A second trait or quality required of a pirate is the ability to embrace risks and challenges and conform to their demands. Upon Jean Lafitte’s acceptance of Andrew Jackson’s proposal, Lafitte faced the challenge of aiding the United States to fend off the British Navy, risking his own men’s lives at the expense of another country’s. Acquiring new risks and challenges allows me to keep my head in check. Coming from an educational background that included three years of home schooling while living on our boat, and five years of academically demanding private school, I naively assumed that the transition to a public high school at the 9th grade would be a breeze. In light of this belief, I enrolled in the International Baccalaureate program. However, coming from this educational atmosphere, I found the transition to a large high school difficult, for I hadn’t yet developed adequate time management skills, and therefore received mediocre grades. Nevertheless, beginning in my junior year, I became focused and put forth the necessary effort and skills to demonstrate my academic potential.
Jean Lafitte’s patronage at the Battle of New Orleans impelled his transformation from pirate to patriot. General Andrew Jackson no longer spoke of Lafitte and his Baratarians as “hellish banditti”, but as true volunteer patriots. If there ever were a pirate cut out for this exchange of persona, it was Lafitte himself. Similarly, I too have adopted these roles of leadership. Currently, I am the captain of my high school lacrosse team, participant of ASB, and owner of a small lawn care business. Assuming these roles has forced me to create and maintain a balanced life through organization, commitment, communication, and credibility.
In order to preserve the loyal ties with his Baratarians when fighting a neighbor of their homeland for a country thousands of miles from their roots, it was essential for Lafitte to defend his pride. Maintaining pride is a fundamental aspect in defining the person I am. I continually stay in touch with my heritage, whether it is through daily conversations in French with my father or one of my two brothers, or our annual trips to France to visit family. Currently my family is building a house in the southern French Mediterranean village St. Paul de Vence, where my father was raised and where his side of the family resides. My French and pirate roots flow perpetually through my blood. I am outwardly an honest seafarer, but like Jean Laffitte, un pirate au coeur.
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