I like to think it is because of their encouragement and refusal to accept excuses from me that I became a harder worker. A better person.
I worked through heat rashes and allergies and much much more to get out of the “slacker” rut. But inside my head I never could get rid of that label.
I think the important part about the entire experience is it opened my eyes to my own behavior and tendency to offer excuses instead of results. If you're going to work a job like that, you'd best bring your A-Game. Or you're going to walk away A-Shamed. Of yourself.
My co workers had their own honor system. They worked hard, they made their bosses proud, and watched each others' backs. My Dad tells me that's a lot like military teamwork.
This program is available for application at the end of each school year. Jacksonville ISD juniors and seniors are welcome to apply. I would highly recommend it, because it offers that taste of responsibility, work ethic, and, yes, pay to young people whose families live in and pay taxes in Jacksonville.
Each student employee is required to take responsibility for his or her actions and work.
Working within a group and as part of a team is an indescribable experience. Mr. Cole told me and my Dad that a very high percentage of young men who work in this program continue to become successful and productive citizens.
Any student who is interested in applying for a similar position next summer can contact the city's public works department at (903) 589-3510 to inquire.
But if you're like me, let me warn you: After a summer working with them, the inside of a classroom is going to look like a fantastic place.