Don't-Ever-Give-Up

Colonel (Ret.) Harry Westcott passed away November 4, 2015. Following is a story about Harry and his Study Student, AJ, taken from their speeches at the Annual Study Connection banquet in April, 2015.

Harry and AJ have been together as Study Buddy and Student for five years.

At the beginning of last school year, it didn’t look like they were going to be able to make that milestone. Harry, a veteran, was diagnosed with cancer shortly after the school year started and he had to make the difficult decision to resign from Study Connection because of his health.

AJ’s response to Harry’s health problems was a present – a bookmark.

The bookmark said “Mentoring is the cultivation of young adults, the tender caring for and nurturing of them so that they will grow, flourish and be fruitful.”

Beside the Bronze Star Medal was printed, “Don’t’ ever give up. Stay Strong.”

The message ended with “Thank you for being my Study Buddy this year!”

Harry says, “I will treasure this bookmark forever.”

Around Thanksgiving, Harry received some good news – he could return to Study Connection. So AJ and Harry were reunited and were able to finish out the school year.

Now AJ will be moving on to Franklin Community Middle School in the fall, and he hopes to keep a relationship with Harry. Study Connection doesn’t operate at the middle school, but we are working with Harry, AJ and his mom, and the middle school staff to make something happen.

AJ doesn’t have a living grandfather, so his mother is especially thankful for the role Harry plays in AJ’s life.

Harry and AJ spoke at the Annual Study Connection Banquet where we recognize and thank Study Buddies and our Site Coordinators for making this program special.

AJ said, “Harry is the greatest person I’ve ever met. We have cherished the moments. My reading, spelling, and writing were failing. Now I get A’s and B’s. We’ve never gotten into an argument except over a Canadian dollar. (emphasize “DOL-LAR” as if it’s a special joke). We’ve never given up on each other. I wish we could stay together till the end of the world. I’m glad Harry and I have spent the last five years together.”

“When I first met AJ,” Harry said, “he would avoid school work at every opportunity. We’ve worked well together. I don’t understand the new math it but I can take a calculator and show him when he’s wrong. And he can show me things on the computer. I’m amazed at his ability with computer.”

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Don’t Ever Give Up, Stay Strong