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At 18 - I was Baptized in Jesus Name
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By Anthony Dandie

I am 24 years old. Born in Etobicoke, I moved to Brantford, ON at age 4. I was raised by a single mother along with my three siblings (older brother, younger brother, and younger sister).

My father was never around, and my mother struggled to retain employment. We grew up in a state of constant financial turmoil.

Although starting school in Scarborough, I attended elementary and high school in Brantford. I attended North Park Collegiate where I met friends that I am still close with today, including some of my former teachers. In my pursuit of a career in education, I will have a number of former teachers and administrators from this school who have pledged to advocate for my initiatives to be successful.

At age 16, I moved away from home. My family had lost our house and was forced to move to Toronto, where we had family. Finishing up grade 11 during this tragedy and looking onto my graduating year which was to follow, I had no desire to begin a new life in Toronto. I wanted to graduate, attend prom, play sports, and spend time with the many friends I had at North Park. A friend and football teammate and his family allowed me to finish my grade 11 school year living with them. Another friend and his family allowed me to stay with them for the first two months of grade 12, and yet another friend and his family took me in to stay for the remainder of that school year as well as the fifth year of high school I opted to take. I often give thanks for this last family, the Mercers, in particular. They have become a second family to me. In fact, as I write this, I'm sitting on a couch in their house, as this is my home in Brantford when I am in town here.

God is good - no matter what the circumstance, he always provided for me in my time of dire need. Although I wasn't blessed with monetary fortune, I have been blessed with a number of incredible people who see something in me...something worth supporting. Whether it be my ambition, my talents, my character or charisma, I thank the Lord for simply my ability to connect with people, and for the many blessings He has bestowed upon me through some incredible acts of kindness from others.

I have been involved in sport for a number of years. Because of my family's financial situation, I was limited to participation in sport only through school. Although my first love was basketball, I grew to favour both football and track and field - both sports I was involved in at the varsity level at the University of Windsor, where I studied and earned an undergraduate degree in human kinetics. I have been a city all-star in football, 3-time OFSAA medallist in triple jump, a junior national bronze medallist in the same event, among a number of other credentials athletically. In university, I became a two-time national team champion, two-time CIS medallist, and All-Canadian. What I am more proud of is the fact that I used my talent to help me academically, by means of scholarship. My post-secondary education has been substantially subsidized due to the athletic funding I have attained.

Now, having completed my Bachelor of Education from Western University, I seek to keep moving forward with a life that I can live for God while doing something that can have a substantial positive impact on today's young people. I have a vision for myself - to be a great educator who can perhaps change the face of education by bringing a passion, personality, and an ability to connect with students that will help them become better students and better people, while inspiring other educators to want to make a difference as well.

I am a phys-ed and drama teacher. It's a unique combo that I had to do a little bit of extra work to acquire, but it will be well worth it. I chose these two teachable subject areas for a special reason, a reason I refer to as the invisible curriculum. With phys-ed and drama being subject areas that are less academic and incredibly social, I find they are a powerful tool for teaching valuable life skills and instilling certain principles and values in youths. Confidence, dignity, teamwork and cohesion, building community, communication skills, positive body image, respect for self, others, and the opposite sex, not to mention valuable skills such as public speaking - all skills and concepts that many teenagers struggle with, and all skills and concepts that can be taught through physical and health education.

Through learning about being physically active, and through enrichment via the dramatic arts, I want to help kids become better students, better people, and more adequate contributors to society.

I have suffered many hardships and have struggled financially trying to make ends meet throughout this journey, from being homeless, to being broke and foodless, to dealing with naysayers and transgressors who have tried to see my failure. I have been beaten down by life at times, but we all do and shall suffer hardships. That's life. I feel that through diligence, perseverance, and patience, can any man find his way through the storm, especially people of God.

"But let patience have her perfect work, that ye may be perfect and entire, wanting nothing." - James 1:4

I was baptized in Jesus name in the spring of 2007, just a couple of months before going to university, I thank the Lord that I had the courage to take that step and develop the relationship with Him that I did at that time. I don't know how I would have made it through without Him being a part of my life and a part of me.

By the glory of God, I have persevered, and will continue to do so until I see the success that I have long tarried for - the success I deserve.

"I can do all things through Christ which strengtheneth me" - Philippians 4:13

I now seek to enter a Masters program at Trinity Western University in Langley, BC as the next step toward making the difference I aspire to make in this world. Knowledge is power, but is powerless without wisdom - that's what I believe. That's something that today's youth are in dire need of.

Aspirations of Inspiration

I aspire to inspire inquiring minds,
Minds of young people desiring to be equals,
The tired, uninspired, emotionally feeble,
The timid, the declined and virtually see-through

Fingers pointing...
Condemned, judged, labelled
But a yearning and burning desire for learning is being enabled
I strive to refine minds so students are tailored
To define the fine lines between success and failure

Circumstances are just circumstances,
Second chances can be granted so you don't have to be empty-handed

I aspire to inspire inquiring minds
I'm thanking God for this opportunity to change lives...