Identify someone you regard as a hero, a leader or role model whom you admire. Describe how this person has influenced your development.
My single most influential hero is my father. He has transmitted two principles on which I have founded my actions and success: hard work and honesty.
My father worked harder than any man I know to arrive where he is today. Fifty years ago, growing up in the aftermath of World War II, he was the third son of peasants in the poor Southern Italy. He left his family at the age of 10 to study in a school one hundred kilometers away—fifty years ago, that was an enormous distance. By the time he entered university, he had to work to support himself. He was often tempted to return home and work in the fields, but he felt a moral obligation to improve the conditions of his parents, and he felt that the best way to do that would be by acquiring a solid education. Thanks to his persistence and hard work, he is now a high school headmaster.
My father likes to repeat the Latin saying “gutta cavat lapidem,” which means “a drop of water can break the rock.” I have always felt that I have a duty to improve my father’s life—to go on breaking as much rock as possible, so to speak. The second principle I abide by is honesty. At the age of 14, I decided to attend a school in the city where my father worked. Since he is a politician, he decided to move to another town, in order to avoid a conflict of interests. He refused to follow the bribery and corruption rampant in his professional field. I therefore want to be a leader like my father, who is widely respected for his achievements and moral integrity.