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In the end, it all pays off

Butler County is full of magnificent young people who have big dreams, and the willingness to work for those dreams.

This week, I had the pleasure of spending some time with future University of West Alabama football player Rickie Sallie Jr., who directed his team from the quarterback position this past season at McKenzie High School.

One thing I certainly can say for this particular young man is that he has a very bright future. Not only was he a key football player for the Tigers this year, but he also is ranked near the top of his class.

The saying that it takes a village to raise a child is very true. His father, Rickie Sallie Sr., commented on how proud he is of his son. Rickie spoke some about his father, and said that his father was a major player in his life, and has supported him throughout his life.

Rickie also spoke very highly of his coach, Shane Smothers. He said Coach Smothers is definitely the best coach he has ever had in his life.

It is amazing how much influence we adults have on the life of children and teenagers. They look to us for guidance, knowledge and wisdom, and most of the time we can teach them a few things based on our past experiences.

However, it takes a child experiencing his or her own life for some of those lessons to actually make an impact on future decisions. I know if I could, I would go back and do so many things differently. It's like my mother has always said, "Hindsight is the best sight."

But, there are many young people these days, much like Rickie, who have strong heads on their shoulders and have the determination to make something good out of their lives.

I asked Rickie what he was expecting from his new home of Livingston, Alabama, and he said because he has relatives there already, he's expecting it to be much like home. He added that Livingston is small, much like McKenzie, and he said he is looking forward to his experience at college.

High school is much different today than it was even 10 years ago. The drop-out numbers have increased and school children face many issues on a daily basis that we as adults never have encountered.

A lot of young people will be graduating from high school this coming May. Let's all remember to support them and tell them how proud we are of them. After all, it takes diligence and determination to attain any long-time goal, and these kids have worked hard to find that in the end, it all pays off.