I am the youngest of a family of five that resides in Buffalo, New York. An industrialized city, Buffalo is home to nearly 260,000 people who love their snowy, sleet-filled streets. The city’s opportunities for education have enabled me to learn and grow through my 15 years here, taking advantage of the University of Buffalo’s Gifted Math Program that advanced my knowledge of mathematics, and the prolific snowfall each year has made my family avid skiers. My two sisters have also had a great impact on me through our life in Buffalo, with my older sister, Grace, infecting me with her love of reading, and my middle sister, Liesl, helping guide me in athletics.
Our city is home to two professional sports teams, the Bills (NFL) and the Sabres (NHL), which are beloved by the vast majority of our friends and family. Often on days after games, the school will be abuzz with the sounds of people discussing key plays and integral figures in how our season will turn out.
While my family is not intense sports fans, it would be hard to live in Buffalo without being affected by the game-day fervor. This sense of city unity has developed in me the knowledge that many people can be united behind a common goal, and it has shown me how lots of people can find peace with each other through rallying behind something.
My family does travel often, and we have been exposed to a lot of other cultures and communities.
Seeing how other groups of people live heightens in me how people can come together and how they can be divided. Had I not grown up in Buffalo, a city in which people are united behind football and hockey, I just hope I would have seen what people unite behind in another city. If I had grown up in Utah, where we have a ski house, I’m sure I would have a very different perspective of the world. It’s an exercise in futility to try and understand how things could have been different, and I am just glad I can have perspective into how so many people live. The milieu in which I grew up had a great emphasis upon education as well as athletics, with both my parents being attorneys and my father being a USA National Team rower. If we had not lived in Buffalo, or if my family had been very different, I’m sure I would be writing from a substantially different view, better or worse. Buffalo has an active artistic and musical setting as well, being home to the Albright-Knox Art Gallery, which I’ve visited many times, as well as the Shea’s Performing Arts Center, which has been the home to many a theatrical performance. All of these different influences have allowed me to become a rounded individual, letting me experience many different exposures, which I think is great for youth.