The Gift of Realizing Your Dreams at Tarheel Challenge Academy

Published 12:00 am Thursday, October 14, 2004

Not knowing what life has ensured for you. We never knew what was instore for us. Douglas Pagels wrote, &uot;Follow your hopes and dreams while you can, while the desire is burning. When the chance comes your way. Don’t get tangled up with &uot;maybe … maybe someday.&uot; Too many folks will tell you that if you spend your whole life waiting, &uot;someday&uot; arrives too little, too late.

Maybe it’s already a little later than it seems. If you really want to do it, do it while you can. Be brave … and sail away on your dreams.&uot; This has inspired some of the events in our lives and or events that may happen in the future.

Cadets: Kevin Terry, Wesley Tyndall, Johnny Grimes, Timothy Eason and Wesley Howie are all from the same district. Also the same high school, Gates County High School, except for Cadet Eason who is from Northampton County High School.

We are roughly the same age and in the same grades, which is the ninth, 10th or 11th. We all had decided to dropout of school around the same time period. We never intended for us to drop out in the same year and or semester.

Some of the reasons for leaving were either problems at home with families and friends, drugs, grades, possible fights and the simple fact that we just didn’t care for school.

In the meantime we went our separate ways.

Johnny G. and I dropped out at the end of the second semester. We heard about the Tarheel Challenge Academy from a counselor at our high school. Kevin T. dropped out right at the beginning of the second semester in February. He heard about Tarheel Challenge Academy from the assistant principal. Timothy E. dropped out in the second semester. He heard about Tarheel Challenge Academy from his loving mother.

Wesley T. dropped out at the beginning of the first semester. I don’t think you could have considered him to be enrolled in Gates Co. High School this past year. He heard about the academy from Meagan Bishop, one of his good friends and her mother. Meagan also went to Gates County High School, but played it safe by staying out of trouble in school.

The Academy sent us all a letter explaining the orientation procedures on what to, and what not to do. It would also inform us to report for orientation on the third week in June, where we would be briefed on how the Academy system works, the rules and regulations.

Not knowing that we all had applied and had to report in 30 days (July 11, 2004) later. We reported, had our bags checked, took a urinal analysis to determine our go/no go status. Then rushed upstairs for a &uot;cool&uot; haircut, and to find out where we were being placed (team). &uot;Coincidentally&uot; we all ended up on the same team.

Ella Wheeler Wilcox wrote &uot;For the people who are always going to do things: the road to success lies along the path of decisions and up the hill of endeavor, and across the bridge of patience. The road to defeat lies through the valley of pretty soon and the winding path of wait-a-while.&uot; This poem inspires us to make the right decisions so we don’t end up on the road to defeat. That was also a lot of the reason why we choose to come to Tarheel Challenge Academy.

Since we have been at the Academy, the &uot;cadres&uot; have really reinforced teamwork, respect, self-discipline, honesty, courage, decision making, leadership-followership, and a lot more. Hardcore-Challenge started the first two to three weeks, which was somewhat like basic training. We went to Fort Bragg, where we repelled off a 65 ft. tower, jumped out of a 35 ft. tower to simulate parachuting out of an aircraft, and we ran three 82nd Airborne Assault Courses. Also we were able to ride in a Black Hawk Helicopter, the loudest helicopter made.

It has been really exciting, the whole time here, mainly at Fort Bragg, they taught us how to overcome our enemies, fears, obstacles that may lie or come in front of us in the present and future.

The most important concept of this Academy is to rebuild your ability to focus on your education and life goals, as in our careers.

Right after Fort Bragg we went into intense training for drill/ceremony competition against the other two teams here at the Tarheel Challenge Academy. Team one (Diamonds), Team two (Cold Steel), and Team three (Bull Dawgs), &uot;rough and tough Bull Dawgs,’ which is the team that we are on.

Our motto is &uot;Third herd is the best … Bull Dawgs never rest … first to fight … last to fall … third herds the best of all … train all day … fight all night … mess with us you’ll see our might Hoah! Double up … Hooah Hooah! Triple it up … Hooah Hooah Hooah! Suck it in … (take deep breath) Let it out …. AHHHHHHH!

As for our future, Cadet Grimes has joined the Army. Grimes would like to say to family and friends in Gates County, &uot;Always take the hard right over the easy wrong.&uot; Cadet Tyndall has yet to join the military. He is trying to decide whether or not to join the Marines. He would like to say to family and friends in Gates County, &uot;If at any time you feel like quitting, brush your shoulders off, and drive on.&uot;

Cadet Terry plans to go to College for a four-year degree. Then he plans to join the Air Force as a fighter pilot. He would like to say to family and friends in Gates and Hertford Counties, &uot;My father always told me that one day I would regret the wrong things that I was doing, and say that I wish that I had of listened to my father. Well, now, I do realize that, and I wish I had of listened to you. You were right dad, you were right.&uot; Cadet Eason plans to go to college and to obtain a license in Real Estate, and one day join the Navy. Eason would like to say to family and friends in Northampton County, &uot;Always be yourself no matter what, don’t let no one tell you that you can’t accomplish something. No matter what problems or circumstances that may arise, always keep a smile on your face.&uot;

Cadet Howie, I’m deciding whether or not to join the Marines or the Army. I would like to say to my family and friends in Gates County, &uot;There’s no traffic on the extra mile.&uot;

We all wrote this to inspire and or to lead someone in need of help. We would like to leave you with a quote from a poem we have read. &uot;The road to success is dotted with many tempting parking places.&uot;

Now you know the road we were on, and what we have done to change our direction.

A wise man once told us … do what you’re told, do what you’re told, do what you’re told. This is in honor of our cadre Mr. Mack who quoted this.

To family and friends we thank you for the motivation we have received from them. We love and miss you a lot, we will be home soon.