This archived article was written by: Shala Jo Pitchforth
When I graduated Emery High School in 2006, I told myself I would never attend CEU. I was one of the only one of my friends to go to a university right out of high school. It was a strange, and sometimes tragic path that lead me to CEU; to the school that ironically most of my friends had now graduated. From a place where memories are sometimes cruel and haunting; where meaningless and forgotten words sting and left me questioning my own confidence; from a place where I felt I would never amount to much other than a college dropout. Strange, everything happens for a reason, and these past “failures” led me to people and a place I needed, and will never forget.
They led me to an office where I asked the most incredible man if I could play basketball for him after three years of not touching a basketball. I will never be able to thank Coach Dave Paur enough for what he gave me. He gave me a purpose. In so many ways I feel he saved my life. Basketball, along with Coach Paur’s knowledge, gave me something to look forward to and a drive to accomplish anything I set my mind to. I wish that everyone could know the amazing person you are and how much you do for your team, the school and the community. I will be eternally grateful to you and your incredible love.
To Dr. Corey Ewan, who taught me to believe in myself once again; thank you Dr. Ewan for showing me the talent that I and those around me have within ourselves.
To Susan Polster, who showed me that being young and energetic is a state of mind. I will never forget our long talks and the fun discussions we have had. You are one of those people that others want to be around and I am grateful that for a small time I got to be one of them.
To Coach Dan Allen, who’s soft and kind heart, taught me to never give up. I don’t think I have ever been as close to a coaching staff as I was with you and Paur. You two are like father figures to me and I know the rest of the team feels the same way.
To Sharon Jones and Todd Olsen, who taught me that a position of leadership, doesn’t give me the right to belittle, lie and patronize those below me and my constituents.
To the Lady Eagle basketball team, who taught me to love myself and to always love those around me (even when I wanted to kill you guys). I love you very much and will always remember the times we had.
To Becky Archibald, that through example has shown it is never too late to become a success. Thank you for giving so many people chances and opportunities, you do so much for our school and the students. Thank you.
To Mae Goss, Maddi Hind, Jamin Smith and Scott Zaborski, who’s kindness and charity taught me that no matter the circumstance it is never too late to be decent and accepting to those around me.
To David Orborne Jr. who showed me that love, kindness, and understanding still exist among men. You have given me a reason to love myself and I am extremely thankful.
Finally to my family whom I love unconditionally. You have always supported me in every decision I have ever made, good or bad. My father taught me to always accept and love everyone no matter their circumstance. His patience astounds me, and I don’t believe there is a better man. My mother is the funniest person I know. She has taught me that optimism and laughter can be found in every situation.
Thank you CEU for giving me so much. You gave me a foundation on which I can build the rest of my life upon. I came to you with no direction and I leave with a confidence that I will be able to achieve any thing that comes my way. Everything happens for a reason, and I know that coming to CEU was no mistake.