Turning it around to achieve

TAA for article

As featured in The Chronicle Herald.

“Courage doesn’t always roar. Sometimes courage is the little voice at the end of the day that says I’ll try again tomorrow.” — Mary Anne Radmacher

For Avon View High School graduate Garrett Rines, turning things around started with his own courage.

“I wanted to show my family that I was willing to make my life better,” he told the Valley Harvester. “So every day I pushed myself forward to do that.”

Teachers and his family noticed the dramatic change from when Rines was in middle school and transitioned to high school. Grade 10 started off OK, but then he found he was not applying himself in his studies, skipping classes, falling into peer pressure situations and no focus for his future.

His guidance counsellor and resource teacher told him at the beginning of Grade 12 that he needed to work extra hard to achieve the eight credits needed to qualify for his high school diploma in June this year — an above-average course load.

His grades picked up as well as his energy.

“I feel really great, a lot more focused and happy. I spend more time doing what I’m responsible for, being nicer and I think I’m a lot more outgoing.”

Recently, Rines was awarded the $1,000 scholarship and a Turnaround Achievement award at the Turnaround Achievement Awards on Monday, April 10, at the Brooklyn Civic Centre.

“It was going to take a lot of self-motivation and self-discipline for Garrett to meet his goal, but he was determined,” said the entry made by the anonymous teacher who nominated him.

Rines credits his resource teacher Ann Banks, his family and his girlfriend for encouraging him to keep going.

“I’m very proud of myself and thankful to everyone who encouraged me. I got to show everyone I could do it.”

“It was an amazing night. There were lots of happy faces and lots of congratulations to the other students who were also awarded.”

The congratulations continued at school in the days that followed.

“It’s been such a big boost!”

Rines has plans to attend NSCC Kingstec to study trades, including carpentry, electronics and plumbing.

“I want to do it all!”

Nova Scotia’s first Turnaround Achievement Awards program was introduced in 2014 by Terra Firma Development Corporation. Partnering with the Annapolis Valley Regional School Board. The program aims to recognize students who overcome personal and educational challenges to achieve their academic goals, and awards one scholarship to a graduating student.

“(Their) stories remind us of what it is to be human, and to work hard to overcome the obstacles that life can often throw our way, and (they) should all be incredibly proud,” said awards coordinator Allison McIsaac.

West Hants Middle School teacher Rob Davies was also recognized for the tireless effort he makes supporting science clubs and fairs, which see students reach nationals, and coaching soccer and hockey.”

“He sees no limits when it comes to working with students, only possibilities,” said his anonymous nominator.