Yesterday, I had an opportunity to influence the lives of some young men and women. I was invited to speak to some amazing students at the Church Hill Academy in Richmond. Initially they looked at me as just another person in a suit & tie coming to talk down to them for the next 20 minutes. However, I know the importance and the power that comes from connecting with people. I was invited to share my “not-so-smooth” journey from substitute teacher in Caroline County to Director of School Safety & Disciplinary Hearing Officer for Hanover County Public Schools.
I told them about how I got kicked out of UVA because I did too much partying and not enough studying (I did return and graduated), how I was unemployed and on welfare, how I had to sheepishly return to substitute teaching, how the death of my dad in June 2011 nearly derailed this doctoral journey, and how disappointed I was when I did not get the Principal’s job at my former school.
My purpose for sharing was to show them that despite past actions and/or poor decisions, it is never too late to begin the rest of their lives. I told them that GOD does not make mistakes, so I believed something better was in store for me – and the Director’s position was that something. Before we realized it, the planned 20-minute speech was over an hour. Some of them opened up and reflected on regrettable moments in their past. Without a doubt, I could have spent the rest of the day getting to know them. I eagerly look forward to being invited back to check on their progress. They are remarkable! Be well everyone, and I wish all of you a Happy Thanksgiving.