Sunday, March 29, 2009

TR

This is a picture of Teddy Roosevelt. Interestingly, it was taken just before a would-be assassin shot him in the chest. The bullet actually shot a hole in his speech, and went into his chest. What did Roosevelt do, you ask . . . he went on and gave the speech, and then went to the hospital.

I will have to admit that I might not actually be able to have the Hobo convention that we have talked about, and I might not be able to revive the Bull Moose party, but there was something I was going to ask for your help with.

Most of you know that I am a first year teacher this year. I left the rat race of Silicon Valley to move to a remote area in West Texas to teach High School. I had told you earlier that I had one class of really troubled kids. These kids had trouble at home, trouble at school, and trouble with the law. I taught them how to make WEB sites, and they built a great one (http://www.picture-indian.com/). Many of you visited the site, and they got many hundreds of email congratulating them on their work. This literally changed their lives. They learned that they could be good at something. I am happy to say that half the class is now signed up for college, and I am committed to getting the other half signed up before this school year is out. (Kudos to Paige R., the school Councelor)

I am so proud of the progress that each of these young people has made. In particular I am proud of Dustin, who came into the class with the most baggage. Dustin came up to me recently and told me that he had seen where a Utility Company was sponsoring an Essay Contest, and several winners would be chosen from around the country for an expense paid trip to Washington DC to see all the monuments and sites. He said he was not a great writer, and would not be able to win, but he wanted to know if I thought he should go ahead and enter anyway. I looked at the application, and then I asked him who he thought would win the contest. He said the person that was the smartest, and wrote the best. I told him that the contest would not be won by the person who was the smartest, and would not be won by the best writer. I told him that the contest would be won by the person who worked the hardest, and that such contests are won by people who throw their heart into their writing. I told him that he could not control how smart he is, and he could not control how talented of a writer he is, but he could control how hard he worked, and how much heart he wrote with. The Essay was supposed to be about Alternative Energy. I told him if he told his personal story, and he put everything he had into it, he could win. Well, he took my words to heart. For the next week he came in before school, over lunch, and after school. He would write, and change, and write and change. He would ask people if they liked this or that word better. He worked right up until it was time to mail the essay in.

I did not think much more about it, but this last Friday, I was teaching a class, and in the middle of class, Dustin burst into my room. As he was running up to me, I could see tears in his eyes. I knew that either his mother has been hit by a train, or he had won the contest. He came up to me and could not even talk he was so choked up. He just handed me the letter announcing he had won.

Dustin was so proud of his essay, he wrote a few introductory words, and then posted it on our WEB site. You can
While this is a huge victory, it does create some challenges. The Utility company pays for all the expenses of the trip, but it indicates that students should bring plenty of money for incidentals. The other challenge is that the other students from across the country that will be attending, I am sure, are from a different socio-economic background. The clothes that Dustin has are not ones a young man would be proud of in a group of city kids from family's with means. The third challenge is that Dustin has a summer job this summer to allow him to save for his college expenses in the fall. This trip will take him away from this job for a week, that puts a hole in his budget for the fall.

I have always emphasized with Dustin to take ownership of his own future, and to make his own way. He has tried hard, but opportunities are few in this small town. Dustin has worked to make his own opportunities. On the weekends, he goes out and chops wood. He then sells the wood to people to burn in their fireplaces. He delivers it to their home, and stacks it neatly for them. The challenge here is, firewood is a seasonal job, and firewood season is pretty much over. Dustin has found a minimum wage job for the summer, and he has committed to save all the income for college.

If you feel led to work with me to help Dustin, you can use the link below to make a contribution. The donation will come to me, I will collect it up, and then in about a week, I will present it to Dustin. If the generosity is such that it exceeds his needs for clothes and incidentals for the Washington trip, we will apply the remainder to his college expenses.

DONATIONS CLOSED - NEED HAS BEEN MET
(charge will show up as to payment@sonofthesouth.net, which is my paypal account)

I appreciate your consideration, and know that asking for this help is not something I do lightly. I know times are tough, and know that many simply are not in a position to help, but my hope is a few might be able to help.

24 comments:

  1. It's on it's way.

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  2. Well done much success

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  3. Oh, my. I wonder if Dustin would allow his essay to be used in presenting Wind Power up here in Michigan. It is wonderful, and makes very real what we do not understand.
    Teddy sure was a tough man, none like him these days, eh?

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  4. Anonymous,
    I am sure Dustin would be honored if someone was interested in his essay . . . just email him at the email address at the bottom of the page with his essay. I will see that he sees it.
    PJM

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  5. I'll send my donation, plus my youngest daughter wants to contribute some of her allowance.

    Good job encouraging this young man. I hope Dustin will be impressed with Washington DC and develop a love for our country, a love not shaped by the growing crowd of people who feel entitled and want more government programs to take care of them, but a love of our country founded upon freedom and democracy.

    Something that might be of interest to your students is the 9/12 Project: http://www.the912project.com/

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  6. By the way, when Dustin graduates from college, I'd like to recommend he contact my friend Dave Gallagher. He just might be able to help him with a job or at least point him in the right direction. Here's Dave's website:

    http://www.gblnrg.com/

    After I read Dustin's essay I realized he might be very interested in meeting Dave.

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  7. http://www.theponyexpression.com/ Added a bit of exposure for Dustin on my blog and twitter. Hope it helps.

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  8. Susan Catt,
    Thanks for the shout out. We appreciate you helping spread his story.
    PJM

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  9. Mine, too, is on its way.

    Once again, PJM, you have done a wonderful thing to help our youngsters learn to help themselves. I hope you will keep us posted on Dustin's progress and provide us a picture of him in at his graduation.

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  10. Donation done. Good luck with your work down there and the young man.

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  11. This country is in a mess, because of irresponsibility. There's a lot of talk in Washington about taking responsibility, yet their actions are irresponsible. "Hope & Change" is just a steaming pile of the same old crap being served up by tax cheats and smooth talking liars.

    Count my contribution as a vote for individual responsibility and a vote against lying, thieving, power-grubbing politicians.

    --fossil

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  12. REB,
    Your vote has been noted and recorded :-)

    Plus, if we do get the Bull Moose party going again, we will make you the Secretary of the Treasury.

    Thanks for your help!
    PJM

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  13. Thank you for your good work with these students. Dustin's story is really inspiring.

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  14. I just posted this to my Facebook account so hopefully others will help out too. The website with his essay seems to be down at this time, however... :(

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  15. Wow, how could I not contribute. Sending this to my friends as well.

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  16. Congratulations to Dustin on his essay, reading it, it's easy to see why it was chosen. Great job.

    Also thanks to you PJM for all the work you do on this site and the others. You're proof that one person can make a difference...

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  17. I had to laugh the other day when trying to buy something out of a vending machine. I had a dime that the machine refused to take. It was in good condition on each face, but I didn't look too closely at it.

    I finally decided to look at the edges, because I know that worn edge serrations often cause quarters and dimes to be rejected. No, the edge serrations were good. But I noticed that I didn't see that thick band of copper that we're all used to seeing. That's when I took a good look at the face and discovered that it was minted in 1964.

    The machine rejected it, because it is composed of 90% silver. It doesn't weigh as much as today's funny money.

    What a picture of the times we live in. Money with real value built into it is widely considered to be no good.

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  18. Normally I am weary of making donations on the internet but I trust you PJM. I hope Dustin has a great trip and the best of luck to him in school.

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  19. I just saw this, and I loved the essay.

    I'll send my contribution.

    Great job to you and your talented student!!

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  20. Thanks for letting us know about Dustin. We are glad for the opportunity to help out, and it is inspiring to hear about your work and the difference you are making in these young people's lives.

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  21. What you are doing for these kids is wonderful, and I would imagine you feel great when you see their success in small ways and in big ways.

    Congratulations to Dustin.

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  22. Encouraging Dustin by reading the essay and sending him an e-mail is a good plan! Also a visit to Washington is something not to be missed, so I hope as many people as possible will contribute.

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