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Class of 2003 Alumni Jon Michael Ogletree - Thanksgiving

  • Alumni

We are so encouraged this Thanksgiving Day by these words of encouragement from the Class of 2003 Alumni Jon Michael Ogletree. We pray that we would continue to be a school faithful to the calling of Christian Education and be reminded of its impact in the lives of our students.

“This Thanksgiving I’m particularly reminded of how blessed I was during my childhood. Being the youngest in my family, I attended the same private school my older three siblings did, but there were unique challenges I had to face that none of them did. My family was very instrumental in encouraging me to study hard, be a normal kid and pursue my musical journey. My teachers and administrators were key in ensuring they adapted each class to accommodate my special needs. But what really really struck me this year was looking back at my classmates, and the way they treated me I’ll forever be thankful. Briarwood Christian School helped shape who I am today. But what really really struck me this year was looking back at my classmates, and the way they treated me I'll forever be thankful.

A few weeks ago, I was asked to Emcee my 20th High School reunion. It took some schedule shuffling, but it turned out to be well worth it. I am usually one to simply "wing" opportunities such as this, but I wanted to set the tone for the evening to be different. So many of these reunions are accompanied by superficial, exaggerated accomplishments since graduation, and I don't really see any value in measuring one's accomplishments versus another's. I feel strongly that we're to build one another up and encourage each other, and comparison just kills both of these.

That night, after welcoming my classmates and giving some opening instructions for the evening, I was able to thank them by saying, "I just want to say, there is NOT a single moment I can think of, from Kindergarten to Senior Year where any of you weren't kind to me. And for that, I'll always be grateful for this class." This is not an exaggeration at all either. I was deeply accepted by all of the "clicks" and was somehow very popular, despite my affiliation with being in the band, chess team, math team, etc.

Kids can be mean, especially towards those who are different than them; however, the kids that were placed in my graduating class were not mean to me.

Ever. And the most puzzling part of all of this is these same kids WERE mean to other classmates, even some of my closest friends were horribly teased quite regularly.

So I thought it needed to be said on the evening of our 20th reunion, THANK YOU. Their kindness is now paying dividends, as I am traveling the country inspiring my audiences to be kind to one another. And if you weren't kind to someone, it's not too late to apologize. Forgiveness is such a beautiful story, and it too can pay massive dividends.

So this thanksgiving, not only am I thankful for my family and the other blessings in my life, but I'm also extremely thankful to the Briarwood class of 2003. I wouldn't be the same person today without you all.

Happy Thanksgiving

📸 by @andreaorrphotography

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