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Samantha Saporito:
2014 Winner
FDNY Ladder 154

Samantha Saporito

Winning Essay

What are the characteristics of a legend and of a hero? A legend is a person or persons who have made an impact in society. A legend has accomplished something in history that will always be remembered. A legend can be a hero or even famous, but they don’t have to be. A hero on the other hand has done something that is selfless and brave. A hero is remembered for an act of bravery or kindness, which may not have necessarily made them famous or even a legend. A hero is known for a courageous act and their contributions to others. There are many differences and similarities between a legend and a hero. A legend that has impacted society can also be known as a hero who has done something amazing. The difference between a legend and a hero is that a legend can be a person in history such as musicians like Elvis Presley or the Beatles. These are people in history that are remembered for their musical talents as well as the impact they had on the music industry. They led the music industry into new directions and were considered leaders and legends in their own time. At least this was what my parents always told me (I don’t really listen to that kind of music). They are not considered heroes since they didn’t actually perform any acts of bravery or heroism. There are many heroes also that are not considered legends. To me the heroes that I will always remember are the 343 firefighters that ran into the World Trade Center on September 11, 2001. I was only 5 years old when this happened. I remember listening to the stories that my mom and dad tell, I can tell that they were heroes to them and everyone in the country. They may not be legends today but they are definitely heroes. Some day that may change and the world may see them as both legends and heroes.

When I was asked to write about a legend, I wanted to find someone who was not only a legend but was also known as a hero in his or her lifetime. There were many different people that I thought about when I realized that most of the people I wrote down were women. I had women on my list from Jacqueline Kennedy Onassis to Princess Diana. I remember seeing a cute old lady with a blue and white sari on a show that my mom was watching. I asked my mom “who is that cute little old lady”, and she said Mother Teresa. I find old people to be adorable and full of wisdom. She reminded me a lot of my nona and nono (that’s what I call my grandparents on my mom’s side). I started to read about Mother Teresa and the amazing things she did in history. The characteristics that she portrayed just inspired me to write about her.

I chose Mother Teresa because of all the many things that she stands for. She is a person in history that inspired many people and was so selfless in her own life. She became a nun at the age of 18 to commit herself to God. While she was a nun she took a vow of a life of poverty, chastity, and obedience. In today’s generation, I don’t believe that many people could handle giving up these three things. She also traveled to the poorest areas of India helping and teaching High School girls in poverty stricken areas. I remember thinking that when you hear of someone going to poor areas to help out; it usually is an actor who have so much money they can afford to travel and give their money to the poor. She then received a calling from Christ to go to Calcutta India and dedicate her life to helping the city’s poorest and sickest people. Mother Teresa felt that was her calling and without thinking of herself went ahead and committed to this life of doing things for the poor. She wasn’t rich or famous; she did this because it was her calling. She went into India with a goal to aid, “the unwanted”, “the unloved”, and “the uncared for”. She started a congregation called “Missionaries of Charity”. This congregation was started with 12 Roman Catholic women who were dedicated to the poor. She also built many orphanages, nursing homes and family clinics that would help the poor of the land. While doing all these wonderful things she was recognized by Pope Paul VI which allowed her to expand her teachings and charities internationally instead of only in India. The biggest honor that she received came in 1979 when she received the Nobel Peace Prize for her work “in bringing help to suffering humanity”. By the time Mother Teresa died in 1997 at the age of 87, the “Missionaries of Charity” had over 4000 members with 610 foundations in over 123 countries. I admire Mother Teresa because even until her dying day she remained humble. I admire that of her. I think devoting your life to helping others is the noblest thing in the world. I wish I had a quarter of her personality and devotion to others. This cute little old lady was an amazing woman who did amazing things.

Not all legends make the world a better place. A good example of a legend that did not make the world a better place is Hitler. He was a horrible person who killed innocent people for his own gain. He didn’t just kill these people, he held them in concentration camps and tortured them and had them executed in masses. Hitler inflicted human suffering that resulted in over 40 million deaths. Some people may question if he was a legend since he was such a despised person. As I mentioned before a legend is someone that is remembered for impacting our history. Hitler did just that; he did things that impacted many countries and human beings.

These are two very different legends; Mother Theresa spent her life saving underprivileged people in poverty stricken countries. Hitler went and killed all those that were not like him. In life we find ourselves admiring and despising specific people in history. It is strange in life how we remember legends that are both inspiring to us and also those that did such horrible things in life.


We would like to wish Samantha Saporito the best of luck moving on to Kean University. Congratulations!

My name is Samantha Saporito, I am 18 years old and live in Lindenhurst, New York. I am one of three children. I have an older brother, Freddie and a younger sister, Julianna. My dad is a Captain for the New York City Fire Department and my mom is a Director of Human Resources for a hospital in Long Island. They have always supported me in everything that I do. I love to go to the beach and spend time with my friends and family. I have 14 first cousins who all live very close to me. I love going to family parties and spending time with them and my aunts, uncles and especially my grandparents. My mom’s family comes from Croatia and I have been there 4 times now and I love it. I enjoy listening to music and attending concerts. I think I am a very funny person. My aunt tells me all the time that I should be a comedian.

My high school experience has been great. I am part of the Italian club and was able to travel to Italy this year and experience the culture first hand. That was an adventure in my life that I will never forget. I have also been very active in the past 4 years of high school. I played on the Lindenhurst Varsity Volleyball team as well as the Long Island Volleyball Academy. I traveled to many places while playing the sport; I loved the competition and the team spirit. I was also a volunteer for the Grass Roots program that the Volleyball Academy ran for children between the ages of 5 and 13. I enjoyed teaching children how to play the sport because the look on their faces when they were able to actually play was priceless. I think this was one of the main reasons that made me choose Physical Education as a major in college.

I am so excited to start this new journey into my future. I look forward to spending the next 4 years at Kean University in New Jersey. The Physical Education Program is a very robust program that will help prepare me for what the future will bring.

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