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A legacy is a gift from the past to better the future. (Pixabay)

A legacy is a gift from the past to better the future. (Pixabay)

A legacy is a gift from the past to better the future. (Pixabay)

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What is your legacy? The word legacy is hard to define. A dictionary would say it is your inheritance, but most people can agree that it is your impact on the world. However, even that “definition” is different for each person.

“I think a legacy is what people are going to remember you by. For example, when I’m gone, how I am remembered will be my legacy. Having said that, what I view as a legacy might be different from someone else’s view,” says assistant principal Trina Freeman.

Most people go through life not knowing how they will impact the people around them. We hope to leave our mark, but no matter how much we hope, we do not know what we will leave behind or how we will be remembered by others around us.

“I hope the legacy I leave for my students is to always know there is nothing they can’t achieve if they try hard enough, to never accept the status quo, and never be afraid to ask why,” says master teacher Nita Lyda.

The legacies of other people around us influence our perception of a legacy every day, in ways that are not always immediate or intentional. We carry their legacies with us as we make our own.

“My violin teacher could read me. She tried to bring something out in me that I didn’t see at the time. I think that’s what teachers do: they mold you into the person you are today, especially those with such personalities to where they are known and respected in their small world,” says English teacher Jessica Cheek.

Although legacies can represent a positive way to be remembered, not all are viewed as something to be proud of. Ben Tillman had a positive impact of his contributions to Clemson University, but he also had a negative impact because he was a racist. How a person lives their life can leave negative legacies and feelings.

“I think there can be negative legacies. Those who come after the people who make those negative legacies would be making decisions and putting things into practice differently because of the negative legacy left behind. I am a firm believer in the fact that people can change,” says Freeman.

However, not everyone thinks a legacy itself can be changed.

“You can gain a new perspective of a legacy, and that perspective can change your views, but you can’t change the impact they left or what they did, only the view of that legacy. We can only learn from the negative legacies,” says junior Reagan Palladino.

Legacies can be infinite or temporary. The ability to alter a legacy of someone from the distant or recent past is all in the hands of the following people and generations.

“If a legacy is positive, I hope it will be endless, but if it is negative, I hope the next generation can change it. I definitely think anyone can make a positive impact; generations after me can choose to make a better legacy and not to follow mine. A legacy allows people to realize what we do matters beyond us and it is our small opportunity to make things better for people who follow us,” says Lyda.

Legacies are important to many people and have a great impact when they are positive. However, not everyone thinks leaving a legacy behind is necessary or important.

“Legacies are not particularly important to me as long as, for a brief period, I had a positive impact. I would rather have no legacy than make a lasting negative impression,” says Mrs. Cheek.

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