The time between the last few weeks of high school and the first few days of adulthood is a scary place. It’s a no-man’s land where questions have no answers and the unknown looms dauntingly ahead. If you’ve made it through that time between getting your high school diploma and sitting in your first college desk or receiving that first “real job” paycheck, then you know the feeling well. You were an 18-year-old making life-forming decisions.
When I went off to college, I was just a number, a nameless face in a crowd of scared little freshmen. My soccer coach knew my name, of course, but to the people sitting behind a desk, I was just a financial aide request and a student ID number. They took my check, handed me a dorm key and a schedule and sent me on my way. The college president certainly didn’t know me by name, and he certainly didn’t meet with me personally to discuss my future.
At that time, I never thought I would be writing a column in a local newspaper. Someone gave me a push in the right direction, and I jumped at the chance. Now, I receive a lot of high-fives about this column. I hear I make people smile, sometimes cry, often think. But readers don’t always get to hear about what happens as a result of these ramblings from a regular a ol’ high school English teacher. So, please allow me to share how a solid, safe bridge between the known and the unknown was built for one of our District’s finest graduates. It wasn’t built by some stranger behind a desk. It was built by the president of the college herself, personally and face to face.
On May 9, you may have read about a young graduate from my school (Jordan High) who felt small amidst his crosstown peers from the bigger schools. I sat with him countless times in class and listened to his dreams of attending an automotive school way up North. He dreamed big, and I liked that about him.
But often, dreams need a little boost to come true. Many times, they may need to be tweaked a bit. And sometimes, they come true right down the street, not way up North. That’s what happened to this young man.
The president of one of our local colleges read about this young man who needed a boost, so she offered him one. A huge one. Immediately after reading the column, she wrote me an email asking to be connected with him, and the ball began rolling.
Just a few days after graduation, this Salutatorian entered the summer term Certified Manufacturing Specialist Program at Columbus Technical College with all tuition, fees, and books paid in full. Because he took dual enrollment courses while in high school, some of his core subjects already were complete, so he began with even more of a head start. And in a few weeks, he will begin his fall semester, aiming to complete the Automotive Technology Program. Within walking distance of his home, CTC was a great choice, a dream-maker choice.
All it took was a little push, a little face to face presentation of options. An informal introduction. A newspaper column. An email. And for us all, setting a dream in motion may just take a simple phone call. Putting a face to a number. Linking a story with a person. Or getting out from behind a desk. You never really know what dreams you could be speaking life into, and as we all know, there are lots of dreams to help come true.