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Gabriel Beno

1275

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Finalist

Bio

When I was younger, I received a self publishing kit. It sat on the table until one day I opened it and began using one of the pages. Afterward, I spent an afternoon writing a short story and later, it came in the mail. Since then, I’ve dreamed of becoming an Author. My writings were mine; they weren’t to be graded. I could take however long to describe every feeling and thought with as much detail as I desired. I could explore the horizon of a distant world, philosophize, express my feelings in poetry, or anything else my mind would crave. Where my spoken words would fail, my written words would succeed. I wasn’t confined to the social norms of conversation and could express my feelings in abstract ways. It allowed me to say all I wished to without falling victim to a stutter or misplaced word. Writing gave me the ability to share my greatest thoughts and wonders with anyone willing to read; it allowed me to transport someone somewhere the rules didn’t apply. Writing allowed me to fight my problems on my terms, defeating them not with sword and shield, but with pen and paper. It has taught me lessons, made me challenge my beliefs, and allowed me to grow. Despite all that writing means to me, I’ve had to make peace with a truth: authors die in poverty. To realize your greatest passion will remain a hobby hurts, but one thing failing has taught me, is to never give up. With a degree as flexible as Management, I can build a business to aid kids who wish to achieve their literary dreams. I can share with the world an infinite number of ideas and help make dreams come true.

Education

Smoky Hill High School

High School
2020 - 2024

Miscellaneous

  • Desired degree level:

    Bachelor's degree program

  • Majors of interest:

    • Business, Management, Marketing, and Related Support Services, Other
    • Rhetoric and Composition/Writing Studies
  • Not planning to go to medical school
  • Career

    • Dream career field:

      Writing and Editing

    • Dream career goals:

      My long term goal is to run a business that helps young writers like myself achieve stardom

      Arts

      • SHHS Drama

        Theatre
        2023 One-Acts, 2023 Radium Girls
        2023 – Present

      Future Interests

      Advocacy

      Politics

      Volunteering

      Philanthropy

      Entrepreneurship

      'Once Upon a Time in Hollywood' Insight Scholarship
      To me, "Once Upon a Time in Hollywood" doesn't necessarily mean the place itself. To me, it means: "Once upon a time, there was a dreamer". If you asked a random person on the street to describe Hollywood, you would hear them describe and recount those massive letters on that hill, through their descriptions you could picture the palm trees, the beach, and most importantly, the American film industry. Now, if you asked that same person to point out where exactly Hollywood was on a map of California, they'd, at most, just gesture at the LA area. This isn't because it's some backwater in the middle of nowhere, it's because its exact location doesn't matter; it's an idea, a promised land. "Once Upon a Time in Hollywood" doesn't lay out the setting for a mediocre story, it establishes a tone of "making it big". This theme is synonymous with the underdog story, a recounting of a legend built up from rags to riches. It's a story of red-carpet fame, adoring fans, and ceaseless decadence. It is a place where the days are fraught with overflowing excess rather than suffocating debt. Hollywood at its core is an ideology; a utopia where the greatest problems are the many choices of how large of a house to buy or that one must swat away paparazzi like mosquitos. The idea of Hollywood is an artist's Elysium, where recognition finally comes to them and they no longer must embody the term "starving artist". To them, Hollywood is where they were picked out of the sea of thousands of pretenders. Because they were more talented and more deserving than the rest. It is the fantasy of someone who wants to grab an opportunity to leave a lasting mark on the world, but that's all it is: a fantasy. Why else would the words "once upon a time" be chosen? Fame isn't garnered through talent or hard work, one must sacrifice their soul for it. Hollywood, in reality, is a predator meant to snatch up talent and drain it of any and all profitability. It's a meat grinder that will chew up a thousand scrappy artists for the sake of which trend is most profitable to follow. Hollywood is a place where those same legends who once crawled out of the dingiest alleyways are driven mad by their self-indulgence, trapped forever in their labyrinthine mansions, never to find a way out of their marbled tombs. Cinderella stories are just that; as unreal as the fairy godmother and the pumpkin carriage that carts Cinderella off to the ball. Because underdogs are only around until the populous comes to be disgusted by, or worse, bored of them, and after that, they're put down. To me, "Once Upon a Time in Hollywood" is the start of a tragedy.
      RonranGlee Literary Scholarship
      Cormac McCarthy’s Blood Meridian is a masterpiece of literature suffused with a slew of complex ideas, motifs, and themes that allow for many interpretations of both individual quotes and the work as a whole. With this specific instance, I wish to go in-depth on not only the quote itself but also how it is deeply connected to all of human nature, as I believe it comments on humanity’s ever-perpetual cycle of ignorance and arrogance. Firstly, we must ask what human nature is. Contrary to common belief, it is quite simple. It is a fallacy to see humanity as anything more than a creature washed up upon the shores of our Earth by the endless sea of evolution and the tides of time. We are naught more than animals who, despite being as sophisticated as we believe ourselves to be, are subject to our instincts. We prowl about our territories, hungering, fearing, and breeding like beast. Wars are fought over borders, peoples are ostracized and punished due to different qualities, and unwanted children are born due to their parents’ inability to control their libido. We cower at the thought of the unknown and unfamiliar, so we rationalize and lash out at it, although not with claws or fangs, but with blades, bullets, and bombs. That is what makes humanity different; our blessing and curse: our mind. Humanity’s innate hatred and fear guide our every decision, although we possess the power to alter the very atoms in our grasp. None other than illness can parallel our capacity for destruction, for even locusts cannot eat ash. And such is the existential conundrum facing us and the world: Our mind’s ability has bestowed upon us the ability to slowly and surely gnaw through our biological boundaries. And with no boundaries, we spread, like an infection to every corner of the Earth. But what could we do once we reached the edge and faced only ourselves? We did the same thing a wild animal does when faced with a mirror; we attacked it. We possess an evolutionary arrogance from which we willingly pull at every turn, but our mind is still far too primitive to control itself. We reach higher and higher atop our metaphorical Tower of Babbel, yet we claw and bite at ourselves as we climb, causing evermore destruction as we do so, for we are the chimp with the nuclear machine gun. We must know, and therefore we must do everything we can to fill the gaps where our perceptions fail. We do not understand our nature and therefore we lie, claiming we are made in some god’s image when in reality it is the exact opposite. We idealize and romanticize ourselves, placing ourselves upon a pedestal of divinity, yet we are merely a sum of the most destructive parts of life. Worse yet is our unwillingness, or rather, our inability to learn of our own destruction. “Now the son whose father's existence in this world is historical and speculative even before the son has entered it in a bad way. All his life he carries before him the idol of a perfection to which he can never attain. The father dead has euchred his son of his patrimony. For it is the death of the father to which the son is entitled and to which he is heir, more than his goods. He will not hear of the small mean ways that tempered the man in life. He will not see him struggling in follies of his own devising. No. The world which he inherits bears him false witness. He is broken before a frozen god and he will never find his way.” (Cormac McCarthy; Blood Meridian; Page 152) Many interpret this as the vital role a father plays in the development of their children, and it is not without reason; McCarthy’s works are laden with motifs and themes regarding fatherhood; however, I feel it can be interpreted as something pertaining to all of human nature, as the relation mentioned is not simply personal in nature. More evidence can be found on the other pages of the novel. Blood Meridian is not a novel about fatherhood, it is the story of a number of violent individuals who do violent things. It portrays a group of savage men who commit brutal acts against Native Americans, so they may spend their efforts on their animalistic desires, trading scalps for money to spend on alcohol and prostitutes in a cycle that eventually brings them all to an animalistic end. It is never even mentioned whether or not the majority of characters do or do not possess fathers. McCarthy wishes not to show you what life without a father can be, he wishes to show you man unleashed. The excerpt, “the small mean ways that tempered the man in life”, is not only about the child’s direct perception of the fleeting moments of fatherly fallibility that prevent a sense of inferiority in them but also a major component of human life as a whole, as our perception and therefore our thought processes are molded by what is and is not seen by us. Since our nativity, humanity has been locked in a form of cycle; one forever tied to our previously mentioned inability to not simply perceive but to truly see what our own history is. Humanity has doomed itself over and over to build from twig and mud when merely moments before we built from steel and marble. Humanity is crushed beneath the wheel while we push it forward; like a snake with its tail in its mouth, writhing and coiling as though for even an instant it may muscle a victory from its own jaws. Yet at the nativity of a new cycle, we gaze upon our own “frozen gods” in the form of the ruins of the previous civilizations. We look upon them with admiration or envy, vowing to reconstruct ourselves in that very image; one of a supposed divinity not known by the dregs of the current time who rummage in the mud. But this divinity was never present, never even existent in history’s endless pages. With this admiration, we doom ourselves to repeat the same follies, blissfully ignorant to the ticking clock, as we drink in our foolish admiration of things deified but no longer existent, unaware of the small mean things that tempered that frozen god we build in tribute to. Humanity knows not of our previous failures because we deny ourselves the ability to gaze backward at our history. This perpetuation can be seen even in our most modern societies, across the sea, and across the political aisle. Even within a nation or state, unified under one banner, our arrogance appears. All hate each other over ideas not their own; over ideas placed into their head by animals. Republican vs Democrat, Capitalism vs Communism, Democracy vs Authoritarianism, ad nauseam. None of the ideas are young, they’re primeval ideologies spun by people long dead and still fought and died over by modern man. At all times we stand on the precipice of another great collapse, one pushing yet another cycle into motion, where fatherless sons shall flounder beneath monuments and statues they know not the context of, as they themselves bear false witness to frozen gods. That is what the quote is about; not the raising of a child, but of man and its ceaseless arrogance born of ignorance; ever-present, even as it crawls forth from the ashes of what it has wrought.