JUSTIN GRADUATES HIGH SCHOOL
Last night Justin graduated high school. He attended the Bullis School. It was a night filled with so much emotion. Audrey and I could not be more proud of Justin's accomplishments and especially graduating high school. Justin always struggled with school from an early age because he is learning disabled. He attended the Lab School of Washington from kindergarten to 7th grade. The Lab School is a school that specializes in kids with emotional and learning issues. Justin could not read or write until the 4th grade. The Lab School was a great place for Justin to get a foundation because they used a multi-sensory approach to learning. We were so happy the first time Justin read us a story...it brought tears to our eyes. Justin's last year at Lab School in 2009 when he was diagnosed with his brain tumor. It was one of the hardest things I had to do is meet with the school about Justin's brain tumor. The school was in a crisis mode because all the children are so fragile emotionally and the teachers are so connected with the kids. I remember to this day telling the principal the terrible news and we were both crying. We owe so much to that school as Justin would not be where he is today. Justin loved the Lab School but he begged us to go to public school at Frost Middle School because he so badly wanted to be like his brothers and also be with his neighborhood friends. He excelled at Frost thanks to the learning accommodations provided by the school and the county. His teachers were fantastic. We thought it would be best for Justin to attend Bullis because it is a great school with small classes and a very nurturing environment. He was a freshman and his older brother Jordan was a senior. Jordan really looked out for him and it was amazing to watch them both play varsity soccer together. Justin excelled at Bullis and they really worked very hard with Justin. He was so determined to do well and fit in. Justin became our little success story at the school. Again, Justin defied all the odds given his brain tumor and learning disabilities to graduate Bullis. We are very grateful to Bullis for Justin's success As I have said before, we did not think that Justin would be alive to even graduate when he was first diagnosed. It has been a very hard journey for Justin to reach this finish line. He had to work so much harder than everyone else not only with his learning disability but the constant stress of living with an inoperable brain tumor. The headmaster last night gave a great speech about detours in life. He ironically mentioned Vice President Biden with the loss of his son Beau to a brain tumor over this past weekend. He said it was a detour for the Vice President and another wall that he has to climb. Justin too has had a detour and many walls to climb. Justin has so much determination that I believe if he puts his mind to it he can achieve anything. Now Justin is relaxing and reflecting on his accomplishments. He is so excited to go to Salisbury University to become a student/soccer athlete. He is about to embark on a new journey away from home and our comfort to become the man that he wants to be and achieve greatness at Salisbury while still continuing his Justin's Quest foundation work. It has been a long journey for Audrey and I as well pushing and comforting this little boy while raising 3 other boys. I have been very focused on Justin once he was diagnosed with learning disabilities because I felt so bad for him struggling in school and emotionally having a very hard time After his diagnosis in 2009, I basically stopped everything that I was doing to focus exclusively on saving my son. This consumed me 24 hours a day, I could not bear the thought of burying my son. Thankfully today Justin is doing well, we have him with the best doctors in the world for his brain tumor. Justin, Mom and I cannot express how proud we are of you and so blessed to have you here with us every day. We love you very much!