Mom inspires Cardinal Ritter student to reach for dreams, graduation

Posted by Jaques Clinton on
Nine Network of Public Media

Jaques Clinton, a senior at Cardinal Ritter College Preparatory High School, was an intern at Nine Network during Fall 2014. He's been accepted to Howard University in Washington D.C. and Dillard University in New Orleans, La. He recounts his experiences throughout his life and at Nine Network that brought him to become a (soon-to-be) high school graduate.

It was a cold January evening when my mother packed my sister and me into the car. I
 can remember my mother telling us that she was not feeling well as she started the engine.

As we drove, my mother had an aneurysm and lost control of the car. My sister and I had to call for help in the biting January cold.

Paramedics came, and my grandfather arrived to take us home. After a lot of waiting, my cousin sat us down and told us that God had sent angels down to take our mother to heaven.  

At 7 years old, I learned what the word “aneurysm” meant. After my mother’s death, I began to skip class, disrespect my teachers, and bully my fellow classmates. I was doing all of the things that would have made my mother upset. My future was both as shaky and as powerful as an earthquake because of the impact of my mother’s death.

Those around me wondered how a sweet, loving child could go from being well-mannered to  
obnoxious and rude.  It was because of what I felt I was lacking.  

My mother held me to a very high standard and always wanted me to go to college. She 
told me that even if I had no idea what I wanted to study, college would help me figure it out. 

She was instrumental in getting me to school with the right mindset and guiding me to earn the best grades possible. If I failed, I was disciplined.  If I got into trouble, I was 
disciplined. If I disrespected my teachers, I was  disciplined. 

School was truly my job for those initial years of my childhood. However, after her passing, I no longer had her support and guidance, but what I did have was an enduring love for my mother.  

RELATED: Fall 2014 interns projects

It was not until I met my godmother that I began to change my behavior. She was the
 school counselor and she took me in, talked to me, and comforted me. She became the reason that I began to love school again. She gave me a reason to follow my dreams.  My grandmother would say that I was wise beyond my years because growing up, I always seemed to talk and 
give advice to others. 

She would often tell me that having conversations with me was like
 talking to a respectable young teenager.  I took this to heart in my development.    

As I got older, I began to mature, and as I focused on my schoolwork, I began to realize how many doors education could actually open.  

I know that I want to obtain my Ph.D. in psychology and become a child psychologist, which is my dream and ultimate goal. &nbsp

I learned to rebuild myself and to use the pain from my mother's death as fuel to move forward. My mother died nine years ago and ever since the day that I have realized my full potential; I have been striving for excellence. 

My mother wanted me to achieve things that she did not have the opportunity to do
 herself. I have taken the torch from her as she made it her duty to make sure that I had a good life.   

There is not a day that goes by that I do not think about her.  Had it not been for her strict
 policies, rooted in love, I would not be the person I am today. Every decision that I make, I make in honor of her. 

As I stand at the edge of the next chapter of my journey, I plan to work to continue to excel academically, and I will work relentlessly so that I can financially empower my family, serve my community, and honor my mother’s life.  

Working at Nine Network of Public Media has helped me to expand my horizon.

Because of that awesome experience I am now able to edit video footage, conduct interviews, and bring awareness to a lot of plaguing issues such as the dropout crisis. 

What I learned most from my experience at Nine Network was that education is one of the most powerful tools that I can use to change the world. Although, this is a quote by the world-renown Nelson Mandela it speaks wonders to me.

As I looked around Nine Network day after day I saw nothing but, positive innovators willing to change the world. Each person committed to making the company thrive while still maintaining their individuality.

I will always value my experience at Nine Network, and I am looking forward to working with them again in the near future.   

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