Saturday, December 24, 2011

Educational Progress Of My Father

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The Educational Progress of My Father

“You’ve got to get an education Steph - don’t ever end up like me.” I grew up hearing these words as long as I can remember. My dad never finished high school and to this day still regrets it. I feel so bad for him that he never really got much choice of what he could do day in and day out for the rest of his life. Sure there were many jobs that he could have, but he was pretty much stuck in the manual labor category, without confidence that he would succeed at an office job.

I suppose it all started when he was born. My grandmother got married at sixteen, had my dad when she was seventeen, and my uncle when she was eighteen. She was involved in school but had to stop to focus on her family. My grandfather had quit school as well, so their views about staying educated fell short to those of hard work on the ranch. They moved around a lot as my grandfather went to various places looking for work as a ranch hand. Between all the moves, my father couldn’t really make any close friends and disliked being the “strange new kid” everywhere he went. As soon as he turned eighteen he quit school to help my grandfather work, and since my grandparents had done the same, they couldn’t object.

A year later he met my mother and two years after that they were married while my mom was still a senior in high school. Up until that time my father only had to worry about making enough money to take care of himself. Trying to make ends meet for him and his new wife was tough with the job he had. He decided to get his G.E.D. to help find a better occupation so my mother could go to college. He ended up starting a job as a pump repairman for a local oil and gas company.

I remember talking with my dad when I was younger about all that he had gone through. He always wanted so much more for me than he had. “I want you to make something of yourself, don’t end up like me doing something you don’t like, I want it to be easier for you.” This always gave me inspiration in school. Whenever I had to do something for a class that I despised doing I would just think of him and realize whatever it was would all be well worth it one day.

One memory will always stand out in my mind. I came home from school one day with a red carnation and a slip of paper I had received in class. It stated that I was eligible to become a member of the National Honor Society (an honor in high school that states that you’ve maintained high grades and outstanding citizenship). He was sitting in his recliner watching TV as I slipped it under his hand. As he read the letter he began grinning from ear to ear like a four year old walking into a candy store with free reign over everything in it. “Steph, I am so proud of you! Not only have you stayed in school but you are doing so well.” The night of the induction he sat on the edge of his seat with that same big smile. It was all anyone who talked to him for the next month heard about.

But none of this could even compare to my graduation night. After the ceremony, while we cried on each other’s shoulder he kept saying how proud he was of me and also informed me that I was the first one from his side of the family to ever go to college and probably even to graduate high school.

I felt that I had to do this not just for myself, but for the whole family. I want to be the one that my little brothers and sister can look up to and make them want to follow my footsteps and break the non-educated chain that plagued my family for so long.

Despite the set backs that my dad went through due to discontinuing his education, he was able to get a job in the oil and gas industry and has consistently been promoted since. He started as a down hole pump repairman, to a pumper, then was an operations specialist, and is currently the West Texas field supervisor for his company, Encore. He realizes that there are very few people in this world who are as blessed as him - especially in this day where you practically have to have a college degree to get a choice job. It does make him proud though, to know that everything he has, he got from years of hard work and experience.

My dad may never be a doctor, the President, or even a rocket scientist, but what he is beats them all. He is a wonderful father who has taught his children to work hard at accomplishing their dreams. He’s not what you would call book smart but yet he is still a highly educated man. As I write this paper, I look around at everything I have and know that someone cares enough about me to work their hardest to provide me with anything that I need and want. I respect him in every sense of the word and am so proud to be called his daughter.

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