It’s practically impossible for a high school senior to envision 40 years down the road. I couldn’t do in 1979.
To be honest, I thought I’d probably stay in the town where I grew up, but my career choice and progression in the journalism field instead took me to various spots in Mississippi.
It has been four decades since I left Hamilton (Ala.) High School with my diploma. Back in January, I returned to my alma mater for a basketball reunion, and to be honest, it was like I’d never left. I visited familiar classrooms, looked in the old gym and saw several classmates, former teachers and coaches and lots and lots of good friends.
My daughter Erin, who is finishing her junior year in high school, and I had a lot of conversation last week about high school awards. She had to miss Awards Night at Marshall Academy Thursday night because her brother, Andy, was getting engaged to a wonderful young lady, Brooke Bullock, in Hattiesburg, and we had a very special dinner to attend.
Erin was torn – because she loves her school, her classmates and friends, and her teachers. But even more, she loves her brother.
“The awards will be here when you get back (from Hattiesburg),” she was told by someone helping guide her decision. “Family comes first.” I recall most of the awards I received in high school. I worked hard to achieve them and I was appreciative.
But more so, I remember my mother, who made sacrifice after sacrifice to support me, guide me and attend all of my activities. I remember the help of all my family, sisters Vickie and Gayla and others. And I remember the teachers and the coaches and the friends. I recall the relationships the most.
And I’m blessed that my mom taught me to put God first in all decisions and all endeavors.
One teacher I admired the most, Barbara Clark Weeks, gave us this message in our senior edition of the school newspaper. It is entitled “Climb Til Your Dreams Come True” and was written by Helen Steiner Rice.
“Often your tasks will be many,
And more than you think you can do.
Often the road will be rugged And the hills unsurmountable, too.
But always remember,
the hills ahead
Are never as steep as they seem,
And with Faith in your heart start upward
And climb til you reach your dream.
For nothing in life that is worth
Is ever too hard to achieve If you have the courage to try it
And you have the Faith to believe.
For Faith is a force that is greater
Than knowledge or power or skill
And many defeats turn in to triumph
If you trust in God’s wisdom and will.
For Faith is a motivator of mountains,
There’s nothing that God cannot do
So start out today
with Faith in your heart
And “Climb Til Your Dreams Come True.”