Choice, Not Chance, Determines a Student’s Destiny

Date: June 15, 2010

Choice, not chance, determines one’s destiny. ~Unknown

Choice.  It is a pretty powerful word and one that many take for granted.  Last week, I attended two Ombudsman graduations in Arizona, where more than 200 Ombudsman charter students became high school graduates.  All of these students were, at one time or another, at risk of dropping out of school. I went to celebrate the students’ success and left with a renewed sense of enthusiasm and optimism.

More than 25 students requested to speak and share their personal stories with thousands of family members, friends, classmates, mentors and educators.  Some spoke of how they lost hope of ever “getting back on track” or about how they did not fit in at a large school.  Others shared that, after having a child, they weren’t sure how they could go to school, work and be a parent at the same time. Some were even told that they might as well drop out because they would “never finish anyway.”

Our graduates then shared how they overcame these obstacles with a level of self-discovery, perseverance and tenacity that would inspire anyone who heard them.  Many spoke of that moment when they knew they had to make a choice.  Should they continue on their current path or start a new one?  Should they listen to other people, who said they couldn’t succeed, or would they be the ones to decide what they could achieve?  Every single graduate chose not to be defined by their past, but by the choices they would make going forward as they shaped their future.  By enrolling at Ombudsman, they chose to get back on track and follow the path to their high school graduation.

Congratulations, Class of 2010!  You are an inspiration to me and so many others!  We are so proud of you!


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