Those words sometimes stand between a man (or woman) and a rewarding career;
Or an honest, drug-free life, and loving family relationships;
Or they could be etched on a tombstone on an early grave.
Thank God for people like Manny Scott and his message of never giving up on troubled youth.
Scott, 37, shared his experiences Friday with faculty and staff at Coastal Bend College in Beeville.
He’s an author and motivational speaker, traveling around the country telling his story which was featured in the 2007 film “Freedom Writers.”
In that movie, Hilary Swank portrayed Erin Gruwell, an English teacher who pushed her students to reach their potential and to go on to college.
Scott shares his painful memories of growing up with his father in prison, having poor grades and bad conduct, among gangs and violence, including the brutal murder of his best friend.
He encourages the young people he meets in order to prevent one suicide, one dropout, one bad decision.
He shares the story of a drug addict sitting on a park bench who begged Scott: “Man, don’t be like me. Don’t throw your life away like I did. Don’t be like me.”
Those words challenged him to change, go back and re-enroll in school and get his life back on track.
Scott praises his teacher, Ms. G., who believed in each and every one of her students, for being the exception in his eyes.
He encouraged the CBC faculty and staff to keep their standards high, but be patient.
“You can be the exception,” Scott said. “On your worst day, you may be their last chance.”
Here’s hoping his inspiring story hit home with many of those attending. And, like Scott, we praise those educators who feel called to help save those children from troubled backgrounds.