"I want to further update you on what has been going on in my life since I last e-mailed you two years ago.
"I graduated Cum Laude from Texas A&M University in December 2008 with a Bachelor's of Science degree in Political Science. I had changed my major to Industrial Engineering and then back again to my initial major, Political Science, which is why it took me two semesters longer to graduate. President George W. Bush spoke at my graduation, which was a really nice way to end my undergraduate studies.
"I just got accepted to South Texas College of Law in Houston. I will be starting law school in August. In addition to going to law school, I will be interning with my dad's friend at his criminal law firm. I am going to be following in his footsteps by studying criminal law, and I plan on working for him after graduation.
"I attached pictures from my graduation, and I hope you will share them with everybody. I want to thank you guys for giving me an environment in which I was able to begin to start making better decisions."
"How is life in the Yaak? Well I must say I miss it there more than words can say! I truly look back with many fond memories of beautiful Yaak Montana! :)
"Well I thought I would send everyone an update on my life post Turning winds Academic Institute... so here it goes!
"Well let's see... I'll start with college... I LOVE IT!!! I really enjoy it a lot more than I thought I would. My major is elementary education and I'm very excited to get a teaching degree! Right now I am off track for the winter and will go back up to school in April for the summer and Fall semesters, I can't wait! I am currently living at home. I work for my dad and I sure stay busy! It's really a great thing to be able to be at home! My sisters and I are extremely close and spend a lot of time together. My brother will be coming home from his Mission on April 8th! We are all so thrilled and look forward to his return that is coming all so fast! My parents are doing wonderful as well, and it's amazing the trust we have now! It took a long time to fully obtain, but it has sure paid off!! Although they trust me very much, as I do them... I still am very independent and kicked of the "daddy scholarship" :) It's a good thing though. I pay for everything, including, housing, tuition, books, gas, etc. It's very self rewarding and I have been able to learn many life lessons because of it.
"Also, prior to graduating from BYU-Idaho you have to do an internship... I am hoping that I will be able to come up there to do it! Once I finish my generals I plan to direct my major towards High school education vs. Elementary so I pray I meet the criteria at Turning winds to be a teacher intern! :) I guess we will see what the future brings!
"As far as my struggles prior to Turning winds Academic Institute, they somewhat still remain and it's a constant effort to continue to be successful. Its self rewarding though to push through and accomplish what used to seem impossible. A great thing is I have been sober for almost two years now! I never thought I could do it, but I have and it has changed my life more than anything else has! I also have become more assertive, independent, brave, and open minded. I am still pretty opinionated though :) and my patience is something I try to be better at... but sometimes fall short. :) That's just Abby though.
"Well I think I might just be babbling now :) so I better stop myself. I would like to express my unconditional gratitude for every single one of you! My life is a lot brighter than I ever thought it could be! There is not a day that goes by that I don't think about Turning Winds. My family and I discuss it quite often with laughter and tears as to all the wonderful memories I have made there. I miss it a lot and I always ask for a plane ticket to Spokane for a Christmas, or birthday gift :) That place is holy ground in my eyes, a place of love, change, hardship, struggle, and strength. Thank you all for the roles you have played in my life for me to finally see a greater potential then I could possibly imagine. Life is wonderful and has its moments of pure bliss... all because of that place... that place that changed me... Turning Winds Academic Institute... my home away from home.
"I just wanted to say thank you for everything! This has been a wonderful and learning experience. I will carry memories from here for the rest of my life. I always knew you were there for not just me but the rest of us as well. You have changed and helped turn around so many lives, it's amazing! Before I came here I was a high-school drop out going no where with my life, now I'm a graduate getting ready to start college in 2 weeks. Well, thanks for everything. I really appreciate it! I will be keeping in touch."
"Merry Christmas! My present to you is my thanks. Thank you for everything you have given me. I am very lucky for all of the care you have given me. You have helped me to find a better reason for living. You put up with all of my behavior and helped me tremendously."
"Thank you guys very much for the snowmobiling trip, it was an awesome day!"
"Well I am writing this letter as a token of my appreciation. I would like to thank you for taking me into your school, helping me change, and making my stay a fun and memorable experience that I will never forget. I believe I have changed tremendously and I received help form all of you and just want to tell you that all of you made a difference in my life and you continue to make differences in other peoples lives which everyone there might not understand now, but come time to leave they will understand and thank you the same way. Thank you all again and I really appreciate you guys and I will never forget you. I will continue to keep in touch."
"Well it's been a journey and it won't every end! I'm going to be one of those kids that call you consistently. Thank you for getting a place like this started. It helped me more then you will ever know!"
"I have learned that I am much smarter than I believed myself to be. I have learned great study habits. I have learned in order to accomplish something you have to work. I have taught myself not to give up."
"I enjoy the good working environment. I don't feel overwhelmed with schoolwork. I enjoy the educational media, fun projects, and improving my reading skills."
"I have learned the value of education. I have learned to set and accomplish goals and look forward to my future college years now."
"At my old school I was so far ahead I couldn't learn more than they were teaching and I was bored. At Turning Winds Academic Institute I can actually learn new things and go at my own pace!"
"I've learned I am smart. I'm more consistent and goal oriented. I have learned to work hard and earn success. I have learned I can do what I put my mind to, how to focus and develop more study habits every day!"
"Since I have been at Turning Winds Academic Institute I have discovered my capabilities in school. I have become more patient with my schoolwork and definitely more open to help. I have realized I am capable of learning things by myself and teaching myself new things. Before I came to Turning Winds Academic Institute I was a high school dropout who thought nothing of my education and didn't really care. I am proud of education and I look forward to more."
"Well, when I first got here I put no effort in school. I thought school was a waste of time but ever since I came to Turning Winds Academic Institute I found myself. I found myself getting A's on my U.S. History midterms! I couldn't believe I could do it! My dream is to make my dad proud of me! But first I had to make myself proud. I just love school! I pushed myself and found an interest in school. I'm so proud of myself!"
"I have learned that I can achieve great things. With hard work and dedication, anything is possible for my future. School is the most important decision in my life right now and I need to get as much out of the experience to ensure a bright future for myself. School used to be a by-product of the social scene, but now I have learned it is the opposite. I have all the tools necessary to pursue my dreams, but I have to put in the work to do so. Before, I was focused on the wrong stuff, but now I am channeled in the right direction."
"I've only been here for two weeks, but I've learned that school is not a joke. Here that's what you focus on-school. I've learned to keep trying even if I fail, and to do good and stay focused."
"I've learned a tremendous amount. I have started college classes so I can have a future. My writing, science, and math skills have increased. I am just overall more focused."
"At Turning Winds Academic Institute I have learned how to focus on school. At home I didn't even attend school, now I work really hard. I have only been here a 1 and 1/2 months and I already have my credits for Algebra and now I am working on Social Studies."