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Students encouraged to set goals Featured


Den Talk Dec 1Youth counselor Austin Killion talks to a group of students at Cleveland Central Middle School about achieving their dreams and aspirations.

On the last Friday of every month, Cleveland Central Middle School principle L'Kenna Whitehead hosts an intervention program called Den Talk where he invites a speaker from the community to talk with the students.

The Den Talk was created for students who may have behavioral problems inside the classroom, not putting enough effort into their schoolwork or have been tardy to class during the month.

Friday during Den Talk, Whitehead invited two speakers to give the students words of encouragement and motivation.

The speakers were father and son, Jeff and Austin Killion.

Their goal was to get the students to think about why they were in Den Talk and what career path they would like to take after high school.

Both Jeff and Austin shared their life experiences in a way that hopefully made the students change their own perspective about life.

There were about 30 students in Den Talk, and many shared with the Killions their life goals and how they plan to achieve those goals.

The students said they would like to go to medical school, to the army, and one said he would like to be a video game designer.

Jeff, who is a retired police officer, said, "If you want to make those hopes and dreams, you will have to humble yourself.

"It's going to take hard work, education and it's going to take your education. That's all you have to get there."

Jeff said as an officer, his satisfaction was helping other people and leading them on the right path.

"Giving of yourself and making self-sacrifices is going to get you further in life than any other thing that you do."

Austin who is a youth counselor at First Baptist Church in Cleveland said he works with kids who have behavior issues and he has seen firsthand how many of the students behave.

He said sometimes many of students might misbehave because they may come from a single parent or divorced household or they may not feel loved.

Austin said, "I just want people to feel loved and to be warned, the same way my father warned me when I was getting in trouble."

Jeff and Austin both agreed that in order to be successful in life, one would have to work hard and go above and beyond to what is asked of them.

Jeff said, "Set your goals, set your dreams, and do what you have to do to achieve them."

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