If you don’t stand for something…

While I have been at Thayer Learning Center, I have learned many things. One of the most important things that I have learned is that you have to stand up for everything that you believe in. A common phrase at Thayer Learning Center is: “If you don’t stand for something you will fall for anything.”

I have been at Thayer Learning Center for about 18 months. When I was at home, I could care less about anything that anybody said to me. The only thing I really cared about was how I could get some money to go and buy more drugs or where the biggest party would be that weekend. I did a lot of things that I thought I was getting away with. I thought I knew it all until I found out how wrong I was. I arrived here sometime during the day, and that is when this experience for me started. I tried pretty much everything you could think of to try and go home, from begging my mom and dad to saying in my letters that if they ever wanted to see me again they had better take me home. I soon got over that little escapade.

I spent about 5 months in boot camp, and mentally it was very difficult. It seemed like every time I was about to move up I would do something stupid and end up back in a red shirt. Then, I would get discouraged, give up and go to the corner. It took a really long time for me to realize that quitting is not the answer. When I finally moved up to Residency, I was so excited. I was in residency for about two weeks and then, surprisingly enough, I did something stupid. I got into trouble, went down to boot camp and immediately quit. This went on for about two months, and then something finally clicked in my brain. I said to myself “You have to get yourself together and move up through this program.” After that, I started to work extremely hard and I moved up to the status of Senior Resident. Then it happened again. I started to relax and, then I started to slide down hill very slowly. I made a huge mistake that I have regretted ever since I did it. I went from a Senior Resident to a resident and eventually landed right back in boot camp. While in boot camp, I did another thing I never should have done. I tried to run away. Most of the people that work here know that I only made it down the street a little ways. For those of you in this program right now please listen to this: there is absolutely nowhere to go.

I moved back up to residency, then back up to Senior Residency within about a week. I moved back up quickly but not without a lot of hard work. Maybe it was the same Zig Ziglar tape being played over and over again saying “if you’re in something get in it if you’re not get out” that made me realize my mistakes, but I honestly think it was an eye opening conversation that I had with my dad and my step mom that helped me figure things out.

Another thing that always stuck with me is something my mother said to me. She said to act as if Jesus was sitting next to me all day, everyday and think: “Would I do this if Jesus was right here?” I would think of the advice my mom had given me every time I was doing something wrong and, unbelievably, it helped.

For all of you that are here right now, I never thought I would stand at this podium and give my speech. I know there were many other people that said I could not and would not be able to succeed, but here I am. If you visualize what it is that you want eventually you will obtain your goal.

I would like to thank several people. First, I would like to thank God for giving me the strength to go on. Second, I would like to thank my mom, my dad, my step mom, and my step dad for all of the faith that they have had in me for all of the time I’ve been here. Last, but certainly not the least, I would like to thank all of the staff here at Thayer Learning Center for all of those lovely nights saying: “Come on you can do it.” I would especially like to thank the staff who stuck with me for such a long time. Above all, I would like to thank Mrs. Willa and Mr. Bundy for opening up their hearts to me and helping me change my life. I would also like to thank the staff for making Junior Staff so fun, but I am still not a very big Chiefs fan. I could never leave out the cooks for all of the food that they cooked for us, even the soup on Mondays. I would also like to thank the staff for helping me with this speech that I am reading to you all today. Here is another piece of advice, for every action there is a consequence. It can be a good consequence for a good action, or it can be a bad consequence for a bad action; but you must always take responsibility. Thank you all and have a wonderful life.