Photo By: Sergey Gabdurakhmanov
During the first eighteen years of my life never lacked dull moments. I was an only child for about nine years. My brother Joseph entered the picture and so went all of the spoiled treatment.
My life was filled with all sorts of excitement, as well as setbacks but this is normally the case for most. I was born around noon, on August 21, 1983. Born in Canada but raised in one of the greatest cities on the planet, Chicago.
I was an extremely shy child and maybe even a mama’s boy. I learned from a young age to consider others before myself. I was that quiet kid in the classroom but never up to trouble.
I wasn’t the most popular kind in class but tended to treat others how I expected them to treat me. My mother is the most selfless person I know. She put me and my brother Joseph before herself and her personal goals, needs and dreams.
She’s a Champion, a Warrior! Words may carry weight but it’s my Mother’s actions that will never be forgotten.
My first years of schooling, for the sake of time, picks up during second grade at Newberry Academy. That’s right, one of the finest schools the Chicago Public system has to offer.
I went on to finish through the 8th grade. In Chicago, at Newberry, 8th graders are given a graduation. After graduation, I went to school a block away called Lincoln Park H.S. I was your typical C average student.
I also enrolled in Ching’s TaeKwonDo during this transition from grade school to high school. I went on and off for four or five years. I achieved Blue belt status, four away from black belt.
I was never suspended during my elementary or high school years.
I participated in the school’s peer mediation program. The aim was to help students deal with conflict and to present positive nonviolent solutions for their conflicts. My willingness to learn and help others carried over into my high school years.
1998-2002- High School Years
During my high school years I became extremely social and outspoken. I played football both my second and third year. I become president of a group called BASIC, a Christian based group.
I look back on my high school years as a time of growth. I picked up communication skills because of the opportunities to speak in front of small groups of students and with the principle behind closed doors.
With the position as club president came influence and authority, as well as organization skills. Before I knew it, prom came and went and my high school years were gone!
For me, these years mean so much because I grew as a young adult in an environment of diversity.
I made friends with people for various ethnic backgrounds. This came natural for me because my extended family background varied from Puerto Rican to German to African-American and so forth.
Prom was overrated! For me, high school graduation was a big deal. At least for my family, because the sad reality is many inner-city youth don’t ever graduate from high school. Graduation was and still is a major achievement but I wanted more.
I immediately set my sights on college. But before I decided to leave for school I joined a ministerial internship program called Masters Commission.
Nine months of serving the local community in Chicago, IL. I paid to be a full-time staff member of a local church called New Life Covenant.
The next nine months were exciting, rough, filled with disappointment, happiness, more letdown and a sense of accomplishment. We traveled from coast to coast. We participated in just about every facet the church and community had to offer.
We also did school assemblies with the aim to inspire young teens to purse their goals and dreams while trying to avoid life’s pitfalls. As wonderful as this experience was, it was time for me to move on.
College was the next chapter in my life; I was convinced that this was the next step.
A friend told me about Oral Roberts University. Mind you, I had never heard of ORU before. He paid for my travel fees and I was soon on my way to Tulsa, OK. It only took one visit, yet I was sure ORU was where I wanted to attend.
Continue reading part 2 of my timeline.