BY DEISY VARGAS

School: Elsie Allen High School, Santa Rosa, CA

Dream Job: broadcaster, television host

First-choice College: UC Berkeley

Favorite Activity: Volunteering around my community

Favorite Food: Shrimp

This review first ran Sept. 13, 2010.

When I feel like my dreams are hopeless, the film “The Blind Side” reminds me not to give up and to work hard for what I want to accomplish in life. This film showed me how there are individuals with big hearts who are willing to help others to better their lives. I know this is true because throughout my life, I have received help from many people who have influenced me in becoming who I am now.

Michael Oher (Quinton Aaron) in “The Blind Side” has been in foster care with different families because his mom was a drug addict. Soon he gets enrolled into a Christian school after his friend’s dad convinced the school to let him in because he was a natural athlete. One day Leigh Anne Tuohy (Sandra Bullock) notices Michael walking late at night. She makes her husband stop the car and offers Michael a place to spend the night.

Michael ends up spending Thanksgiving with the Tuohy family and slowly over time he starts to be part of the family. Leigh Ann gets Michael enrolled in the football team at school. Michael’s extraordinary performance catches the eyes of many college coaches. The problem is that Michael needs a 2.5 GPA to get a NCAA Division I Scholarship and his current GPA is too low. Leigh Ann hires a private tutor for Michael and he ends up meeting the GPA requirement. I personally relate to this scene in the film because I have been through something very similar.

In my middle school years and my early years of high school, I wasn’t really interested in school. It wasn’t until my junior year I started to learn more about colleges. Then Vince Harper of Community Action Partnership of Sonoma County began to give me opportunities to start planning my future. Vince also made resources available to me. For example, I was able to use a computer to do my homework since I didn’t have one. Soon, with all this help I ended up getting A’s and B’s and now I want to attend UC Berkeley and one day become a broadcaster. I consider Vince Harper to be my tutor since he plays a big part in my grades and accomplishments.

Michael Oher ends up going to Ole Miss (the University of Mississippi) and making everybody proud of him. I want to do the same one day.

***

Thanks, Deisy. Before we get to the questions, here’s a trailer for this film, for which Sandra Bullock won the Academy Award for Best Actress.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=5hn5-pxWM6k

Now, some questions to get the conversation going.

* For those who’ve seen it, what did you think of “The Blind Side?”

* What is your favorite sports movie?

* Does “The Blind Side” show how far we’ve come in bridging the gaps of race and economic class, or how far we still have to go?

* For those like Michael Oher and Daisy who’ve been helped by someone else, would you share a little about how it changed your life?