Some stories just make us feel good when we read them and remind us that our core values as a community remain intact: compassion, caring for others rather than judging them and working together to make good things happen.
All of those values and more were highlighted in a Jacksonville (Fla.) Daily News story about Kings Mountain High’s Tyler Osborne. Osborne is a young man who could have easily fallen through the cracks of the educational system but will instead very soon be heading to University of North Carolina Chapel Hill as a freshman.
Osborne grew up in a very tough family situation -- as do many public school students.
Osborne’s situation was so tough, in fact, that by his junior year in high school he was basically homeless and sometimes forced to sleep under an aluminum canopy at the edge of campus.
It would have been easy for Osborne to give up and to abandon school all together. Instead, he decided to put aside his pride and turn to others for help.
Osborne told the school administration about his situation, not knowing how it would respond or what the impact on his life would be.
The response was one of caring and concern, the impact on his life overwhelmingly positive.
Guidance counselor Jill Cruise and assistant principal Jon Fleisher immediately took steps to stabilize Osborne’s living situation. Soon his nights of sleeping outdoors were over.
That pair, along with other teachers and staff members, did everything they could to help Osborne, including aiding him in applying for scholarship money -- help which helped him garner an A.C.E. of the Year Award at both the local level and the national level.
The resulting $10,000 scholarship will aid Osborne as he heads to Chapel Hill, where he plans to major in biology and psychology with the eventual goal of becoming a psychiatrist.
Lessons to be learned from how this played out?
Don’t judge others, particularly young people, for the economic situation they’re in. Hard times occur, and bad things happen. Not one of us selects either the family or the economic situation into which we are born.
Don’t underestimate people, particularly young people. If a student with the proper work ethic, which Osborne definitely has, is given the necessary support and the right opportunities, great things can happen.
And finally, don’t be ashamed to ask for help. Not one of us can make it through this life intact without a lot of help along the way.