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Show 1539: Rising Above
Air Date: September 27, 2015
Rob McClendon: Each year, it is my pleasure to emcee the Metro Tech Foundation’s Scholarship Banquet called Sowing the Seeds of Success, and it was at this year’s banquet that I learned of a young lady whose story we just had to tell. Here is our Andy Barth.
Andy Barth: As the old saying goes: “When life gives you lemons, you make lemonade.” And we met with one Metro Tech student who has had her share of sour luck. But she’s turning it around to make life a little sweeter.
Andy Barth: Latefia Wright hammers away at Metro Tech’s electrician class, a skill she really enjoys. But the road that got her here is anything but enjoyable.
Latefia Wright: They said that they found me pretty much in a dog house with flea bites, tick bites, roach bites. They had to surgically remove my diaper.
Andy: At 2 years old, Wright was placed in foster care and for years was labeled a runner.
Wright: I was pretty polite, but I just ran away. I was a chronic AWOLer. You couldn’t hold me down for nothing.
Andy: And at the age of 15, Wright ran to Atlanta, Georgia, where she found herself homeless.
Wright: I ate a pack of sardines and crackers every day from the convenience store. Hustling up change off of whoever I could, doing whatever I could.
Andy: Yet her life changed when a man took her in and taught her the electrical trade.
Wright: And he took me to work with him, and that is when I learned how to do my first receptacle and hammering the nails and splice boxes.
Andy: Wright moved back to Oklahoma to try to reconnect with her family. After a failed attempt she found herself a single mother of two needing a job. That’s when she met her instructor.
Wright: I didn’t think that they still made Mr. Martins anymore. You know the teachers that you know really don’t want, they don’t care about money. The only thing he cares about is passing on knowledge.
Andy: And instructor Jerry Martin says she’s every teacher’s dream.
Jerry Martin: She’s got a work ethic that’s phenomenal. She works hard. She gives everything she’s got to whatever she’s doing. She’s really the type of student you want as a teacher.
Andy: And according to Martin, Wright has what it takes for the business.
Martin: I think the sky is the limit for her. But she really has just a desire to do electrical work.
Andy: As well as a desire to give back.
Wright: My long-term dream is to work in the electrical field, to start an all-women electrical company and build a teenage group home that’s solar-powered.
Andy: And even with a jaded past, Wright now has the skills and relationships for a happy life.
Wright: I never could imagine that my life would be this good. Because when you struggle and you go through so much pain your whole life, you don’t know that good can happen. Everybody needs somebody. And I needed Metro Tech. It saved my life.
Andy: Now, Latefia won the Sowing Seeds of Success Scholarship sponsored by Branson Tools. She earned a stipend to put towards purchasing her all-pink tool set as well as funds to help her with daily costs.