Boone’s strength is a lesson for all of us

Published 8:40 am Thursday, October 21, 2010

“Adversity is like a strong wind.  It tears away from us all but the things that cannot be torn, so that we see ourselves as we really are.” – “Memoirs of a Geisha” by Arthur Golden.

The above quote reminds me that if you want to see a person’s true demeanor you take in account what they do when faced with hardship.

Everyone handles their own misfortunes differently—some work through it, others simply deny it and sometimes people just give up.

But just as adversity has the ability to break a person, it also has the ability to build that person. I saw that in Sheba Boone of Conway on Tuesday.

Last week, Boone became the first youth from Northampton County to be awarded the Governor’s Excellence Award for Workforce Development.

Just a year ago, Boone’s life had been marred by tragedy for the second time as she lost her mother to cancer. When she was in high school at Northampton County High School-East her brother was murdered.

Listening to her stories of her mother encouraging her to better herself and further her education—I could not imagine Sheba’s will being faltered by adversity. And it wasn’t.

In a time that most would feel hopeless, Boone chose to pick up the pieces of her seemingly shattered life and continue to pursue her goals. It’s something her mother, undoubtedly, would have wanted her to do.

Just two months after her mother’s death, Boone enrolled at the Workforce Investment Act (WIA) program offered at the Choanoke Area Development Association (CADA) where she was able to advance her work experience skills and education.

With the help of CADA WIA Case Manager Phyllis Branch and WIA Program Manager Angela Mitchell as well as family members and her church, Boone pulled through her grief and struggles and placed herself in a position to better her future.

Boone is just beginning to reap the awards of her hard work with this recent honor.

It is stories like this that make us reflect on our own problems and adversity. It reminds us how simple they are or how complex they may be.

No matter the scale of your misfortune, the solution is the same. You must get through it for your own sake.

Breaking to the wind of adversity gets you nowhere, but adapting to it gets you through it all.

Adversity helps you see your real self as you are and gives you an opportunity to construct who you want to be.

Amanda VanDerBroek is a Staff Writer for the Roanoke-Chowan News-Herald. For comments and column suggestions email: or call (252) 332-7209.