The news pages of the Garner-Cleveland Record have been filled with stories lately that should teach us the value of not giving up on something.
When Wake County school leaders announced plans that it was going to do a much smaller-scale renovation at Garner High School than most people were expecting, it could have been quickly set in stone.
But Garner residents, led primarily by the town council, weren’t willing to just let it rest. They argued the point that there were more problems with the existing school buildings than school officials were aware of. They convinced the school system to reconsider its decision and, in the end, school leaders agreed that more needed to be done.
Now, we are beginning to see the fruits of that effort. The school system plans to keep some of the new buildings on campus, but by and large, students who return to Garner High School when renovations are complete will see an entirely new school. Based on a recent presentation to the school boards facilities committee that new facility will be a well-designed, well-conceived project that will serve students better than minor renovations would have.
We also read about the trials and tribulations facing Johnny Dutch, the Olympic-caliber hurdler who thought his window to make the team had closed after two close efforts came up short.
But Dutch’s mother wasn’t buying it. She encouraged her son to give it one more try. And so he is. Though Dutch still has a way to go and more races ahead of him, we recently saw good signs when he won a race in which he beat Bershawn Jackson, his training partner and a bronze-medal winner in the 2008 Olympics. Dutch didn’t give up and his prospects look brighter now than ever.
And then there’s Garner High School valedictorian Ryan Calhoun, who never took his eyes off the prize, even in high school when there can be so many other distractions.
He will march at the head of his class Monday when the Class of 2015 graduates and it will mark 13 years of academic rigor and success. For most of us, that’s a long, long time to see a reward for our effort. In fact, for most of us, it’s too long. And most of us would slack off or focus on other things before we reach that point. But Calhoun didn’t give up.
There’s a lesson in each one of these stories for all of us. We can achieve the things we want, but we musn’t be discouraged when things don’t immediately go our way.