#becauseofCJ: Reflection from Bradley '17

Young alumni are continuing to share how they are succeeding after high school in our #becauseofCJ series. Through your gift to the Annual Fund, you make this happen. When you do, more Eagles can soar! Read Bradley’s story below, and consider making your gift today.

Dear CJ Community,

Thinking back on my time at CJ as a football player and student, I know there were many things that have shaped me into the person who I have become today. Although football was something I could always rely on to have friends to talk to and something to strive to get better at, I never quite realized the most valuable thing that CJ was able to provide me. CJ gave me the opportunity to truly become great. What I mean by this is that CJ provided me the tools to be able to unlock my own ability and to pursue whatever I wanted to pursue.

This all began during my third year at CJ when I realized that there was more for me beyond going to high school and trying to complete it. I always felt that based on my performance in my classes that I would most likely just be an average student who ended up being average in life. I was put into the college prep classes and received average grades. With that being said, average at CJ compared to surrounding schools is exceptional due to the nature of CJ academics and qualities. However, I always felt like I was following a path of just being average. I wasn’t on the path of honor or AP classes — I was just your everyday average CJ student.

Mrs. Lemon, a chemistry teacher at CJ, was the person who ignited my journey and gave me the opportunity to expand my self-worth. Mrs. Lemon had faith in me and who I was as a person. She was the teacher who allowed me to sign into an AP chemistry class, the most notoriously hardest class in all of CJ during my time. She didn’t just allow me and sign into the class, she encouraged many students of her lower level chemistry courses to take the class. She as a person and a teacher actively engaged average students to believe that they could take on such a task. She gave me the mental prowess to accept that I could do whatever I wanted, as long as I worked for it. She was always there to help and encourage her students — from the subpar student to the valedictorian and every one in between.

This idea is a common theme you can find at CJ. A theme of resiliency and greatness. A theme that the teachers care and want the best for all of the students at CJ, no matter their intelligence level. Yes, there will always be smart students and average students, but CJ provides the opportunity for everyone to find what they’re best at and gives all students a chance to discover their own greatness. When you give a gift to CJ you are not just giving a student resources to finish high school; you are helping a student, like myself, realize that they can move on to do anything that is within their imagination. You will find people going on to doing great things, who previously may not have been able to, and are now able to because of CJ.

Because of CJ, I was able to realize my potential, and went from being a 2.5 GPA high school student to being a 3.8 GPA chemistry major college student well on my way to become great and the dream of becoming a surgeon one day.

Thank you to the CJ community, and to Mrs, Lemon,
God Bless and Go Eagles!
Bradley Walker ‘17

Posted November 4, 2019