With so many things beyond a person’s control, three things are within our control said senior Mitchell Carey in his Chapel Talk, delivered on March 20. The first two – attitude and effort – came from Jason Morris in Mitchell’s Bible class. The third – enthusiasm – was added by Mitchell himself. These aspects of life were the subject of his speech.
Mitchell shared several moments in which he learned the value of character-building experiences. During his junior year, he earned a D grade on his first Chemistry test. “This initial grade crushed my resolve, and I felt like a failure,” he said. In fact, that one low grade among many other good grades influenced his entire attitude during his junior year.
“Interestingly, getting a D on that first test turned out to be a blessing in disguise,” Mitchell said. He changed his method of studying and received a B on the next test and, eventually, an A in the course. He learned that good outcomes may come from negative moments in life.
Having a good attitude can also be the product of helping others and cultivating gratitude. Mitchell ran for student-body president at his school last year. He and his opponent, “a very determined girl,” were stunned when her sister harassed one of Mitchell’s supporters. With the drama averted by the sister’s apology, Mitchell won a fair race. “I was humbled and grateful to have been elected to the position.” Fulfilling a campaign promise, Mitchell started a snack table for the students to enjoy since they didn’t have vending machines.
Mitchell learned in his courses that effort produces results. “It’s simple yet proven,” he said. “Studying and preparing are key components to receiving good grades.”
In other pursuits outside of school, Mitchell has also learned the benefit of effort. Three years ago, he began taking ukulele lessons. “Learning to play the ukulele was hard at first but, with practice, I began to play songs I knew,” he said. One of those was the Star Wars theme. “Because I’m a huge Star Wars fan, I put an immense amount of effort in order to learn the tune,” he said.
Mitchell’s efforts also paid off, literally, when he began taking care of his neighbor’s animals while they were on vacation. He was rewarded when they were impressed with his effort. For the past five years, Mitchell has cared for their animals. “I am proud to be known as a trustworthy worker,” he said.
Enthusiasm is the key component in maintaining a good attitude and putting forth effort, according to Mitchell. Metaphorically, it is the spark that lights the oven of attitude and effort, he said.
Mitchell learned this on the job as a volunteer at Sailor’s Creek Battlefield, beginning in the summer of 2017. “At the time I faked enthusiasm [for the Civil War battle]. However, as I learned about the stories and battles, my faked enthusiasm became real,” he said. In fact, his new-found enthusiasm created a more positive work experience.
Mitchell acknowledged that controlling attitude, effort, and enthusiasm is a “journey not a destination.” Nevertheless, the journey is worthwhile despite inevitable mistakes and setback, he said. He encouraged his fellow students to pursue their own journey toward success.
Attending his Chapel Talk were his parents, Patti and Sam Carey, along with his grandparents, Betty and Don Bowman, and cousin, Gloria Kuykendall. Also present were neighbors Susan and Ronnie Cole. Other guests included Amelia Academy’s former headmaster, James D. Grizzard, and Mitchell’s former teachers, Laura Birdsong, Walter Duncan, LeeAnn Arnett, Wanda Boyles, and Robin Settle.