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Newburg Middle School Students Present “Find Your Greatness Within” Essays

Each year, students at Newburg Middle School participate in the “Find Your Greatness Within” essay contest during Black History Month. Students are asked to identify an African American figure who has inspired them towards greatness and to choose one or more of Ali’s six core principles that they think they exhibit and to explain how that trait will help them reach their “greatness.”

Enjoy some of these entries from the students at Newburg Middle School!

The Person Who Inspired the World

by Jasmine Moody

One of the most inspiring persons in the world is Muhammad Ali. I think he inspires almost every person who has learned his story. The first time I read his story I was in the 3rd grade. I didn’t really care, but now that I am old enough I can understand what he had to go through. He told me that everyone has greatness within. I’m amazed at how dedicate, giving, and confident he was. That is why I have decided to write on the greatest…… Muhammad Ali.

The thing I like most about him is his confidence. He believed in himself when no one wanted him. He was very cocky which made his confidence on a high level. A quote that gives an example of how confident he was is “It’s hard to be humble when you’re as great as I am.” Muhammad Ali’s confidence inspires me to have a lot of confidence in what I do. One of the things this helps me with is when I play soccer I have to believe that I am the greatest. Muhammad Ali believed in himself, his ability’s, and his future. That is why confidence stood out to me the most.

Another thing that stands out to me is his dedication or the act of devoting all ones energy, effort, and abilities to a certain task. He never gave up, even when the journey was hard. He had to train slowly for about a year. If he gave up he wouldn’t be what he is today. A quote that proves his dedication is “I hated every minute of training but I said ‘don’t quit suffer now and live the rest of your life as a champion’.” I like this quote because I have to be dedicated to any sport if I want to be good and happy. I can’t give up just like him when it is hard. That is why his dedication inspires me to be the best and try my best.

The last and 3rd thing of his that inspires me is his giving to the world or to present without expecting something in return. The reason this principal is represented by him is after he retired from boxing, he went all over the world to make a difference and volunteer. A quote that matches this ability is “The service you do for others is the rent you pay for your room here on earth.”

Muhammad Ali has many other good things about him. Like his spirituality, respect, and conviction. Muhammad Ali has not wasted his life, with his leadership and inspiration. I wrote about Ali’s confidence, dedication, and giving because I need those principals every day. He never wasted his time on anything. He was always giving and inspirational. That is why I think Muhammad Ali inspired the world.

How Muhammad Ali Inspires Greatness in Me

by Sophia Baete

When I think of the name Muhammad Ali I thin k of a champion from within. One thing I love about Muhammad Ali is that he never had to prove himself. He just knew and believed in himself enough to be able to perform at his best ability at all times. Ali never quit. He knew that his hard work was worth something and at the end it paid off. Ali once said “I hated every minute of training, but I said, ‘don’t quit. Suffer now and live the rest of your life as a champion’.”

I hope to one day have the confidence of Muhammad Ali. I want to be fearless and believe in myself like he did himself. Confidence is key in my life because I am a vocalist and I want to be able to perform anytime and anyplace and think nothing of it. I know why Ali achieved his greatness and that is because of his six principles: confidence, conviction, dedication, giving, respect, and spirituality. He followed these principals and lived by them and look where he is now. He has achieved so much greatness in his life and I hope to one day achieve the same greatness.

The second principle I try to live by every day is dedication. Dedication means a lot to me because I take my extracurricular activities very seriously. I make a promise to myself that if I start something I finish it with no bailing out. I have a dream to one day become a champion whether it’s through sports or the arts. As Ali once said “Champions are made from something they have deep inside them—a desire, a dream, a vision.”

My last principle I live by every day is to be a giver. I believe in giving back to those who are less fortunate than myself. Ali once said,” The service you do for others is the rent you pay for your room on earth.” I believe Ali shows an example of this everyday by helping children to find their inner greatness and also giving back to his community by being a great humanitarian.

These are three of Ali’s six principles that I try to live by every day. I believe that Ali is the definition of an amazing man. I am not trying to imply that Ali is perfect. I am trying to explain that, because of his efforts and accomplishments in life, he is thought of as a role model to not just kids but adults also. For these reasons Ali inspires greatness in me.

The Greatness Within

by Dasia Finch

“To be a great champion you must believe you are the best. If you’re not, pretend you are.” Ali inspires all kind of young people including me, he leads me to find the greatness within. Ali had six principles that helps his self find greatness; confidence, conviction, dedication, giving, respect, and spirituality. Confidence, dedication, and giving is what helps me find the greatness within.

Ali was a strong man. He was not accepted into public places just like all the other African-Americans. He once said, “It’s hard to be humble when you’re as great as I am.” What he said was confident, and he is leading me to be more confident. Being confident is just another step forward to finding greatness. When I stepped into the Muhammad Ali Center I wasn’t all as confident as I was when I walked out of there. As an athlete I believe that it is very important to be confident in yourself because if you don’t you will not succeed and that is something that I experienced once before in my life. When I started competition in sports I wasn’t very confident, I never believed in myself. But now going to the Ali Center and hearing and learning of what he has accomplished with him being confident I know that I should be confident.

Dedication is the key to me. Being in competitive sports you have to be dedicated because if you don’t you will not get any better. “It’s lack of faith that makes people afraid of meeting challenges, and I believed in myself.” Muhammad was dedicated into his work. He taught me to “set your goal, focus, drive, deliver.” That helps me find the greatness within because it teaches me to never give up, keep going and set my eyes on the target. I learned that when you reach that goal , the thrill of your triumph will help propel you to the next one. I remember the day when I was not all that dedicated, but now I think to myself, would Muhammad Ali skip practices and let his self down and not get any better? “No!” So now I tell myself just go and get it over with, at least your team is not thinking that you are letting them down.

There are some people out in this world who is not very fortunate, they are in need. As a 13 year old I am not rich by no means and I used to think that by helping someone you have to lend them money and one day they have to pay you back. No! “The service you do for others is the rent you pay for your room here on Earth.” But I learned that to help somebody you don’t have to give them money, and maybe if I can’t physically help thus one person I know I can help by giving back. Realizing all that Ali has done it made me want to join Girl Scouts. While giving it’s also a way to having fun while doing it. Also he has made want to encourage my family to start helping out at the homeless shelter.

The definition of Ali is a thoughtful, affectionate man who loves children, and responds warmly to fans. He truly helped me find the confidence, dedication, and giving within to find my greatest. “Don’t count the days, make the days count.”

Float Like a Butterfly Sting Like A Bee That Is Muhammad Ali!

by Sarah McCaushand

“If my mind can conceive it and my heart can believe it—then I can achieve it”. One of the famous quotes from the one and only Muhammad Ali. He inspires a lot of people to be great everyday including me, I want to live up to that standard, be a hero, be a role model.

The first thing that comes to mind when you say Muhammad Ali is confidence. Muhammad has 6 principles one of them is confidence that inspires me and many other to find our greatness within. For example, when I applied for the AP program in 6th grade I didn’t really think I would get in, I knew people were smarter than me and more capable of the work. That was a lack of confidence. So I asked myself since it was black history month, What would Muhammad Ali do? I realized he didn’t become the best without thinking he could be the best.

When I went with my class to Stage 1 for a play called Cassius Clay. I remember hearing that he spent 6 hours a day in a gym that takes dedication. That inspired me to dance I loved watch people dance. When I was little I dance at church for a year, unfortunately shortly after I quit because I was afraid I was dragging the team back. To this day I regret not trying hard to catch up with the team. I had a lack of confidence. Now I am practicing to be on the team next year and I know for a fact that they can refuse me.

The final way Muhammad Ali inspired me is with his conviction. I’m sure a lot of people didn’t think he was good at the beginning of his career but he knew he was great, so he became great. When I was younger I always said what the smart people said when they would ask a question to the class even if I was not one-hundred percent sure. I found out that they were wrong and the answer that I guessed first was correct know I now that I’m smart enough to be in this class and that my peers make mistake as well. When I was small my sister all was told me that I was a mess up and I believe them. I was lacking in conviction but I now I know that Muhammad Ali has enough for both of us.

Now I have told you what Muhammad Ali did to inspire me to great my greatness from within and the greatness that he and I share. I am going to learn from these experiences and if I happen again well that life. So just remember that with those six principles and the inspiration of Muhammad Ali everything is possible. If it can happen to me then it can happen to you and don’t just keep this for yourself, help other that lost their greatness or the people that are still looking for theirs.



The Muhammad Ali Center, a 501(c)3 corporation, was co-founded by Muhammad Ali and his wife Lonnie in their hometown of Louisville, Kentucky. The international cultural center promotes the six core principles of Muhammad Ali (Confidence, Conviction, Dedication, Giving, Respect, and Spirituality) in ways that inspire personal and global greatness and provides programming and events around the focus areas of education, gender equity, and global citizenship. Its newest initiative, Generation Ali, fosters a new generation of leaders to contribute positively to their communities and to change the world for the better. The Center’s headquarters also contains an award-winning museum experience. For more information, please visit