In Romans 5:3-5, we read: Not only so, but we also glory in our sufferings, because we know that suffering produces perseverance; perseverance, character; and character, hope. And hope does not put us to shame, because God’s love has been poured out into our hearts through the Holy Spirit, who has been given to us.
Perseverance is a word that I have heard a lot lately due to the work I do with young people at Milton Hershey School. As a result of our school's mission, to develop Social and Emotional Learning skiils in our young people, we recently hosted a gentleman named Brad Cohen. Brad learned that he had Tourette Syndrome when he was 6 years old. His disability made school an excruciating experience for him and he began to loathe his entire education experience.
Until one day, his middle school principal gave him the opportunity to speak to his classmates about his disability and why he made the noises and ticks that he did. When he was finally able to educate his school about his Tourette's, he became empowered to make a difference through teaching. His classmates began to respect him and his struggle with his ticks and noises became less frequent.
He went to college to study education, teaching everyone along the way about his Tourette's Syndrome. After graduating Cum Laude, he went for his first interview with a school. 24 interviews and rejections later, one school decided to take a chance with Brad. They hired him even though he made distracting noises because he had an amazing strengths-based approach to teaching.
After his first year of teaching, Brad received the Sallie Mae First Class Teacher award for the state of Georgia. His story is also a Hallmark Hall of Fame movie, titled "Front of the Class". Below is a summary of Brad's visit with our school where he spoke to over 2,500 students and staff about how he "persevered through adversity."