I’ll never forget the day as long as I live.
I couldn’t wait to get to my high school senior advanced placement English class that day. As per tradition, the students in that class brought their college acceptance letters to share with each other. There were always cheers and congratulations all around and I couldn’t wait; I had in my hands an early acceptance letter to my first choice of schools.
When I stood up in class to share my news, the teacher cut me off abruptly.
“You’re going WHERE?” he sneered.
I repeated myself.
“Well, that just pretty much guarantees you’ll never amount to anything,” he said.
You could hear a pin drop in that classroom as my fellow students shifted uncomfortably in their seats.
I wanted to cry.
I sat down quietly and let my hair fall like a curtain over my face, hiding the tears that forced their way out of my eyes.
My English teacher that year, that mean man, was convinced that if you didn’t go to one of the “top tier” schools in the area, your education would be worth nothing.
I quickly realized that he was wrong.
You get out of an education what you put into it, whether you’re at an Ivy League university or the local junior college.
Twenty years removed from my college graduation, I’m in exactly the job I’d always planned for and studied for. Sure, some of my classmates who went on to the so-called “right” schools hold prestigious jobs in their fields but so have some of my classmates who went to vocational or technical schools, to the military or straight to work right out of high school.
It’s high school graduation time, and I’ve been so excited to see the children of my friends and colleagues get so excited about starting college or choosing a career path.
I hope they know that no matter what they choose, if they work hard and infuse their choices with passion, conviction, dedication and hard work, then they will always, ALWAYS amount to something.