mother is a Muslim, coming from her dad’s side, who is from the Middle East. My father is a strict Christian. All my life, I was constantly torn between a gravitational pull between the Mosque and the Church, each centering between a side of my family. I felt small and insignificant. I felt as though these two religions were more important than my existence and in what I had to offer or contribute to the world. Then my crazy uncle, who thinks of himself a philosopher, changed my life. When I was eleven, he came to me and told me, “You don’t need any god to follow. Follow what you feel is right and what is just. Believe in yourself.”

My uncle’s words stuck with me. He made me aware of how in control I am of my views on the world. So I thought for days. Who am I? What do I see when I look at life? Then I think of other people and their beliefs and what it does for them. Then I realize, I believe that there is belief. I was thinking too deeply about who I was that I didn’t realize the answer floated on the surface.

I believe in what I figured out then. I believe in the hope that belief generates. But generally, I believe in beliefs itself because it provides more things than hope alone. It provides motivation, routine, and conversation. It provides commonality and answers. It allows someone to live a life with content.

I believe in belief and what it provides, and how powerful the thought of that is. It gives meaning to others as well as meaning to me. I believe in belief and how people are affected by it. I may never know which belief is necessarily right, and which is wrong, but I sense its existence, and the power people give to it. I know that beliefs are there because people want them there, even if they do not acknowledge that. But this is just my opinion, my belief.