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A new path

By Jeff Terrill

Fort Wayne Reader

2014-04-03


Tim is a junior in high school. His grades are horrible. He doesnít participate in any after school programs. He doesnít have a job.

Tim drinks on the weekends with friends even though he hates the taste of alcohol. Tim says he is up for trying just about any drug, but heís not that motivated to actually get his hands on much. He also likes playing video games and growing his list of followers on Instagram.

Tim stopped listening to his parents what seems like years ago. He knows the way he dresses and wears his hair drives his folks crazy. Tim is pretty sure his parents stopped caring just about the time Tim stopped.

Tim doesnít hang around any of his childhood friends. His new friends are all people he met since starting high school. Timís new friends all agree that school is a waste of time and that most parents and adults are stupid.

Tim stays up until early mornings making it difficult for him to wake up in the morning. He receives several tardies and truancies each week. When he gets to school Tim is always tired and bored. Rarely does he even know what the teacher is talking about. Tim wonít admit it, but his classes have become much more complicated. The only class Tim shows any interest in is photography.

Tim is frustrated. Getting Cís and Dís and ignoring his parents makes him feel like a complete loser. He tells his parents he is trying and tells his friends he doesnít care. Tim finds some comfort that most of his friends are getting bad grades too. Sometimes Tim wonders how long his parents and teachers will let him get away with the way he is acting. A part of him knows heís not on a good path. Tim is stuck.

Ms. G, the schoolís photography and journalism teacher, recognizes that Tim needs help. She is worried about her quiet student who sleeps through most of her class. Instead of giving him a referral to the principalís office, she engages Tim after class one day.

She convinces Tim to join the schoolís digital yearbook committee. She tells Tim that he can profile other students and share their perspectives on the yearbook. Tim hasnít had a teacher (or any adult) take such an interest in him for several years. Suddenly, Tim doesnít so much dread photography class.

Tim starts staying after school to work on the digital yearbook. Ms. G continues to encourage Tim. She tells him that he has a lot of natural ability. Tim shows her his Instagram photographs. Ms. G lets Tim borrow one of the schoolís digital cameras. Tim begins photographing and interviewing other students for the yearbook. Ms. G encourages Tim to apply for some local summer internships where he could continue to learn more about photography and writing.

Ms. G helps Tim get unstuck. Unlike the other adults in Timís life, she didnít give up on Tim. She didnít just give him a pass. She got Tim headed down a new path. A path with some promise. A path that interests him.

A path that changes Timís life.

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Jeff Terrill is a partner/shareholder with the law firm of Arnold Terrill Anzini, P.C. Mr. Terrill represents clients accused of crimes throughout northeast Indiana. You can contact Mr. Terrill with any questions or comments at his office at 260.420.7777 or via email at jterrill@fortwaynedefense.com. Learn more about his firm at www.fortwaynedefense.com. This article expressed opinions and observations of the author, is not intended as legal advice and does not create an attorney-client relationship between the author and the reader. Please consult a qualified attorney with any legal questions or issues you might have. Thank you.

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