"Somewhere over the rainbow," - my favorite song from The Wizard of Oz from the first time I saw it at age five to now. The very thought of leaving behind the black and white reality to escape to a land of color and excitement fascinated me. Each time in viewing this movie my imagination was filled with the dreams of what lay outside of Kemp. Dorothy Gayle was an only child living on a farm on the Kansas countryside.

Without the companionship of any other children, Dorothy grew up alone with Auntie Em and Uncle Henry. Like Dorothy, I, too, grew up in the country without any brothers or sisters. Every day was spent longing for a friend to play with, and a colorful place filled with adventure and excitement. I found all of this in The Wizard of Oz.

I stared in awe as Dorothy made her way down the yellow brick road, I sat in suspense as the grains inside the Wicked Witch's hourglass quickly trickled down, I cheered as Dorothy's fearless friends came to her rescue. I had watched the movie so many times that I had actually begun to believe that I was Dorothy. I remember skipping around the kitchen in a pair of my mother's red heels and chanting loudly, " Ding-dong, the witch is dead!" Till the age of nine I desperately pleaded with my mother to change my name to Dorothy. My imagination had truly come to life because of this movie.

As I began to grow older, the impact of The Wizard of Oz began to change. My thoughts of course were still focused on Dorothy, but I was beginning to connect more to her character then her "sparkly shoes." Her miraculous escape from reality to Oz intrigued me. Now I, too, will be caught up in my own whirlwind of adventure as I face the challenges of college and begin my journey down the "yellow brick road of academia." The Scarecrow's quest for a brain encouraged my own quest for knowledge and instilled in me the importance of a strong educational foundation. Just as Dorothy found comfort in the friendships made with the Scarecrow, Tin Man, and Cowardly Lion, I look forward to making new friends and forming relationships that are lifelong. This movie taught me the importance of friendship, and having someone to look out for you. Dorothy would have never survived her journey without the love and support of her friends.

But, Dorothy also learns that more important then her friends is family. She slowly began to realize this throughout her journey. Though her friends were very comforting, they could not replace her family. It's very important to have a strong familial support system. I'm very lucky to find this in my own family, and each time I watch The Wizard of Oz, I am reminded of just how blessed I am. In the end, Dorothy finds that the power to return home had lain within her from the very beginning.

Her magnificent journey was brought to a halt by a few words, "There's no place like home." These words truly speak volumes. It doesn't matter where you are or how far away you travel, nothing can replace home. I would have never learned this or the many other powerful lessons without The Wizard.