I. In the Beginning

Late on one warmer than average Twin Cities September night, the greatest event to ever happen to my parents occurred: I was born. It was September 5, 1987, Reagan was president, the Los Lobos cover of La Bamba was at the top of the charts, and gas was 95 cents a gallon. It was truly a great time to be American.

I am the oldest sibling in my family, having a younger sister and bother. Between my sister and me there are three years and between her and my brother there are another three years. Now before my siblings came along, things were pretty nice for me. I spent a lot of time with my mom, as my dad worked the night shift. Some of my earliest memories are from those days, staying up late and making brownies or pudding or cookies with her while watching The Mary Tyler Moore Show. Throughout those early years I had my mom all to myself and that is how I always wanted it to stay.

After my sister came along, there was less excitement on my end and more jealousy, at least from my what I can remember. I was not too keen on sharing mom. At any rate, those days are pretty uninteresting for my story. At age six I began kindergarten and it was very exciting. It had been instilled in me that school was very important. I worked hard to be successful, to learn to write my name, to read, and to make friends, but I was shy, so making friends was not easy. But the kids I did like, I got along with really well. By the end of my kindergarten year, I loved school so much that I wanted to live there. I could never understand why other kids hated school as much as they did.

One of the stranger things about the kids at school was that other kids went to something called “church” on Sundays. I wasn’t entirely sure what it meant, but it seemed like the popular thing to do among my peers at the time. I asked my mom about going, and usually got a positive response, but we never ended up doing it. There were some moments that I was so embarrassed by the fact that we didn’t go that, I remember lying to a classmate once about going to church, making up a time for our service, while trying to coordinate a time to meet for a group project in my sixth grade science class. I just felt uncomfortable being one of the kids who did not go to church.

Outside of school I was involved in Cub Scouts and then Boy Scouts, making it all the way to Eagle, which is still one of my greatest achievements, an achievement I would not have attained if my parents had not continually pushed and prodded me. In high school I was also a staff member at the local BSA council’s youth leader training camp at the beginning of each summer. Looking back, I would have to say that my experience on camp staff may have been the single most formative thing that prepared me to become the man I am today. Without it I probably would have had a completely different path during and after high school.

Finally, as I wrap up this summary introduction, I graduated from Anoka High School in 2006. I graduated with highest honors, and letters in Academics, DECA, and Spanish. When I walked across the stage at Goodrich Field, where the Tornadoes played football every Friday, and received my diploma, I could not have been happier. I was soon to leave for college, where, with any luck, I could finally be whoever I wanted to be.