This I Believe Illinois

Weekdays at 7:45 AM, 12:45 PM, 4:45 PM, Annually each February

Thank you for making This I Believe 2017 a success. Ten selected essays as read by their authors are now airing and available below.

This I Believe Illinois is our annual essay program for Illinois high school seniors. An expression of where their minds are as they prepare to enter the adult world. 

Starting as a five minute radio program hosted by Edward R. Murrow in 1951, This I Believe gave contributors the chance to write a short essay articulating what they believe. Since then the idea has been adopted by NPR Illinois. 

2017 is the eleventh class to share what they believe with NPR Illinois!

The State Journal-Register supports this effort by printing the selected essays in The Voice section of the newspaper.

Credit CREDIT ROTARY CLUB OF SPRINGFIELD SUNRISE

NPR Illinois airs the essays in their authors' voices. The audio is streamed below. In 2007, the Rotary Club of Springfield Sunrise, partnered with NPR Illinois to sponsor This I Believe Illinois. Each year ten selected authors read their essays at a Rotary Club meeting where the club presents each student with a $100 scholarship.

Selected Authors

2017

2016

2015

2014

2013

2012

2011

2010

2009

2008

2007

  • Lauren Ross - Rochester HS- I Believe Strength Comes from Friendship
  • Sarah Brunson - Springfield HS - Religious Tolerance Could Bring Peace 
  • Michael DeFraties - Springfield HS - Slander as Entertainment 
  • Diandra Wilson, Southeast HS - I Believe in Vanity
  • Libby Morse - Springfield HS - The Joy a Photograph Brings 
  • Nick Murphy - Southeast HS - Taking Things for Granted
  • Caitlyn Barnes - Southeast HS - Hypocrisy of Our Education System
  • Sam Schoenburg - Springfield HS - I Believe in Family
  • Krista Walbert - Southeast HS - Inspiration in Any Situation
  • McKenna Blair - Lanphier HS - You Do Not Have to Be an Adult to Make a Difference

This I Believe: Size Matters

Feb 17, 2015
Kaytlin Jacoby
Rachel Lattimore / NPR Illinois | 91.9 UIS

I have never been thin.  Since my earliest memory, “normal-size” clothing has not fit me.  I remember being seven, distressed that I had to shop the tired floral prints of the “husky” sizes.  I remember the day I was told that I was too big to wear two-piece swimsuits.  I remember that I stopped swimming entirely because no swim suit fit comfortably.

This I Believe: The Power Of Trying

Feb 16, 2015
Aron Suszko headshot
Rachel Lattimore / NPR Illinois | 91.9 UIS

I have always believed in something that few seem to grasp. Something that you wouldn’t expect. I believe in trying. Not success, not failure but simply trying. The power of trying does not make itself very apparent because there are too many people (myself included) that aren’t brave enough to step up to the challenge. When I was diagnosed with attention deficit disorder, I felt the world had dealt me a losing hand, and there was nothing that I could do. I slogged through life for the longest time, content that my fate of failure was sealed.

This I Believe: 26 Letters

Feb 28, 2014
Amelia Paries headshot
Dan LoGrasso / NPR Illinois | 91.9 UIS

From the moment we're born, we're bombarded with an endless array of words. Long, short, pretty, ugly—but all meaningless. Until we’re taught to read and write. But, even before then, we have to learn the alphabet. It's amazing, truly, how many ways those 26 little letters can be manipulated; the seemingly endless combinations that make up the language we know and take for granted. I love words. I love how they can take simple bedding and turn it into softly ruffled sheets, bathed in sleepy whispers and sweet dreams.

This I Believe: The Most Powerful Element

Feb 27, 2014
Kelsey Hubble headshot
Randy Eccles / NPR Illinois | 91.9 UIS

During my freshman year of high school, my circle of friends was fairly limited.  I had three friends who I associated with daily, and I was perfectly content with this.  In place of expanding my social standing and friend group, I spent a good number of my days walking home after school and doing nothing besides laying in my room listening to music.  This might sound lonely to some, but I was happy doing it, so I felt no need to change.  Music was and is one of the greatest companions I’ve had, and one of the best tools I feel people can use to connect with themselves, and even others.

This I Believe: Snow Cones

Feb 26, 2014
Alex Brosseau headshot
courtesy of subject

I used to live right on the busiest street in the world. Maybe, I’m exaggerating a little bit, but it seemed pretty busy to me. Cars zoomed up and down the street, traveling around the world, and I wasn’t allowed to go past my block on my own, which now seems to be very logical, but at the time it seemed like the most ridiculous rule. On hot summer weeks when I was cooped up to my huge lawn and vast house, my sole escape was Snow Cone Tuesday.

This I Believe: The Sneetches

Feb 25, 2014
Gabrielle Gardner headshot
Dan LoGrasso / NPR Illinois | 91.9 UIS

I believe that Sneetches are Sneetches. This probably sounds ridiculous to most people, but it is a belief that has greatly affected my outlook on life. In the children’s story “The Sneetches” by Dr. Seuss there is a very important lesson about people and their differences. In this story, there are Sneetches that live on the beach (or the beaches, as Dr. Seuss would say).  Some of these Sneetches were born with big stars on their bellies while others hadn’t anything on theirs.

This I Believe: Great Sacrifices Give Great Rewards

Feb 24, 2014
Pauline Kersjes - Springfield High School
Dan LoGrasso / NPR Illinois | 91.9 UIS

    It is July 31st. I am standing in an airport far away from here. I turn around for the last time and see my parents and three sisters waving goodbye with tears running down their faces. I have not cried a single tear today. I think the tears are all gone. I cried enough yesterday. I am way too excited to cry anyway. Today it is finally going to happen. I have been waiting for this moment for almost two years. I believe that this year is going to be worth it.

This I Believe: In Dirt

Feb 21, 2014
Abagail Perrero headshot
Randy Eccles / NPR Illinois | 91.9 UIS

I believe in Saturday mornings with my mother. Waking up in the morning, the sun just barely peeking in through my curtains. Struggling into last night’s jeans, eyes still glued shut with sleep. 

This I Believe: Gay Forever, Hell For Never

Feb 20, 2014
Gabe Knott headshot
Dan LoGrasso / NPR Illinois | 91.9 UIS

You’re going to hell. Yes, you, the young male wearing the loud shirt, scarf, and skinny jeans. Yes, you, the student tutor with a 3.8 GPA, who aspires to have a family, who has goals for your life and a career in mind and who was baptized in a Southern Baptist church; none of that matters when the TRUTH is that you aren’t natural and neither are your actions.

This I Believe: Independence Creates Happiness

Feb 19, 2014
Stepanie Dunn headshot
Dan LoGrasso / NPR Illinois | 91.9 UIS

In middle school I asked  myself a lot of questions. Why do I have multiple teachers? Why is my body changing so much? Why do I feel attraction to all these boys? One thing I thought I knew was love; I loved my family so I completely understood what love was and what it took to love someone for life, right? In eighth grade I started “dating” Joe. It was the stereotypical boyfriend/girlfriend, middle school relationship. Our parents drove us to and from our houses watching movies, playing video games, and going to the park to kick a soccer ball around.

This I Believe: The Real Me

Feb 18, 2014
Katherine Bowman
Dan LoGrasso / NPR Illinois | 91.9 UIS

I don’t choose to wear makeup. Some people may look at me with disdain, and others wonder why I opt out of such a common practice. I see girls around me with perfect faces, unable to tell that they are covered with the cloudy foundation, and with their eyes painted just right so that I find it easy to look and hard to look away. But I myself find no yearning to be “beautiful,” or to look “flawless” simply so that others may be more visually attracted to me.

This I Believe: In Childhood

Mar 16, 2009
Anthony Cohen headshot
NPR Illinois | 91.9 UIS

Perhaps you have heard the saying “everything I need to know, I learned in Kindergarten”.  I believe that that is true. All of the traits that can make us better, more worthwhile people can be rediscovered by following the examples of children. In short, I believe in the simple purity and boundlessness of childhood, where tolerance, hope and excitement for life come naturally.  

This I Believe: A Koala Bear

Jan 29, 2007
NPR Illinois | 91.9 UIS

Lauren Ross - Rochester HS

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