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Contestant No.10 /age 17, grade 11th/

            In this culture that thrives on the superficial, maintaining one’s purity can be very difficult. It requires self-determination, confidence, friendship, and most of all purpose. One has to actively participate in the decision to keep pure; it’s not something that can be forced on someone or engrained through dogmatic reasoning. One has to take ownership over their purity. If something else makes that decision for them, then that person will not be able to protect their purity from the problems and distractions of the real world.

            High school is a critical time in a young person’s life, and without a strong personal belief in the value of purity, youths will undoubtedly fall to the wayside. The temptations of security and acceptance are lures that can entice a person to relinquish their standards. In a culture that does not see purity’s value; I have often found myself standing out in the crowd because of my beliefs. However, I have found that the only way to not be cast out as a socially decrepit person, but also maintain my personal standards is to radiate an aura of confidence. This shows others that I have an inner strength.  Often times, even if another person doesn’t agree with those beliefs; they are still able to recognize and respect that strength.

            In the emotional turmoil of high school, it is necessary to have strong friends you can rely on to avoid sinking beneath the waves of social apathy. Sometimes one’s confidence can fail and leave you vulnerable to the outside lifestyle pressures that surround us. Friendships can provide a safety net that you can count on when you personal strength is not enough. Undoubtedly, there will be low points in life where you question your standards. But the journey down the road of life does not have to be a lonely one; good, solid friends can help guide you through the darker times. Once a person has the confidence and inner strength to resist the mainstream culture, people will naturally gravitate towards their inner strength and commitment to something greater. These other people may not fully understand your motivation and reasons behind your actions, but they can sense your greatness and want to warm up to its glow.

            Determination, self confidence and friendship are all necessary aspects of maintaining purity, but they are just the structure. The more important thing is the blueprint, or underlying purpose and motivation that the entire belief system is built around. Without some kind of purpose to guide and justify one’s actions, one can very easily be swept away.

            For me, my reason for maintaining my purity is so that I can be able to fully and completely love my future wife, without any reservations and doubts. I know that when I do meet that one person, I will want nothing more than to give everything to her, and my precious purity will be a gift that she can cherish. This belief is so strong in my mind that it cannot be erased, no matter what the contemporary culture may throw at me. It is my starting point from which I try to build the complex structure that is my life. But even if this building of life is knocked down or destroyed, I still have my foundation belief that is embedded in the ground. In fact, this belief is more than a foundation, it is the very earth my life is build on.

            Purity should be seen as a gift, not as a burden. A person cannot go through their crucial formative years living as a begrudged and confused outcast. In order to live a happy life and still maintain a moral standard you must inner strength and vitality. Determination, confidence, friendship and purpose are the tools necessary to create the life of fulfillment everybody desires.