In 1999, I asked a question of a fellow teacher that ultimately changed my life.
As we sat in an empty classroom talking about our day, I turned to her and asked why she became a teacher. Her response? She became a teacher to get 3 months off in the summer.
For a few days after this conversation, I thought about my own life. I thought about growing up in the Roseland Homes Housing Development in Dallas. I thought about two teachers who greatly impacted me and exposed me to what life could offer outside of my surroundings. I remembered their applause as I graduated from Hillcrest High School. I can still feel their excitement as I walked across the stage at East Texas State University as a first generation college graduate.
I wondered where I would be without their influence, without their voice.
I knew what could happen when adults took the time to nurture and expose kids to what life could offer outside of their present conditions. I knew the impact that could result in a child’s life when they realize that someone genuinely cares, that someone is invested and interested in their future and that someone expects them to excel. I knew what it felt like to have encouragement in the face of challenges and failures and to have support in the wake of opportunities and successes.
And I knew I wanted to provide those same experiences to a new generation.
I wanted to create a support system that could guide the paths of our youth. I wanted that system to encourage and empower them to succeed in education and in life. I began seeking support and designing what that system would look and feel like. And in the spring of 2000, The Turner 12 was formed.
In the years since, I have had the pleasure of seeing our students excel in every area of their lives. They are succeeding academically. They are becoming leaders. They are giving back to their communities.
I am grateful for the opportunity to serve in the development of these students and thrilled to have a front row seat to watch them as they grow to greatness.John Carter