Shark Attack


“Be a shark.” In a sea of fish, the shark is known as the greatest predator in the big blue ocean. I had always lived under the notion that the shark’s intimidating demeanor and powerful position were due to its size and strength. If I were a shrimp swimming through the ocean, I would swim fast too.

But Gian Paul Gonzalez, motivational speaker, teacher, and benefactor for underprivileged students in New Jersey, explained that the shark’s size is just a front. It is not the sharpness of his teeth, or the strength of his jaw. Whenever a shark bites into something, it loses its teeth. But every 24 hours, its teeth are replaced with a new set of chompers to bite down with.

Failure is inevitable. But it is not a necessarily a bad thing. For those who give in to defeat, they have simply let failure win. But for those who take that failure and challenge themselves to overcome it the next time around, they are the sharks, the top predators of the sea.

Gian Paul Gonzalez’s father, a successful football player, was the man who told Gonzalez about the sharks. As they sat at the aquarium, nearly an hour had passed and all they had done was stare at the shark tank. Finally, Gian Paul asked his father why they continued to sit there, just watching. Gonzalez’s father explained that, despite the fact that sharks lose their teeth, they always grow new, stronger ones at the end of each day. As a result, Gonzalez finally felt motivated to pursue life with an open mind and never-wavering determination.

At Pascack Hills, each and every one of us can find the shark within us. Whether we are the captain of the baseball team, or a freshman who is still late to class, there is a shark in there somewhere, fighting to break free. Our failure should be our motivation.

As high school students, Gonzalez explained that failure can be overwhelming. A failed test grade, a poor essay, or worst of all, a college rejection, can seem like the end of the world. However, we must remember that every 24 hours we grow a new set of teeth, so we are fully prepared to attack the next obstacle that comes our way. Be a shark.