By Josue Lopez Calderon
This post has also been published on buzzfeed
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As a result of watching the Miss Universe Beauty Pageant for the first time, I thought to myself, if I were to compare the Miss Universe vs. Miss World Beauty Pageants can their data imply a lot more than just glitz and glam? The answer is yes, the pageants are not only glitz, they're really international politics.

1. Miss Universe was founded in 1952 in the U.S. and since 1996 is owned and operated by Donald Trump's Miss Universe Organization.
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In February of 2008, my cousin Armando Zavala played the cruelest birthday joke that anyone can perform on a relative, or so I first thought. Upon opening a blank card, I immediately checked to see if either cash or a gift card might have slipped out; however, neither of the two was present. Thus, to the best of my ability I tried to hold back the perplexed look on my face and pretended to read the front of the card; after all, he was sitting right next to me. But deep down, I asked myself three questions. First, why did he do this to me? Second, should I continue pretending to read the front of the card? Finally, should I say thank you? At that instant, he must have read my mind because he laughed and then proceeded to give me the real gift, a red paperclip. Soon after, I really contemplated saying, are you serious? A paperclip?! Fortunately I wisely refrained, because what happened next changed my outlook on life forever.  He gave me the YouTube link for “The One Red Paperclip”, and challenged me to barter for something bigger than a house. 

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Senator Gil Cedillo
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Josue and U.S. Treasurer Rosie Rios
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Edith Cecil & Michelle Pickard
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Congressman Joaquin Castro
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Juan Manuel Ley Lopez
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Mayor Antonio Villaraigosa
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Rod Carew
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Team Mexico
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Dr. Allan Goodman
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Assistant Secretary Evan Ryan
 
 
    When I was a senior at Servite High School, I remember getting a phone call from my dad who received a bright white envelope which contained a letter from the UCLA admissions office.  While on the phone with me, he opened the letter and emphatically told me the great news, “Yash” in a thick Spanish accent, “You’re going to be a UCLA bruin!” I was so excited that I immediately called all of my friends, all five of them. Then and there, I had this cocky feeling that I had the whole world ahead of me because alas, all of my hard work had finally come to fruition. I had beaten the odds by getting in, but more importantly; this newfound success gave my parents a feeling of self-actualization since their son was able to accomplish what they never had the opportunity to do, go to college.

    Three months after I received the best letter of my life, I was about to face my biggest challenge, the fight for my life. A day after my graduation I became terribly ill. After about an hour of trying to convince my parents that I was ok, they took me to the ER. Upon a few observations, the staff had no idea what was wrong with me, so what did they do next? They shrugged their shoulders and took a gamble by sending me home. Unlucky for them, the very next day I showed up in much worse shape. This time they did the right thing and admitted me into the hospital. They ran countless tests that I soon had numerous needles in both arms. I didn’t know the cause of my illness, but I did know that the doctors immediately gave me two blood transfusions in order to stop the drastic blood loss. To their amazement, my body completely rejected the blood; as a result, they immediately gave my parents some waiver forms and asked for permission to continue some procedures.  Next thing I know, I awoke from what I thought was a nap and saw my doctors huddled around me. They told me that the crisis was averted, but that I had a long road toward recovery. 

     Five weeks after I left the hospital, I received another bright white envelope from the UCLA admissions office. I opened it with much enthusiasm, but only to be heartbroken. UCLA had regretfully informed me that my admission had been revoked due to my subpar academic performance during my last high school semester. At that moment, I began to weep, because everything that I had worked so hard for had vanished before it even began.  I called everyone I knew but nobody responded, so I decided to call UCLA again. I pleaded my case and asked if there was anything I could do to contest this decision. A very nice lady gave me specific instructions and told me that I had less than a 1% chance of success. I took heed to her instructions and wasted no time. First, I called St. Joseph’s Hospital in Orange California and asked them for records.  Second, I went to Santa Ana College and asked for my transcript, which included the two courses I took after my hospitalization. Finally, I pulled out a white sheet of paper and began to write the most important letter of my young career. 

     After I poured my heart and soul into that 8-1/2” x 11’’multipurpose sheet of paper, which I purchased from Staples, I waited patiently for what seemed like months for a response. After much prayer and two weeks of waiting, I received another bright white envelope from the UCLA admissions office. This time, I nervously opened the letter and read the following, “Dear Josue Lopez, Once again, congratulations on your admission to UCLA.” At that moment, I was given a second chance, and for this I am eternally humbled and grateful because had I not been given that opportunity I would not be where I am today. So whoever you are, and no matter how challenging your obstacle may be, know that when life places a brick wall in your path, sometimes you climb over it, but other times you just run through it.
 
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    I have had some very unique opportunities to serve in the U.N and the U.S. Federal Government, but getting there wasn't very easy; therefore, I want to share my story in hopes of inspiring other young individuals to consider entrepreneurship or public service during a time of much need.

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