‘Doors that open up to us’
Sometimes Pomp and Circumstance is the sweetest song in the world because the student hearing it worked hard to overcome obstacles on his way to graduation.
The 2017 Liberty HS graduate Sam Lopez recalls a difficult road on his way through school as he learned how to control what he calls a “sleeping beast” – anger.
“I’ve always been an angry kid,” he said. “From fifth grade all the way until my twelfth grade year, anger has been one of my biggest battles and still is!”
Sam was in the Athletic Health & Fitness (AHF) program at Bethlehem Area Vocational-Technical School. He was previously in the Video Media Arts program focusing on technology prior to switching over to Athletic Health and Fitness which focuses on anatomy of the body and recovery strategies.
“When I first started AHF at vo-tech, it took a little more time and effort for me to adjust and adapt to the more advanced learning style,” he says. “I struggled a lot in the transition aspect of it all.
“One of the biggest obstacles that I learned to overcome - with the great help of the staff and emotional support team - was learning how to control my anger and deep urge to want to unleash my frustrations out on anyone and anything,” he says.
The staff members who helped him the most, Sam says, were teachers Michael Vassallo and Jennifer Curti and social worker Trish Shoemaker.
“When I struggled with math, Mr. V was the math wizard. When I struggled in class, Mrs. Curti gave me the utmost respect and time in her office to help me get back on track,” Sam says.
“Mrs. Shoemaker, despite my hasty attitude at times, she really helped me control that sleeping beast inside which I like to call ‘angry,’” he says.
Sam plans to become a minister and “help the community out with any little things I can do.” He’s getting started right away with a ministry called GENERATIONFORCHRIST.
“As of right now, I’ve been assembling a team with the grace and goodness of God to start helping out the homeless around the neighborhoods and preaching the word of God to the gang members little by little.”
He says the response of the gang members and homeless people “is a response of gratitude beyond any other.” He says he loves helping and preaching the word of God “to whomever wants to listen.” He plans to continue to help people “by any doors that open up to us.”