The Condemned is Set FreeI would like to say that my educational journey began in a limousine where I was surrounded in luxury, pampered and treated as royalty, with everything my heart desired, but that would be stretching the truth. No my educational journey began in a tumbrel, the worn down cart that was used to transport prisoners to their execution.
You see I grew up in a small town where everyone knew everyone and where your ancestral heritage determined your position in the town and particularly in the school. Let's just say, my family was not considered royalty. I suppose it didn't help that I was also a rather peculiar and stubborn child. I liked to do things my way, which was usually opposite of what everyone else was doing. This did NOT sit well with the established conveyor belt educational system or with those in "higher positions." My early years in school were very difficult. I was treated badly by many teachers and students and can honestly say, that on many days, death would have been a welcomed escape from my "imprisonment" in school.
But don't despair, there is always a "prince" who rescues the down-trodden maiden. My "prince" was my 7th grade science teacher. He removed me from my tumbrel and placed me on his trusty stead. He was a true mentor. He looked at my heart and saw my potential. He believed in me! With his encouragement and faith in me, I learned to believe that I could achieve anything. He taught me that it didn't matter what others thought of me. What mattered is what I believed. He helped me escape from my "prison."
That was the first turning point in my journey. With my new found faith in myself, I went on to attend college - on my new moped. I found that the harder I peddled, the faster and farther I could go. I learned to jump through every "hoop" established by my professors... and I excelled. I looked so smart! My grade point average was quite impressive and I graduated with honors, but in reality, I wasn't learning very much. It wasn't until years later, when I stumbled upon A Thomas Jefferson Education, that I realized how little I had actually learned.
That was the second turning point in my journey. Now, as I look at my education, I realize that it doesn't matter what I am traveling in - the vehicle isn't important. What is important - is where I am going. Now I am on the path to fulfill my mission, the mission God has given just to me. I am not studying to prove my worth to someone else; I am not studying to meet someone else's requirements. No, I am studying because I want to learn. And whether I am in a tumbrel or a limousine is not important. For, I know if I stay on the path I will reach my destination no matter what I travel in.
 Oliver DeMille, A Thomas Jefferson Education (George Wythe College Press, 2000)