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Another chance

Terry is a middle school student who entered a special education program aptly named S.A.V.E (Selected Alternatives for Vocational Education) because he had already failed three times and rarely came to school. He used to get into trouble for smoking, cursing, or fighting and would get suspended for three days, which is just what he wanted. When teachers discovered that Terry was listed for their class, other teachers would say, "Don't worry, he's bad but he isn't there much and he always does something you can get rid of him for."

Last year, Terry's S.A.V.E. teacher realized other teachers had tried to help him. They're good teachers, but sometimes you just give up when students refuse to take responsibility for their own behavior. She met with Terry and his dad and learned that Terry's dad had a brain tumor and less than one year to live. Terry didn't want to come to school because he was afraid to leave his dad. To help Terry appropriately, his teacher made an agreement with both of them. His dad said he had two wishes. One wish was for Terry to become drug free and the second wish was that he himself could attend a Jaguars football game. Through the Honor Rows program, they both agreed to set some important goals for themselves so they both could earn a seat to a Jaguars game. Terry would improve his behavior and school attendance, and do extra reading. Terry's dad agreed to help Terry with his work and, when he was feeling well enough, to be a volunteer in Terry's class.

The other kids in the class learned a lot from Terry's dad and the value of how truly precious time and family are. In a short while, all of the students' behavior improved and everyone became motivated to achieve their goals in the Honor Rows program. They would go by Terry's house and make sure he got up for school in time. They helped Terry stay out of trouble and to avoid drugs. As the end of November approached, Terry, his classmates and his dad had achieved their goals to earn tickets for the game. Terry had kept his promise and showed great character strength and responsibility. Going to the game was an experience they would never forget, or any of us for that matter.

A week after attending the game Terry's dad died. Time passed quickly and the end of the school year testing process arrived. As the test scores came in the principal had an important announcement to make. Out of 500 students, one had scored a perfect score on the FCAT. To everyone's amazement that student was Terry.

This year, more than 3,500 children and chaperones will be working together to achieve personal, behavioral and academic goals so that they can attend a Jaguars game in the Honor Rows. Not every child is like Terry, trying to fulfill his father's dying wish, but each one is learning to take responsibility and develop his/her character. Please help us recognize them for their achievements by joining Delores and Wayne Weaver as they wave to them at the end of the first Quarter.

On behalf of the Foundation, we want to thank all of the Jaguars fans whose support helps us make the Honor Rows experience so special for each of these children.

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