It took awhile.
After teaching nearly 500 students how to write "This I Believe" essays, I finally got off my procrastinating hiney and submitted my own. Since writing mine, I've had the pleasure of reading and watching another 100 or so 16-year-olds present their personal narratives in my World Literatures class. And, I also helped bring the essay project to other teachers in my district. Now, all 10th grade students have an opportunity to share their beliefs with their peers and teachers. It is a significant lesson in the power of voice - for teachers and students alike.
I just found out yesterday that the essay I submitted was published to the NPR "This I Believe" website - http://thisibelieve.org/essay/70654/. And just like my students, I can't express the thrill I felt at learning my piece was published. I hope that I can find ways for the next 600 students I teach to experience that same thrill of having their voice heard.