The Rose that Grew From Concrete

Our third blog assignment is to watch this commercial.  Then please tell me about someone who you know or knew of that is a rose that grew from concrete.  This could be a relative, a role model, or just a friend.  Please don’t mention the person by name unless you get permission first.  This assignment must be a 10 – 15 sentence paragraph to get full credit.

This assignment is worth 10 points and is due Monday September 24th at 11:59 pm. The rubric for this assignment is found here. Remember please use only your first name and last initial and put what class you are in under your name.  As always I will accept a written version of this assignment.

You will receive 2 extra credit points for each post that you comment on. The most you can receive in extra credit is 6 points.

“Don’t ask me why…ask me how” – Tupac Shakur

I love you more than I love roses!!

Mrs. R

111 thoughts on “The Rose that Grew From Concrete

  1. Over the summer, I was granted the opportunity to fly to Houston, Texas on my mission trip to serve the homeless community in the city. One man I met at a shelter gave me his whole life story, just from simply asking how he was. This man grew up in a poorer part of Houston, where a lot of gang violence took place.When he was younger, he would ride his bike to get to school every morning, because his mother would leave too early in the morning to take him. One theme throughout his story was fear. He was in constant fear of being attacked while being in his neighborhood. He also had the responsibility of having to watch out for his younger sister. They would ride together every morning to each of their schools. He thought he had a close relationship with his sister, until one day he found out she had a pimp. She was being forced to sell/smoke drugs with him and being raped at the same time. Her brother didn’t find out about this until after she had been killed by her intoxicated “boyfriend”. This event had changed this man’s entire life. The fear in his life had completely consumed him. He wasn’t able to completely finish his high school experience and recieve a diploma. From then on, his mother had kicked him out of the house because he was too depressed and full of fear to obtain a steady job. He was forced to live on the streets. Everyday is a constant battle for this man, with fearful thoughts. When I met him, he was living under an underpass in downtown Houston. He lived in a weathered tent with little to no belongings with him. He was extremely grateful to receive the food we had been passing out and wanted me to know of the trials and tribulations he had gone through.

    • What a story…it truly is heart-wrenching and unsettling that any man had to suffer through such pain and suffering with his nothing-but-good intentions. I hope that you were able to give him hope for the future merely by your willingness to listen and your food.

    • Wow, reminds us not to judge those who live on the streets, we never know their story. I’m sure that was an eye-opening experience hearing such a tragic story, I’m so glad that you could bring him some happiness.

    • This is an amazing story and the fear that this man endures every of his life is hard to think about. It is incredible that he was able to get his high school diploma after receiving the news of his sister and I am sure he was grieving for a long period of time. I’m so glad you got to meet this man Abby and I’m sure his story will stay with you for the rest of your life.

    • This is a great story Abby! We never know how or why people end up on the streets and sometimes all they want to do is tell someone their story and it’s great you were there to her his. This really inspires me to go on a mission trip one day!

  2. She was completely lost and trapped in the identity that her parents established for her. I only saw her once a year, but because of our parent’s connection through college, we were family-friends for over 12 years. When sitting on a cold, hard rock at the family camp that brought us together annually, I listened with a frenzy of thoughts blurring through my mind as I heard her tell me about the process of emancipation. I didn’t understand -I couldn’t- given that my parents allowed me to blossom willingly in the beautiful garden they mended for me. A fourteen-year-old girl told me how she would, in a year, likely stand in the presence of a courtroom to plea for her freedom from the household that seemed to suffocate her. Forced to adopt the religious practices meticulously while living under their roof, she was struggling to love the God we both worshiped since we were little kids. Her actions of defiance were unavoidable: she did not believe in any God that subjected her to such treatment, she screamed and yelled at her parents, she ignored the limitations on her when grounded, and then she finally had enough of everything…and just ran away from home. I remember that day when we got an urgent phone call from her parents that asked to tell them if she contacted, and days passed until she was located in the guest room of her aunts home. As the commercial echoes, “These are my damaged pebbles”, and this was indeed true. She was lost in every aspect of her life, and full of spite, but what kept her alive was her music. She reached out to recording studios to rent spaces or equipment, looked for accompanists to aid her compositions, arranged photoshoots for her covers, and then she tweaked and wrote for hours. Her life may have been a mess, but a rose sprouted from the horrid circumstances and opened her up to her sole focus on music. So as I sit here at my desk, typing on my computer for this blog post, I listen to her very voice on Spotify in awe of how she thrived into a successful music producer from a ground of concrete.

    • Wow, this is such an inspirational story. It is truly incredible that she was strong enough to turn adversity into music, I’m glad that she found freedom in such an amazing form of expression.

  3. My father’s past is intense, but he is the most optimistic, and positive person that I know. My dad’s father was a politician in a small country in South Africa called Malawi, a dictator named Kamuzu Banda took over and oppressed the already suffering people. My grandfather resisted Banda and ended up in jail many times, my dad and his entire family’s heads were wanted. On the night that they fled, my grandma took my dad and his siblings on a boat, less than an hour before their house with all their belongings was burned down. In America, my dad faced even more oppression through racism. He was one of two African American students at his school in Pasadena and was frequently called the N word. He got into a lot of fist fights and spent a good amount of time in the principal office. A priest then took it upon himself to get my dad and his siblings into the best schools Pasadena could offer. My dad went to Flintridge and excelled academically, getting accepted into Stanford and USC, but chose to go to USC to stay close to home. It was around this time that more adversity occurred, my Uncle, the eldest of their family was showing signs of schizophrenia. My Dad would get calls and rush home to protect his mom, from the brother he had previously looked up to. This put a lot of strain on their family as nights were filled with violence and police sirens. My dad faced his own form of police brutality. As he was walking to by some food from McDonald’s, a swarm of police officers held him at gunpoint, and a helicopter circled his head. He layed on the ground thinking that it was over, until they all rushed away. Apparently, he looked like a suspect of murder, however, it seems that the main descriptive factors that caused this incorrect assumption was “black male, college age.” He could have easily been another name to the list of black men killed for the wrong reasons. Racism, oppression, and bigotry coincided with my father’s childhood, but that didn’t stop him from becoming the great man that I know today. Without the hand of God from the priest, or many other generous acts of kindness, he could have easily been a gang member, homeless, or killed. My dad started an aerobic program with his friend at a gym called the sport house in Westlake. This is where he met my mom. She introduced him to the church and all the holes in his life were filled, he learned to forgive and to love everyone, even those who may have hurt him in the past. He is definitely a rose grown from the pavements of oppression.

  4. My father’s past is intense, but he is the most optimistic, and positive person that I know. My dad’s father was a politician in a small country in South Africa called Malawi, a dictator named Kamuzu Banda took over and oppressed the already suffering people. My grandfather resisted Banda and ended up in jail many times, my dad and his entire family’s heads were wanted. On the night that they fled, my grandma took my dad and his siblings on a boat, less than an hour before their house with all their belongings was burned down. In America, my dad faced even more oppression through racism. He was one of two African American students at his school in Pasadena and was frequently called the N word. He got into a lot of fist fights and spent a good amount of time in the principal office. Their family of six kids lived in a very small home in which my dad had to sleep on a patio with nothing but plywood to protect him from rain. A priest then took it upon himself to get my dad and his siblings into the best schools Pasadena could offer. My dad went to Flintridge and excelled academically, getting accepted into Stanford and USC, but chose to go to USC to stay close to home. It was around this time that more adversity occurred, my Uncle, the eldest of their family was showing signs of schizophrenia. My Dad would get calls and rush home to protect his mom, from the brother he had previously looked up to. This put a lot of strain on their family as nights were filled with violence and police sirens. My dad faced his own form of police brutality. As he was walking to by some food from McDonald’s, a swarm of police officers held him at gunpoint, and a helicopter circled his head. He layed on the ground thinking that it was over, until they all rushed away. Apparently, he looked like a suspect of murder, however, it seems that the main descriptive factors that caused this incorrect assumption was “black male, college age.” He could have easily been another name to the list of black men killed for the wrong reasons. Racism, oppression, and bigotry coincided with my father’s childhood, but that didn’t stop him from becoming the great man that I know today. Without the hand of God from the priest, or many other generous acts of kindness, he could have easily been a gang member, homeless, or killed. My dad started an aerobic program with his friend at a gym called the sport house in Westlake. This is where he met my mom. She introduced him to the church and all the holes in his life were filled, he learned to forgive and to love everyone, even those who may have hurt him in the past. He is definitely a rose grown from the pavements of oppression.

    • It is hard for me to fathom this America was so intent on pitting against black individuals. I hope that time mends the “racism, oppression, and bigotry” your father was subjected, and that stories like these will inspire and PROMISE love and acceptance.

    • Wow Charlotte, this story really captivated me. I can’t believe what your father and his family had to endure, and it is even harder to comprehend that people have the audacity to be racist and demeaning without even knowing the person that they are breaking down. Your dad sounds like and incredible man and I’m sure you will always be thankful for his amazing life story.

    • This is such an incredulous story because of how evident it is that bigotry and racism Could have cut your father’s life is short and he would’ve never been able to accomplish the things he has in life. It’s amazing that He was able to rise from such a difficult background to become such an amazing person and influence her in your life

    • Your dad sounds like an amazing man with a lot of determination, just like you. Im glad he didn’t let the life he was given set what he was going to do with it.

    • This is such an incredible story and it is amazing what your dad has accomplished. Forgiveness is very important in life and it’s so inspiring that your dad learned that lesson.

    • This is so amazing. I can’t even believe what it would be like to go through so many struggles and yet still be such a strong person. I applaud him greatly for that.

  5. Someone that I know had a life full of hardships and unhappiness, but has overcome obstacles that have challenged her. She was born right as the Second World War began, living in Amsterdam, Holland at the time. Her parents paid strangers to look after her, because they knew they were going to die. Her entire family, except for one uncle, was killed by Nazis, and she was left with no relatives to look after her in Amsterdam. After the war, her aunt and uncle found her and put her on a ship, by herself, at just six years old. She traveled to New York to live with them. They did not love her as their own, and ended up sending her to boarding school for middle and high school. At thirteen years old, she received the news that her uncle died. After high school, she decided to go on a trip to Israel and met the love of her life. She has nine grandchildren who will always honor their great-grandparents who perished in the Holocaust.

    • This is such an emotional story. Living during WW2 and being present in Europe at that time must have been very difficult. I am glad she had escaped but feel horrible about the death of her entire family.

    • It is so amazing how she struggled through such pain and adversity. I love how she kept going and discovered happiness.

    • This is an incredible story. My great grandfather actually has a story very similar to this one and it’s hard to even fathom the pain they must’ve been experiencing as they hid for their lives or the fear the others experienced who hid them.

  6. When I think of a rose grown from concrete, the first person to come to mind is a boy I first met when I was five years old. He was born in war torn Iraqi, where the simple act of going outside or getting groceries put your life at risk. One day, when he was outside playing soccer with his friends, total strangers committed a horrific act of violence that changed his and his family’s life forever. This crime left him disfigured and a lifetime of medical procedures ahead of him. Despite the trauma, pain and fear that he experienced, he is one of the most caring and joyful people I have ever met. Throughout the stares, pointing, and whispering that happens every day, this has never stopped him from living his life to the fullest. Since the terrible act that happened that day, he and his family moved to the United States, where we first met while being treated at the same burn hospital. The courage he has is truley inspiring. Even small things like getting out of bed, going to school, playing on the soccer team, or running errands can require some thick skin from the people that might not understand what he’s been through. Through his trauma, he’s always kept others in mind. Helping out with other burn survivors or encouraging them to attend support groups are small acts that could really change someone’s life. Even though he has been through much in a short 15 years of life, he has never once been bitter to the people around him. Although there are so many things to be upset about and so many reasons to not do something, he has always been a great example to never let anything hold you back from loving life.

    • That is truly empowering that this boy is able to push through the hard times. He is a strong person, both mentally and physically, with all that has become of him.

    • This story reminds me a great deal of a book that I read in fifth grade, Wonder, and because of his facial deformity children and adults alike threw around ugly terms, whispered under their breath, and gave demeaning stares. It is honorable that he has such a positive outlook on the world despite this all, and I hope that he remains a source of joy!

    • This is so inspiring and truly encourages people to see life in a positive light. Often people let their situations bring them down but it is vital to stay positive in order to appreciate life completely.

    • It is hard to fathom the difficulties he must have endured at such a young age. I admire his perseverance and benevolence you describe to those around him despite his struggles and tribulations.

  7. My mom grew up in an incredibly dangerous and poor part of El Salvador. Her and my aunts have always told me the stories about things they had to go through. She tells me about the times that her and her siblings would be so incredibly happy when they had more than one tortilla to eat with there breakfast. Breakfast being the only meal they ate and only being beans. She tells me how she would sleep under the table when she was a toddler they didn’t have much room in a bed for all four kids. She clearly remembers when she had to hide under a bed during war. School was the best place on earth to her even when they would smack her a ruler or slam the top part of her desk on her hands when she did something wrong. She never got the education we get today. She immigrated here from El Salvador in her early twenties. She struggled finding work and the best she would do was be in a cleaning crew with multiple other women. She always tells me that she would always have my brother in her mind because she had to leave him with a babysitter all day. While in the cleaning crew she met her current boss. She started out doing their laundry and then it went to babysitting the kids throughout the night. My mom knew no English so she started to learn from the kids. They say that she’s a second mother to them. She didn’t have a long maternity leave with me. She had to send my grandma here from El Salvador to watch me. Her boss realized that we didn’t live a good place. Reseda at the time had a lot of crime. We lived in a two bedroom apartment, I always will remember the sirens of the police cars in the middle of the night or seeing the News cars infront of the building because of a drive by shooting. Her boss realized it wasn’t safe so when I was seven she put both my mom and I into her car, drove us to a street which would become very familiar to us and introduced us to our new house. My mom went from living in a place that is still filled with danger and gangs to living in an incredibly safe place, having 2 children and 7 others who have grown to love her like a mom. She’s greatfull to be here, she always tells me about the things that she sees when she goes to visit family. She’s the person I see when I heard about a rose grown from concrete.

    • That is so amazing of how strong your mother is. Having to travel from ones home to a country must have been difficult. I am happy all is well now that the rough portion of her life is out of the way.

    • Your mother’s story is absolutely incredible. She is so brave to have gone through all of that and still managed to make such a great life for herself and her children.

  8. My grandfather grew up in poverty, having to work from a really young age and still, his family was barely getting by. When he was older, he married my grandmother and they had four kids. Throughout his entire life, he has worked harder than almost anyone else I know, but it took a while for things to pay off for him. One day, he met his soon-to-be business partner–we will call him Mr. K. Unlike my grandfather, Mr. K was a very wealthy man, but when he saw all my grandfather’s hard work, he knew he wanted to work with him. Thus, they used Mr. K’s money and my grandfather’s intelligence and hard work to create Century National Insurance Company. When my dad, his son, was about eight years old, my grandfather and Mr. K started their business. Eventually, the business took off and my Grandfather was able to move his family into a larger home and give his children a better life. CNICO became my family’s business, with my dad, all his siblings, and my cousins working for it. A few years ago, my family made the decision to sell the business, but that did not stop my grandfather. Now, in his mid 80s, he still works every single day and he is currently working with his kids to build up two new businesses. My grandfather’s story of hard work and determination inspires me every day and I am so grateful for the life he has given me and the rest of my family.

  9. The lesson we learn from adversity can either be used in a positive way or a negative way, it really all up to the person. My mother was one that was faced with hardships from a very young age, growing up in an underdeveloped village in Mexico, she had to work a job at the age of 8, in order to pay for her education to ensure she could make a life for herself. Four years later she was uprooted from the only life she knew, and was taken to a place where she didn’t understand what anybody was saying, they called the place America. When she arrived her mother told her she could receive free education, so she decided to utilize this in every way she could, they only problem she could understand what her teachers were saying, she would spend hours on her homework, translating the words, so that she could make sense of what she was learning. My mother through transcribing her homework was able to learn the basics of english, and continued to learn from the people around her, through understanding the language she began to rise to the top of her class. However, her classmates didn’t approve of her success, they began to call her names to degrade her, but she prevailed, continuing on the path she set out to achieve. Three years passed, and my mother was in her senior year receiving her diploma, along with a stamp that claimed her to be an honorary student, the first of her family to graduate from high school. My mother was unable to continue her education in college, due to the cost, but she continued to study anything that she could get her hands on, absorbing all the information that crossed her path. Eventually, she ended up getting married and made a family of her own, completing yet another goal, but she saw something was missing she wanted to feel the thrill of ambition once more. My mother began to search for jobs, but very few accepted people with only a high school diploma, she took a chance, and applied to Bank of America, two weeks later she received the job, counseling people on ways to reduce their loans, continuing to learn about something that gave her drive, and continues to do so. My mothers story taught me that if you want something you have to work for it, clique I know, but it’s true.

    • The fact that your mom received her diploma after going through the circumstances that she did is incredible. It is amazing that she is able to counsel to people today and has overcome her difficult past.

  10. My dad is an inspiration to me in many ways and I view parts of his story as a “rose out of the concrete” story. When he was born, he had clubbed feet which means that his feet were rotated inwards and downwards, and had a dislocating patella. He had corrective surgeries for his condition until he was in the fourth grade. During ages 1-2, he could try to stand up but his knees would dislocate and the doctors realized that the condition was more serious than they had anticipated. My dad’s parents had been told their son would never be able to walk, but my grandparents were determined to help their son walk. He went through countless surgeries and casts and crutches until he was strong enough to walk. Through middle school, his surgeries had made it impossible for sports to become a reality in his life. As an alternative, he turned to music and this brought him joy everyday through his middle and high school career. As my dad grew older and went to college he discovered a love for running. When my parents moved to Nashville after my dad completed law school at Pepperdine, he still enjoyed running and trained in the South to run half-marathons. Though my dad was told he would never walk, let alone run, he has completed 4 half-marathons and to this day is comfortable on his feet and has very limited pain. Through my dad’s and the perseverance of his entire family, he has created the life for himself that he deserves and loves despite his circumstances as a young child.

    • This has Such an important message because if your dad had given up at any point he might not have been able to walk or had the opportunities that he has today because he persevered through the pain to walk again and even runni such an important message because if your dad had given up any point he might not have been able to walk or had the opportunities that he has today because he persevered through the pain to walk again and even run again.

    • This is amazing and inspiring. It’s wonderful to see how one’s life can change if you’re just patient and committed. I can’t fathom the pain he went through as a child, and yet here he is doing the undoable. That is the motivation we all need, whether it be for something big, such as walking when everyone said you couldn’t or just living through tough times.

  11. When I think of someone that has risen from a difficult situation, I think of my friend who grew up in an unstable household in a crime ridden neighborhood in Los Angeles.This friend of mine was forced to work to provide for her family, and her dad abandoned her family when she was only three years old. As a result, her mom worked very hard to provide for the family, but could not do it on her own, so my friend had to work different jobs throughout high school. She is the oldest sibling of the family, being 20, so she also had to help her siblings with their homework, and constantly look after them. Despite all of the tasks that she had to do for her family, she was always very happy and grateful. She also managed to maintain high grades while having such a large role in supporting her family. As a result of her hard work and dedication, she is attending UC Riverside. She is attending because she was given many scholarships for her academic achievement through adversity. In college, she still works very hard to earn money to send back to her family. I believe that she will continue to break barriers because of her hard work and dedication to others.

    • She is an example of persevering through the hard times and working so hard to accomplish things in life. This message is so powerful because she was so successful despite all the things in her past and her upbringing.

  12. There is one person in my family never had an easy moment in her life. She grew up in a house of five; her, her mom, dad, and two brothers. They all shared one bathroom. Although she was the oldest of the siblings, one of her younger brothers would constantly pick on her, pull her hair, and do every possible thing imaginable to torture her. To my knowledge, she never had the opportunity or luxury of attending college. She didn’t just live a hard life because she was born into it, she made her life harder. Although she wasn’t very wealthy, she had enough to get by, but refused to ever spend money on herself. She chose to live an unbearable life in order to make her daughter’s life livable. She was brilliant when it came to money and saving it. She never wasted a cent. She worked countless jobs to put her daughter through school. Thanks to all her hard work, her daughter attended USC, and then UCLA. Hours upon hours of work everyday, and all the while her brother who tortured her became very wealthy. She would always reach out to him, but it was to no avail. He would just watch her struggle through life as he reclined in easy living. Never did he once care for her, or speak to her. That brother eventually committed suicide, many years after the first one had also killed himself. She died with the memory of her brother as a cold hearted person who never cared for his family, but her sacrificing her own chance at an easy life gave her daughter the opportunity to achieve the life that she never had.

  13. I have several roses in my life, but one of them that grew through the concrete into one of the most beautiful roses I know is my grandfather. He was born in rural Massachusetts, and moved to Southern California at a young age where he grew up. He was the eldest of three brothers, whom he was always there to take care of in difficult times. His parents were also strong like he is. My grandfather’s family was never financially well off, and everyone always had to work hard to make ends meet. From a young age, my grandfather had to work several jobs in order to help the family, on top of caring for his younger brothers while his parents worked. He has always had an amazing selfless work ethic, never afraid to do whatever it took to get the job done. He met my grandmother in college, whom he soon married. Through all of this, music was one of the things that kept him going. He studied to become a music teacher so he could share his gift with students in his community. In the blink of an eye, what started as just a job soon turned into 41 years of music excellence, enlightening so many young people in the process. Throughout those 41 years, he cared for a family of five and saw the birth of seven grandchildren. I think the most special part of all of this is that his influence is still seen everywhere. He just recently joined a volunteer orchestra, where he was reunited with several of his previous students. His own high school band director’s children were all taught by him. The small town Massachusetts boy probably had no idea that he’d grow up into the strong and loving man he is now, touching the lives of hundreds, including mine. And I am forever grateful.

  14. At the age of seven, he came home to the news that his father had been murdered by a crazy man,who ended up committing suicide after. His mother was distraught and had trouble coping with the death of her husband so she ended up abandoning her children because she was so full of sadness. For a couple years this Little boy and his older brother (difference of 8 years) lived in a car by themselves, giving the two boys no choice but to fend for themselves. The mother eventually came back to her sons but she had remarried to another man. This man did not like her children at all and in a pure craze, threw the children over the Santa Monica pier to try to kill them. This man went to jail for what he attempted to do and the mother was alone with her kids. Those few years that she abandoned her children had given her time to grow as a person and she stayed with her children,to raise them and try to give them the best life that she could, to repent fourth time she had spent away. The little boy did not have the opportunity to go to college even though he really wanted to and he was an intellectual person. With hard work,, he ended up getting into some science technology researches that allowed him to get some sort of an education without having gone to school. He became Very knowledgeable in science, and with the assistance of a few other men, they were able to create the medical technology called heart valves (still used today). He ended up using his technology to save his own life and used his heart valves for many many years until he passed away two years ago. This man truly exemplifies the concept of a rose growing from concrete because no matter how hard it got for him he was able to persevere and accomplish what interested him.

  15. My mom is my inspiration towards this certain topic. My mother grew up with two other siblings and two loving parents in a two bedroom apartment in Queens. After high school she was moving towards beauty school and after that she found a love for music and started interning at Sony Music. While still being in college she found that she didn’t just want to be an intern but she requested to be an assistant. While being an assistant she had many opportunities of meeting celebrities like Mariah and Beyonce and she would always get free tickets to shows. Unfortunately, her 20 years of Sony were over and she found a new job right away. Then after that job we moved to California for new opportunities and it took my family to adjust to this new life style. My mother had a hard time finding a job where she wasn’t used to because her heart was still into working in the music business. Fortunately, she found a job being an assistant at a famous magazine label. Later she found a better opportunity to be an assistant to a millionaire who owns many buildings in LA. My mom is my inspiration because of how willing to find the perfect job to suit her schedule and her schedule for her family to support us. I’m so happy that my mother finally found a job she enjoys and i’m happy she can support us with needs and love.

    • SHE GOT FREE BEYONCE TICKETS?! I love how motivated your mom is to find a job she enjoys. So many people are unhappily sitting at boring office jobs because it is the “responsible” thing to do. I think that we all have a responsibility to ourselves, to do what makes us happy. She did that and look how it turned out! AWESOME!

    • One of my greatest fears in life is growing up and getting stuck with a job that doesn’t make me happy and excited. At this point in time, I’m not sure what that will be yet, but it will come. The fact that your mom followed what she knew would make her happy is really inspiring and I hope that we can all take our lives into our own hands like that if necessary someday.

  16. My dad is a rose that grew from the concrete in my life. He was born into a family who didn’t have much and spent much of his childhood years moving around a lot. Dad even had to repeat Fifth grade. But one thing Dad always knew was that he loved movies and wanted to make them when he grew up. He spent his afternoons with his Eventually he graduated high school and attended Moorpark College. However, he dropped out before the end of his first semester. He and a friend began making music videos for bands, bluffing their way through. They would laminate cards to make themselves look more official, attach useless objects to their cameras to seem more professional, and anything else that would make them appear legitimate. They did this for roughly ten years, making little money and having uncertain work opportunities. Finally, my dad met his writing partner, Cinco, at a church functioning they became fast friends. They both enjoyed movie-making and decided to write a screenplay together. they hired an agent and eventually sold their first script. After that first time, they were able to do more and more, writing for bigger companies. Now Dad’s dreams have come true, he gets to create movies, something he has loved since he was a kid. But I know if you asked him, he would say his dreams came true when he met Michelle and they started a family together.

    • It’s inspiring to read of your dad following his dreams and never giving up. Sometimes the conventional way isn’t for everyone and sounds like he is living a ‘happily ever after’ kind of life now, I wish that for all of us.

  17. The first person who comes to mind when I think of a rose grown out of concrete would be my mom. She has come such a long way from all the major hardships and life threatening situations she had to experience, for she was growing up during the Vietnam war. She was born in Vietnam and when she was 8 years old, the war started and she was forced to evacuate because things became too dangerous. To do so, my mom, uncle, and grandmother had to run to the plane as hovercrafts flying overhead were dropping bombs and flying back for reinforcements. They made it to the plane and managed to get away but my grandfather, who was going to leave with his parents, got captured and was taken as a prisoner of war for over 10 years. My mom eventually made it to Washington D.C. where she grew up without a father who could not escape Vietnam. She managed to get a great education and excelled in her studies, making it into Stanford University for college. Here, she met mad dad who attended Stanford as a graduate student. After she graduated, she got a job as a software engineer and worked her way to the top. Now my grandfather lives at home with us and us happier and more cheerful than ever as my mom gets to make up the time she lost with him as a child. She is also Senior Vice President of her company, Symantec, and is extremely successful. She was able to come from the bottom and make it to the top and now lives the life she has always dreamed about in her time of warfare.

  18. My Mom is a rose that grew from the concrete. When she was fourteen she and her family moved to California from Ireland due to lack of opportunities there. She had to come half way through freshman year to and entirely new country with no friends. She told me that she used to sit in the bathroom at lunch because she didn’t have anyone to sit with. She struggled through being the new girl for her first two years in America, but junior year she met her best friend Kim, who she is still great friends with today. She was finally starting to fit in after all this time. And then senior year, after she had sworn off dating for the time period, she walks into a student government class and starts talking to a boy, who also happens to be my dad. Her story isn’t filled with intense hardship like some of the other stories, but her trivial struggles are stuff a lot of us go through and it’s nice to know that a rose can bloom from this concrete.

  19. My family isn’t from here. My dad moved from Colombia at age 10. He came to the United States knowing no one and also not knowing any english. In Colombia you graduate high school at age 15 so when he came here he found out he had to redo multiple grades. He had a rough childhood cause he knew no one. He felt alone. His parents didn’t know how to help him becasue they were trying to figure out there own situations.So he would try not to tell his parents anything. Back then they didn’t have any special classes to help kids who didn’t know english.So he was on his own. But he had an amazing mindset. He knew he wanted to go to collage and he was trying to figure that out to his best of his abilities.He taught himself english by writing every word in the dictionary down every single day.Everyone would look at him weird because he wasn’t like them. But he didn’t let that stop him.He achieved his goal he graduated high school knowing english perfectly and going to college. “Rose out of concrete”

    • Adriana,
      You have told me about your background a little bit before but I love your story and his story battling the education difference and a completely new language. I think he ties in perfectly with this video and it is so unique because I have met your dad before and his english was very spot on.

  20. I know of a friend who was once very poor and owned basically nothing. He was from another country (can’t say) , and wore the same clothes for days. He was a part of a fundraiser for kids like him, and eventually was able to move here, where a family adopted him. He never complained about his life, just took what he had and made the best of it. And though all of this, he was an upbeat, positive person, who loved to play sports, and he played them very well. Nowadays, he’s still true same person he always was, and cares about everyone around him, and wants to get to know everyone too. I still see him around sometimes, always chatting with friends, and having his big smile on his face. And through all of that, another one of his friends from his home country that he grew up with was also able to move here. So he was not alone, he had his best friend there with him. Whenever I see him, I’m grateful that he is here, and that he is a strong, and courageous friend.

    • It’s amazing to see people struggling but still having a smile on their face and always being happy. Great story Krista!

  21. One of the people in my life that is a rose is my grandmother on my mother’s side. My grandmother is Japanese and grew up in Hawaii during the World War ll era. As a child growing up during World War ll, she could not learn or speak Japanese, her family were farmers, and did not experience the best education. My grandma still strived in her classes to get good grades and later become successful.

    • this is the right one-
      A person that represents a rose out of the concrete are my grandparents on my mother’s side. My grandparents are Japanese and grew up in Hawaii during the World War ll era. As children growing up during World War ll, they could not learn or speak Japanese, my grandmother’s family were farmers, and they did not experience the best education. My grandma still strived in her classes to get good grades and later became successful. She later married my grandfather who served in the mairne corps rather than going to college since it was too expensive for his family to pay. They both moved to Oregon after my grandfather’s term in the military to create a living and start a family. My grandparents both worked while raising my mom and my aunt. My grandfather opened a bakery and worked long hours to sustain the family. Later he sold the bakery due to less and less business. While my grandmother worked for an insurance company. My grandparents were able to send both of my aunt and mom to college, because of strict financing and hard work. To this day my grandparents demonstrate courage and instill the importance of hard work.

      • My grandmother also grew up in Hawaii during the WWII era. It’s both interesting and inspiring hearing your grandparents’ backgrounds and drawing parallels between the stories you have of your grandparents growing up in the war circumstances and the stories I have of my own grandma.

  22. So the person who I’m going to talk about is one of my relatives, and they represent a “rose from concrete” because they had to go through many hardships growing up, but they still managed to make a good like for them self and prosper even with the difficulties they faced. This person I’m going to speak of started her life raised in a very poor family with a single mother who was constantly working. My person, let’s call her “Jone” was a daughter of I believe 6 kids, and was raised in one of the poorer parts of New York. Due to this she and her other siblings kind of had to raise themselves as if they were their own parents. Continuing this, she went through some traumatic occurances, and when she went to her parents for comfort, she was kicked out of her house. She had to deal with that problem she faced and her parents disappointment for a while. Then she continued her life and put her mind to writing as that was her passion. She focused on that throughout the rest of her life and established herself as a published writer. She wrote for many papers and was travel writer, and I know people actually cared for her opinion because she went on many trips where most of the expenses were paid for by the place that was being written about, so they could get a good review. She took my sister on multiple trips to Hawaii to review different resorts. She reviewed Princess cruises and took my sister, my mom, and I on it for a much lowered price to Mexico, and as I said before, usually these places would give her products or food for free. There are many other examples of her being a tremendous person, but those are just a few. Unfortunately she always struggled with health issues and as she went through or older years she started becoming sick, but from all the times I saw her, she would always bounce back, rejuvenate and keep on rolling with the punches. Sadly though the last time she vacate Ill, she was unable to fight back, and she sadly passed away. But I don’t write about her to talk about the sad story of her, but to discuss how through many hardships she was still able to move forward, spread positivity, and become a rose from concrete.

    • At the end where it says “the last time she vacate lll” it was supposed to say “Sadly the last time she was ill”. Okay, I just wanted to clarify because there was autocorrect.

  23. My role model is a famous singer that I love, and he reminds me of a rose from the concrete. When he was younger, he had severe anxiety. He also self harmed and was considering suicide. He had been suffering for a long time, then his mom got him a piano for his birthday. He put all his effort and time into music and writing music after that. He soon formed a band with his friends where he wrote songs about his experiences with self harm and was music for people going through the same thing he was to listen and relate to. The band weren’t that popular after their first album and the two band members left, but then a drummer named Josh joined the band. The two of them wrote three successful albums together. After writing his second album, he found love and got married to a girl named Jenna. So, Tyler Joseph is my role model because even despite his struggles with anxiety and self harm, he found success and happiness in his own life.

  24. While growing up in Pasadena, I met a lot of underprivileged kids that were struggling. Most of them were just trying to figure out who they were, how they fit into society, and what options they had for the future,considering their financial situation. There was one girl in particular that was very close to us. We knew her family before she was born and wanted to help her in any way we could. When she got older, my family started inviting her to church activities, family dinners, youth activities, anything that would help her stay positive, despite her situation at home. When the time came, she applied to the same school as my younger brother and was accepted. Miraculously, she thrived and did well in advanced classes, joined choir and dance, and had many friends that adored her. Ironically, my own brother began to struggle with bullying and started doing poorly in school. By the end of the school year, my family decided to move. We asked my brother how he survived that difficult year and he said that the young girl that we had helped for so many years was the one that stood by him and walked with him during his most challenging times. Today, she continues to thrive and be an amazing individual despite her broken family and poor finicial situation. We are very grateful to be a part of her amazing story.

  25. My father grew up as a poor boy in Michigan. Though he had a great family life, at the age of 15 his father passed away and my dad was forced to be the head of the household and provide for his family. He began working two jobs and soon bought his own light store. He moved out of his home when he was seventeen and started a life of his own. My dad had always been motivated to seek adventure and experience life to its fullest extent. Throughout the years he had many different occupations such as a sales representative, hair dresser, body guard, yoga teacher, waiter and many more. His passion for various occupations gave him a life full of adventure. I admire my dad for that because his sense of adventure resonates strongly with me. I think it is amazing that he came from a struggling family and didn’t get a college degree but instead followed his heart that told him not to conform to society and to test out all the different ways he could express himself. He didn’t let the tragedy of his father burden him to the point where he stayed living at his home with his mother. Of course, being the gentleman he is, my father still provided for his family even while living in another state. Always sending money and calling his mother to maintain their relationship. In the course of 60 years my dad says he has had “multiple lifetimes” and “many different versions of himself”, but he never imagined he would be living in California with a family of five. My dads story inspires me to reach for whatever goal I want to do, and it eases me into the idea of being okay with not knowing what you want to settle down and do for the rest of your life. No matter where you come from, you can live whatever life you imagine:)

  26. The very first person that comes to mind when I think of a rose grown out of the concrete is my dad. My dad was born in Mexico and him and his family (he had around 7 other siblings) lived in this very old house that almost looked like a hut when I went to go visit during the summer two years ago. His family would always have to share the food they had with everyone so they all just got a small portion to be able to feed everyone. Even though he didn’t have much he was very greatful for the little things, even if it was just a tortilla with lime to eat for lunch or dinner. At only age 11, he had to start working in order to help his family financially. He also didn’t get a very good education and ended up finishing school in 5th grade. Once he grew up, he had a purpose to come to America and be able to get a job here and make a new start. That whole process was not easy but my dad being very strong like so many people that come to this country this way, he came to the US and got a job and basically started a new life. Now, I get to learn about his past and how I should be really grateful for all that I have because it’s not always easy for everyone. My dad is my hero, because nothing stopped him from growing to be this amazing and hilarious flower that grew from the concrete.

  27. To me, my dad is a “rose that grew from concrete”. He was born in Mexico and at 8 years old, he and his family left their comfortable, familiar home to travel to the United States to live a better life, specifically California. He would tell me about his struggles transitioning to the United States. First the cultural barriers between the two countries. My dad would me how strange and different everything was in the United States from Mexico. In addition, my dad would face discrimination from the other kids at school; people thought they could bully him since he was from another country. The entire foreign atmosphere made my dad uncomfortable and long for his home back in Mexico. However, knowing that his mother wanted the best opportunities for him and his family, my dad grew into the lifestyle and began to accept the country as his new home. Through his growing passion of sports, such as swimming, soccer, and water polo, my dad would prove to everyone that he was so much more than his race perceived him to be. Despite all the challenges he faced, he graduated high school and even earned a swimming scholarship. He serves as an inspiration and role model for me and I am so grateful to call him my dad.

  28. Although I never met her personally, I feel her influence on my life everyday. She grew up in an abusive household with her older sister who suffered the same abuse. She guessed her way through high school and graduated without the ability to read. In order to escape her abusive family, she got married at 18 and began having children. This young women had 3 daughters and taught herself how to read through reading the scriptures and baby books. She also never took a sewing class, but she taught herself how to sew. She was able to go into any store, turn the clothes inside out and recreate it perfectly at home. The marriage was soon discovered to be toxic; however, she did not leave her husband until many years later. Once she did, she married her second husband who was perfect for her. Despite her situation, she was described as effervescent, bubbly and positive throughout her life. She didn’t create a multi-million dollar company, she didn’t change the entire world, but she changed the lives of those whom she touched.

  29. I would consider my dad “a rose that grew from concrete” but I would change it to my dad is a rose that continues to grow and push past the concrete. Let me explain. My dad was born into a poor family. At age 3, his father left the family and his mom was a single mom raising 3 kids on her own. She had to not only raise a family but work to earn enough money to support these three kids. My dad grew up knowing that his family was not financially stable and got his first job selling candy at age 9. His step-dad came into the family when my dad was 10 and he was the first father-figure in my dad’s life and they were incredibly close. Unfortunately, he passed away when my dad was only 12 years old. My dad exceeded in writing in school and got full scholarship to USC which was vital to him getting a college education, since they could not afford it otherwise. After college, my dad worked many different jobs and eventually created his own business. This business took lots of hard work but eventually led to lots of success, showing how he grew from the concrete of his childhood; he grew up with no money and now had started his own successful business. When I was 8, my dad got diagnosed with Cancer and his life was forever altered. This was a pile of cement being dumped on top of a grown rose. After months of surgeries, radiation, and chemo, my dad was cured of his cancer. A year later, he was diagnosed again. Then two more times the next year, and the year following. Cement was constantly being poured onto him while he struggled to break free. After 4 years of cancer and 60 rounds of radiation, my dad was cancer free. As a 12 year old girl, I had no idea what was going on because my dad as long as I can remember has always been smiling and positive. Even after everything he’s been through, he still views the glass half full and approaches each new day with positivity. After suffering so many hardships, he could let it affect him and walk around feeling bad for himself but he is constantly smiling and helping others, never putting the focus on himself. Even though he cannot eat food or drink water due to his radiation (he uses a G-tube to eat), he has trouble speaking, and the affects of his radiation affect him in all aspects of his life, he still puts others above himself and would do anything to help his children and ensure his children, my brother, sister, and I, have a bright future. He inspires me to see that you can not let your past or current problems take over your life and you must cherish each day and moment. Positivity is vital in living a great life and he truly embodies this. My dad is not a rose that grew out of concrete, but a rose that is constantly pushing to surpass the difficulties of the concrete.

    • Wow, this is such an empowering story. I never knew that your dad had to go through that many hardships, and i’m so happy of how strong he’s been all those years!

    • Glad I got to grow up with him in my life as a child until now. I will always admire how happy and strong your dad is in almost all situations life throws at him. Love you and your fam<3

    • Thank you for sharing such a personal story. Makes one self reflect on how important to appreciate all we have and to never take one single thing for granted.

  30. So, my rose is a little out of the ordinary. It’s not a person, it’s my late dog, Keanna. We had been looking for a dog for my family to be a service dog for about two years. My sister is a high-functioning autistic, and we though having a big, fluffy rag-doll dog would be good for her, but we wanted to adopt and help a dog, which proved very hard. So, we finally found Keanna at Shelter Hope in October of 2016, and we fell in love with her. We didn’t know much about her, except that her last owners had been awful to her. They had used her as a puppy mill mother, left her in her crate all day(to the point that when we got her, she had no fur on her bottom because she had banged against the crate so much), and she was scared of just about anything and anyone. We didn’t even know her real name or how old she was. Her owner left a list of names, and she didn’t respond to any of them. Over time, she opened up. My other dog taught her how to play with toys, she learned to swim, she started to be less weary of many people, and she became the biggest love-bug. Keanna’s love kind of brought my family together in a way, she showed us that everything gets better, the right people are just minutes away from coming into your life. Much like many abused humans, Keanna’s past made many things very difficult, but she slowly let that go and became an amazing rose.

    • I love this story and that Keanna had a loving home for the last part of her life. Dog’s teach us so much and often connect with us in ways that are deeper than many human connections.

  31. A rose that grew from concrete that I have been lucky to know and have in my life for over twelve years is one of my oldest friends, who for this assignment I’ll refer to as “Seth”. My friend Seth is someone I met my very first day of kindergarten and who I hit it off with immediately, he’s a fraternal twin and the only male sibling out if him, his twin, and his older sister. From as far back as I can remember, he looked up to his sister so much, she’s an artist and he wanted to follow in her footsteps, which gave him art as an expressive outlet. Around the year of second grade is when things began to get rough for Seth, his parents divorced and it was not a clean split to say the least, the entirety of his family became distant and seemed to pick sides. Seth and his older sister were more biased towards their mother but as his twin got older, she sided more with their dad. At such a young age the divorce was a lot to deal with for him, and Seth turned to his sister for comfort but by the time we got to middle school, she went off to college for animation. Until recently, these past years have hit Seth hard, the divides in his family seeming to get wider even from the outside, but even through all the strife he has experienced he has kept on drawing and enhancing his art skills. I watched his portfolio grow for years until I saw the full potential it reached when a Cal Arts representative saw his work and told him he could get into school there, his dream school. All of his hard work had paid off, but right after that Seth left our high school to finish his studies by homeschooling, living with a family friend because his home situation had become fairly toxic with his twin. Even though his story hasn’t ended, I have watched him grow so much and every time I see a new art piece from him I see progress and a drive that I know will get him where he wants to go because he is strong and motivated, and that’s why he is a rose that grew from concrete.

  32. My grandfather, without a doubt is a rose that blossomed from concrete. He was born and raised in Chicago and times were defiantly not easy for him as they were not stable financially and his father made coats for the army. He was the son of two immigrants who came here during World War Two from Eastern Europe. Taking the clothes on their backs and leaving all of their family behind. As a young child my grandfather always wondered why he had no cousins, Aunts/Uncles, Grandparents and why his family was so small. When he found out that all of his family was murdered by the Nazis he was confused and foreign to the concept of hate. From this my grandfather taught me that love is such a powerful and important force. As he graduated high school, he wanted to start to support his family so he went to medical school to become a doctor, while accumulating a lot of debt he accomplished his dreams. My grandfather’s love for healing and taking care of people inspires me to become a doctor. My grandfather has always loved me and accepted me for who I am and pushes me to be the best person I can possibly be.

  33. My rose that grew from concrete was my grandfather. During the 1900s many immigrants traveled to the United States in hopes for a better life. My grandfather, Ming Gai Lew, traveled from China to the United States to meet his father and try to make a better living. He migrated by ship across the world and that his father in Pittsburgh where he earned his college degree at Pittsburgh Academy and engineering degree at the University of Pittsburgh. Before traveling to the United States, He only spoke Cantonese Chinese but after migrating, he learned how to speak English. When my grandfather left China, he left his mother as well as his sisters, brothers, stepsisters, and stepbrothers. After college he served the United States by fighting on the beaches of Normandy he also helped build one of the first surveyors to go to the moon and even worked on the SR 71 Blackbird, spy plane which, to this day, is the set world record as the fastest man-piloted spy plane in history. He was also known for was that he was a part of an organization called Lions Club International, whose main goal was sponsoring people to come to the United States and helping the poor. Later on my grandfather married a woman named Dorothy Ying Louie. They had seven daughters, my mother being the fifth. Hearing this story, and having this experience helped open my eyes to see the hardships and difficulties many people went through, and how they made something good out of their situation. I hope always to be like my grandfather, making something out of nothing. If more people create roses out of concrete, the world will become the most beautiful garden in the universe.

  34. My grandfather was a kid from Oklahoma. Born into a poor farming family, he remembers using corn husks for toilet paper and one year, never did have a pair of shoes on his feet. He also remembers not one day going by when he wasn’t given a whooping, with a belt or the dreaded plank of wood with a rusty nail on the end. His dad was so tough that he pulled his own bad tooth out with pliers and once sewed his own finger back on. School was a struggle as he suffered from undiagnosed dyslexia and probably some attention issues, so his report cards never got As or Bs printed on them but he still had ambition and dreamed of leaving one day to have a life better than his own parents. Soon as he turned 18 my grandfather apprenticed as a welder, then doors to the world opened up for him and gifted him with adventures for more than one lifetime. He welded all over the world, building his experience and knowledge to where even today, at the ripe age of 79, gets calls for advice. Welding is dangerous and all pipe welding used to be done by a welder on a trolley being wheeled into the pipe. My grandfather has scars all over from the burns, even though they wore thick, protective suits. His face even has spots of skin cancer that he gets burned off annually. The hazardous job gave him and a friend the idea of developing a welding machine that would take the place of a man. Together they developed the first welding machine and made life much safer for workmen on the oil rigs. He also was one of the advisor’s to Red Adair when there was a huge fire in the Gulf of Mexico. My grandfather is that scrappy and defiant flower that grew in a tiny crack, even standing strong today as he hikes every day and volunteers at the local soup kitchen. Most importantly, he has remained humble and never indulged in luxury and materialism but remained partial to his favorite jeans and two sweat shirts that he rotates back and forth. Adversity made my grandfather ‘special’ and I am so proud of him.

    • This is such an amazing story. It’s so amazing to see someone grow from nothing and end up happy and content in life. I think that is all we can ask for in life. The fact that he remained humble is so wonderful. It is so easy to forget where we came from when we get out.

  35. Reading all the stories above, my person’s accomplishments seem minuscule, and they are. But to me, he is inspirational, and I learn from him every day. He didn’t grow up in an unsafe area, his parents weren’t awful, his family had money. There were things deeper inside than that. Nobody ever understands the real behind-the-scenes story. Bullying started for him in first grade, people targeted how he looked, what he acted like, what his problems were. His family, though wonderful, was falling apart at the seams and he took it upon himself to try to fix it. His goal as a child was to make everyone happy, and when he couldn’t do that, his mental state got serious enough to start therapy at the age of seven. His depression took over around the age of eleven, impacting him severely every single day, causing him to do things he wasn’t proud of. He went through many schools, trying to find one that didn’t make him feel lost and alone, and finally, he found one in the oddest of places. Despite finally feeling safe, he continued suffering through unspeakable things in his head. He turned to others to feel validated and worth something. He stayed in an abusive relationship for 10 months before finally getting the confidence to leave, and lost friends by coming out to them. He put up with violence that was thrown his way because he thought he deserved it. But, he continued therapy. He worked with doctors who could help him with the battles in his head. He discovered himself and worked through things that he thought would never change, he got clean, he had surgery, he became who he really is. Almost 10 years of therapy, a year and four months on testosterone, one surgery, too many lost friends to count, and 16 and a half years of life, he’s still here. He fights every day and struggles every night, but he is still here. He is trying to love and accept himself, and it may seem impossible sometimes, but he is on his way. He inspires me. He is a rose trying to grow from concrete.

    If you didn’t figure it out already, this is about me. I’m not trying to sound conceited or in love with myself, because trust me that is the opposite of the truth. I have come so far from what I used to be. I may not have lost a limb or grew up in an abusive household or been super poor, but every day I rise from my own concrete. I have learned that it is okay to be proud of yourself, and until about six months ago, I never was. I now understand that even on my worst days, when I don’t really believe it, I am a rose. I think all of us need to realize that even if we don’t suffer in super extreme ways, we are all still trapped in our own concrete and every day we are alive, we are growing from that. It is okay for us to be proud of ourselves. We all go through so much. We are all roses growing from concrete.

    (Also, this is extremely tmi so sorry about that. I’d say don’t judge, but people will, and that’s okay.)

    • Jasen this is amazing. I’ve always known you have had to go though some really rough stages in your life, but i never knew how bad they truly were. I’m so happy you have worked through them and fought against the negativity and hate that was surrounding your life.

    • This is so so beautiful and I really love your message about self-pride, and recognizing the importance of our own accomplishments. Love you!!! ❤

    • I started crying reading this. I love you so much and I’m insanely proud of everything you’ve done and how far you’ve come. These accomplishments are not minuscule in the slightest, they have taken you to your lowest and you’ve pushed through it to be here today to share this with us, that’s nothing small. I’m so glad you ended up at Westlake and I’m proud to call you one of my best friends, I love you so much❤️

    • I love you so much!! Keep fighting this fight because you are a rose and worth every minute of the battle. Lean on those around you too, we are all in your corner (and those who aren’t don’t deserve a spot in that corner)

      Mrs. R.

  36. My rose that grew from concrete is my late great grandmother. She was born in the 1930’s to a very very poor family in Mexico. Her mother died when she was a baby and her father died shortly after, so she was primarily raised by her older siblings. I remember seeing pictures of her hometown many years ago, and it seemed quite crowded and poorly maintained. When she was a young teen she relocated to Orange County and met my great grandpa when he worked in a grocery store. In their mid-teens, they became married and over time had 6 children. They both remained extremely poor, but built a new house from scratch to fit their new family at which my great grandmother would stay home with to watch over. Unfortunately, my great grandfather was not a very kind father or husband and it was primarily her own doing of raising the family. She was not someone who was the typical definition of “success”, but she built a beautiful family and loved to see her grandkids and great grandkids, and that was her own version of a successful life.

  37. This past year at my summer camp we got a new music director who had made a big impact on me. This camp has been my home for the past 6 summers and this summer was definitely the most impactful one in all my years. Arriving in musical theatre on the second day of camp, we realized we didn’t have the teacher that had been with us for so many years. I instantly fell in love with our new director like I had with many of the teachers I’ve had the past couple of summers. He constantly gave us his incite on hard work and confindence which is why I liked him so much. One day I decided to go up to class early and talk to him about college and my future which he was super helpful with. He began to tell me about how his parents did not support his path which was accompaniment and musical theatre. He was never emotionally or financially supported but that did not stop his dreams. At about the age of 12 he taught himself piano and how to read music and make up harmonies and everything that he would later need to fulfill his ideal career. This caused him to give me all the support he could with my future. He told me to do exactly what I wanted even if it was multiple things. He also shared with me that someone very successful at the time had told him there is no way he can do both the things he wanted. Coming from someone he really looked up to, made it seem true. He chose to ignore that and keep working and trying as hard as he could to believe in himself. He made me a want to work hard because I was in that class for a reason and should show up with the intent to try my absolute best. He told us how society was becoming lazy and he wouldn’t let us girls be lazy. One day he told us “allow yourself to be confident, your supposed to and you can.” With a room full of teenage girls, you could see how impactful and conforting this was to hear. This really meant a lot to me and his inspiring words have helped me so much in working harder at what I want to do, which happens to be more than one thing. It’s helped me lead toward my future and really work for it. I will never thank him enough for showing me how his work has payed off coming from so little support.

  38. The rose in the concrete I think of is my best friend who lives over 100 miles away. She always can bring a smile to anyone’s face no matter what she is going through and not a day goes by where I don’t think of her. She has a rough home life without a close relationship to her family. There was a summer where we hung out almost every day and spent our times laughing the day away ,but she had problems at home. During this time, there was a custody battle between her grandmother and her parents. She had to make the choice to leave her family to be in a better environment and by only watching closely could you see the toll this was all taking on her. She still came to school with the biggest smile on her face. She still was the best friend I ever had even in this hard time for her. She is the Rose in the concrete for her joy through the trials of life. She is the Rose in the concrete by being her true self and by ensuring others happiness in her lowest moments.

    • Wow, that is amazing how positive and confident your friend was able to be during such a rough time. It’s amazing to me how negative some people can be who have noting going wrong in their life yet your friend had so much going wrong but was yet still so positive.

  39. She’s a family friend. she Started working at the age of 9. She grew up in a bad home, no one wanted her, so if she wanted food she had to work or find some, if she wanted new clothes she had to buy them herself. She was neighbors with my mom as a kid and got payed to babysit. My family was nice enough to basically lend her a place to stay all the time, she was just like another kid my grandma had been raising. She had finally moved out at 18 and left her family. She met a guy and ended up having two kids, the man was very abusive and she and my mom kicked him out. Her whole life has been a fight. She’s never gotten the chance to take a break because she’s always having to sleep with one eye open, especially after she had her two kids. She had found a new man years later, thought he was the one, but he had been friends with her ex (the husband of the kids) and had tried to take the kids away from her so the dad would have them. He won. She was all alone. But she rose from the concrete, her petals are heavily damaged, but she hasn’t stopped fighting. After all she’s been a fighter since she can even remember. She has a beautiful personality and she is apart of my family. She is now in a happy state of mind, her daughter just graduated high school and is now a marine serving our country while her son is still finishing up high school. She still faces many hardships in her life, but I like to think it’s just one more thing making her grow stronger more and more each day.

    • I love this story Jazmine. It is so inspirational how she never would give up and how still continues to fight and fight. I feel like a lot of times it is easy for us to give up and result to nothing, unlike your brave friend who is so persistent.

  40. My rose that grew from concrete was my dad. Raised in a village in the countryside of China, he wasn’t given the resources that we as a generation have easy access to on a daily basis. He tells me stories of how he had one shirt that he wore every day, that he had to get a job when he was 9 years old to provide for his family, that he had to single-handedly raise his younger siblings because my grandmother was too busy, and so on. But through it all, he tells me these stories with a smile. My dad now has his PhD in chemistry and co-owns his own pharmaceutical company in China, but these memories make him who he is. He’ll never forget the countless times that he swam in the lake with his friends, the moment that he used his math homework as toilet paper, or the hours he spent working in a calligraphy-pen-carving workshop. Because of his humble beginnings, he’s maintained a sense of selflessness and a natural motivation for self improvement. His hard work throughout his childhood opened up the opportunities that let him get to where he is now, but he has never forgotten where he came from. He’s the most thankful person I know, and the most optimistic person I know. He is a rose that grew from concrete.

    • I love this!! This is very inspiring and so beautifully written, Julia ❤ Your dad seems like a really great role model!!

  41. A person I know that was a “rose that grew from concrete” would have to be my really close family friend. She grew up in a family of six, two brothers, one sister, and two parents. Unfortunately, her parents began fighting a lot, while she was still at a very young age. She was always very close with her mom and never really bonded as much with her dad. It seemed most of her siblings were closer or connected better with their mom because she always showered them with gifts making them naturally drawn towards her. However, after a while, when her parents couldn’t handle the fighting anymore, they divorced. The court then gave, my family friend and her siblings, the opportunity to choose to live with their mom or dad. At this point my friend was about 16 years old and knew she would be leaving for college in about two years and knew that if she didn’t get to know her dad now, she might never. So, while her siblings made the easy decision to stay with their mom, she made the courageous decision to lived with her dad. Although, her mom was very upset with her descion, my friend was very happy. She became extremely close with her dad like she had never been before. Although, her story isn’t as rough or sensitive as other stories I’ve read, I think her story is still very important to show. Most people always want to do what is safe rather then what may be the better decision. She now, as she is a mother and wife, understands how important it is to share and spread her love and be the best role model for them.

  42. The rose that came from concrete was my brother in his late 20s. My brother didn’t do great in school even though he was really smart but was such a talented piano and bass player. He was in a band and while they were in san francisco he was staying at a hotel where he tried to open the window but it shattered, cutting off 3 of his fingers on his right hand (graphic sorry). But he had them sewn back together and has very minimal nerve feeling in his fingers and it is very hard to move them. The doctor told my brother he would never be able to do music again. However, here my brother is, to this day still playing with his band and has learned how to play without moving his fingers individually but with his hand instead. I think it shows how we take our body and health for granted. My brother was put in cement but flourished out of it. He is one of my biggest inspirations and he is currently on the east coast on tour with his band (: .

  43. My Dad is a hard worker. My dad came from a family of 7. I’m very impressed. Being an only child and getting a lot of attention I can’t relate to how my dad felt. My Dad was motivated. He’s a great example of a hard worker. I look up to him. He is a great example of starting rough. He has a stable job that he has earned. Go Dad!

  44. I only met him recently but he inspires me so much. He had a tumor in his shoulder as a baby and the doctors told his family that he would need to wait 6 months. By then, it would would probably be cancerous and ginormous. Miraculously, The Discovery Channel was there and offered to help him get his surgery if they could do a documentary about it. It was during a time where his dog had died and his whole family was going through really hard times. It’s terrifying to be not even a year old and have to go through all this surgery and this massive tumor. It’s crazy to think that he might not even be alive if it wasn’t for a TV network volunteering to help. He now has this huge scar on his shoulder and has grown to make jokes out of it. He likes to say that an alligator bit him when he was little. But, he’s grown to accept it and himself and I’m thankful every day for him and how far he’s come.

  45. When I think of a rose that came from concrete, I can’t help but think of my mom. My mom was born and raised in rather rural India and moved to America after she married my dad in 1998. It was definitely a culture shock and difficult at first, but she eventually got the hang of it. My brother was born in 1999 and then I followed in 2002, but being 27 and having two kids with a working job was stressful. When I was four years old in 2006, my parents got a divorce and my mom had to move out with the two of us with only a mere 6000 dollars. My dad was still in graduate school, so my mom had to manage work, paying the bills, and getting us childcare. I’m not going to lie when I say that some days were very rough as a kid. With my eating problem and my brother’s hand issues, my mom had a whole lot on her plate. If I was in her position, I would have lost so much hope, but instead, she soared and has done so many amazing things. She has raised through the ranks at Amgen being a director, inspired many with her passion, but most importantly has taught me and my brother the value of hard work and the preciousness of faith. My mom has sacrificed so much of her life for the benefit of my brother and I and I cannot thank her enough for teaching me the value of life and the value of hard work. Being a young, single parent is hard, especially being a foreigner in America, but my mother rose from the concrete and created the best life possible for my brother and I.

  46. The rose that grew from concrete would have to be my mom. My mom doesn’t talk about her past too often, but throughout my life I’ve come to know some things that I can now see have shaped her to be who she is today. As the youngest of 9 siblings, and with considerable age gaps between each of her siblings, my mom was by herself a lot of the time, and she has told me that she used to do homework for fun when she was bored, or she would go to summer school every year because she just wanted something to do. I love this detail about my mom because I can see how she turned her disadvantage of being lonely into a want to learn, which would give her so many more opportunities in the future. As far as I know, one of the biggest hardships my mom has gone through was going through pregnancy at the age of seventeen. A young girl with a bright future ahead of her made a mistake, but not one that would stop her. With the help of my abuela, my mom was able to graduate high school, then college, while raising a baby son. I can only imagine the difficulty of being in this situation at such a young age, but my mom persevered through it and made the best of it. And looking back, I believe I can speak on her behalf when saying that she wouldn’t change anything, because she just adores my big brother and personally, I don’t want to know what my life would be like without him in it. My mom is a rose that grew from her concrete because she may have taken part in building that obstacle, but just the same she is the one that made it through. My mom’s story teaches me that not everything has to end up as badly as it seems it should. My family may be different but I wouldn’t change it for anything.

  47. When My grandfather was only 9 years old, women and children from his part of town were ordered to report to the local bus station for what they said was “relocation” out of harm’s way when the German army retreated from the area as the Russians advanced during World War II. They were now officially refugees and were separated from my great grandfather and the eldest son. They boarded a medical train which stopped often due to air raids which caused them to take cover in nearby woods, trenches and fields. During part of their journey, the portion of the train that they were riding in was de-linked from the rest of the train. However, the front part of the train which had continued on its voyage ended up being blown up while traveling over a bridge, so the de-coupling of the train certainly saved his family’s lives. They endured many hardships, but ended up in a town called Timelkam in Austria where they were reunited with my great grandfather and the eldest son. After the war, my grandfather’s family of 8 worked hard and finally earned enough money to come to the USA. They landed in New York City on June 29, 1950. My grandfather worked hard to overcome the language barrier and eventually attended Brooklyn Technical High School on scholarship. In the spring of 1953, he set the record for earning the highest average grades at the school. He earned a Bachelor of Science degree in engineering from Cooper Union University. After graduating, he began a 35 year career in engineering with Hughes Aircraft Company, moved to California, and earned a Master of Science in Mechanical Engineering from USC. Much of my grandfather’s career is considered top secret because he was involved with many aerospace programs associated with military aircraft, radars, cockpit displays and systems. One thing we do know was that he was the program manager for one of the first successful “head up displays” for military aircraft. He was successful and holds the first US patent for the head up display in an automobile (it was a shiny red corvette!). Today, the head up display is featured as a safety device in BMW, Audi, Lexus and GM cars. I’ve always loved and admired his story of scrappy survival, hard work, determination and eventual success.

  48. The rose that i chose who grows out of concrete is one of my best friends. She is someone who’s just shown the most insane strength and determination through everything. I’ve known this girl since 2nd grade and I’ve watched her go through and continually go through the most difficult situations. She has grown up in a split home and has constantly been told by everyone around her that she isn’t good enough and that she isn’t able to do things, and is constantly cast aside by people and even, at times, by her own family. She has experienced and thought of things that I would never wish upon anyone, and this has brought her to her lowest points, but despite this she has taken things into her own hands and taken steps to help herself, and she continues to push through everything that comes at her. She has shown me that you can hit rock bottom multiple times and still bounce back and be successful, that no matter what people say you can do something if you want it bad enough and are willing to work for it. Not only is she resilient, but her experiences have made her have a greater love and compassion for those around her and she always is there for others, even though many people in her life haven’t been there for her, and because of this I believe she is the perfect example of a rose growing out of concrete.

  49. One of my family’s good friends is an artist who was diagnosed with Lou Gehrig’s disease. He’s a painter and had an incredibly difficult time expressing his creativity once he lost motor function in his hands. In order to keep painting, he trained himself to paint with his feet. My family actually has many of his paintings that he made using his feet hanging in my house. Today, he no longer has motor function in his feet, and so can no longer paint that way. Now he creates his art using computer graphic design. I believe his story is truly an example of a rose growing from the concrete because no matter how much worse his disease progresses, our family friend always finds a way to continue making his art.

  50. The rose that grew from concrete in my life is my grandpa. He sacrificed more than I’ll ever know in order to provide a life for himself and his family. My grandpa told me that he vividly remembers his father telling him to pursue medicine because it was an unfulfilled dream of my great-grandfather. My grandpa recalls kneeling down and obediently telling his father, “yes, of course.” Growing up in a large family was quite difficult, and he recalls the hardships of life in Taiwan. His circumstances were not ideal most of the time, yet he persevered. He studied day and night in Taiwan and eventually married my grandmother. When my dad was two years old, they moved to New York to gain citizenship and allow my grandfather to study anesthesiology at the Albert Einstein College of Medicine. Growing up, I always imagined that anesthesiology was his passion, the calling in life he had from a young age. My grandpa tells me now that growing up, he was never interested in medicine—he only pursued it because of the wishes of my great-grandfather. By forgoing his personal wishes, he demonstrated complete selflessness in the situation. Not only was he sacrificing his passion, he was sacrificing years upon years of his life that he could have spent pursuing what he loved rather than studying to become an anesthesiologist, an occupation that was not nearly as appealing to him as finance was. Times were also hard when he was in medical school, but he always put his all into providing for the family and guaranteeing the best lifestyle for his three sons as possible. I consider my grandpa a rose that grew from concrete because he was able to overcome obstacles as a child and set aside his personal desires to fulfill the wishes of my great-grandfather, all while providing for his family. While it may not seem heroic or inspirational to blindly accept what other people tell you or expect of you, I consider his actions noble in that he consciously decided to put aside his desires because of the sacrifices my great-grandfather made that allowed him the opportunity to study medicine. In doing so, he recognized and honored the sacrifices of my great-grandfather. When I go over to his house to visit and learn about trading on the Stock Market, I know where I get my interest in finance from and how exciting being retired and able to trade is for him. It’s this bubbling over of enthusiasm and the glint in his eye when we study the Stock Market together that make me so incredibly appreciative of the sacrifices he made so that my dad and my sisters, cousins, and I would be able to pursue our passions.

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