Essay
In today's decadent society, many things are not as they should be. As a member of my generation, I can look around at my fellow contemporaries, and say that many of their values are misplaced, or wrong altogether. The reason for this diversion from a life of strong values is not the fault of our generation alone, however. We, as teenagers, are targeted by an adult world, many of whose values are so far gone, it is almost as if they never had any to start with. And, also, the majority of teenagers' main source of incoming information, television, is chock full of poor role models, and disgusting, often perverse forms entertainment. Am I a total cynic? No. I know that there are still good people out there, who have strong values, and are not driven by the forces of money, greed and materialism. But often, these islands in a sea of decadence are overwashed and overlooked. For that reason, I will trumpet those few heroes of society who still believe in the ideals of personal success, and the betterment of the world, rather than those who would sacrifice it for superficial gain.

A very good example of someone like this is Mario Lemieux, owner and player for the Pittsburgh Penguins. As a former hockey player, I have always admired Lenieux, who exhibits good sportsmanship, and is one of the greatest hockey players of all time. Lemieux stunned the world through the 90's, leading the team to two Stanley Cups, and also leading the league in scoring for several seasons. When Lemieux retired, many thought they would never see the day again when Lenieux would once again take the ice. Then, years after his retirement, the team went into bankruptcy. Lemieux, surprising everyone, bought the team out of bankruptcy, at a monetary loss to himself. And when the team was in a slump, Mario then decided to take the skates once more to help his team out of the gutter. Again, Lemieux gave up money to do this because he could not afford to pay himself a salary. And even after he came back, Lemieux is arguably one of the best players in the game.

Lemieux's personal decisions to give up his material monetary possessions to play for personal satisfaction is a great example to us all.

Why this essay received a score of 6
This clearly focused essay demonstrates clear and consistent mastery. The writer exhibits outstanding critical thinking in supporting the point of view that in "today's decadent society" shaped by "poor role models" and "disgusting, often perverse forms of entertainment," there are "those few heroes of society who still believe in the ideals of personal success, and the betterment of the world." The sustained example of Mario Lemieux provides effective and insightful support for this position, as the writer smoothly progresses through a chronological account of Lemieux's career that emphasizes not only the hockey player's skill but also his "good sportsmanship" and several "personal decisions to give up his material monetary possessions to play for personal satisfaction." These occurred when Lemieux "bought the team out of bankruptcy" by buying the team himself and when he returned to the game after retirement even though "he could not afford to pay himself a salary." Overall, this well organized essay demonstrates clear coherence. Throughout, the essay shows skillful use of language in its selection of a varied, accurate, and apt vocabulary and demonstrates meaningful variety in sentence structure ("Am I a total cynic? No. I know that there are still good people out there, who have strong values, and are not driven by the forces of money, greed, and materialism. But often, these islands in a sea of decadence are overwashed and overlooked. For that reason, I will trumpet those few heroes of society who still believe in the ideals of personal success, and the betterment of the world"). This outstanding response receives a score of 6.

Source: The College Board

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