By: Kimberlein N. Davis –
Curt Thomas said it was a mix of popularity and procrastination that caused him to fail the ninth grade in 1995.
The neighborhood athlete with a gregarious personality said he had a lot going for him.
Thomas says he possessed some quality ingredients that, for most part, could have produced a positive outcome when it came to academic success.
He was a preacher’s kid who was raised to put Christ first, family second, then academics and community service and the Lord would take care of the rest.
Son of Elder Albert Thomas and Lucille Bosier-Thomas, a former Clarendon County bus driver, he said his parents regularly stressed the importance of education to him and his younger brother, Bernard.
After a series of poor choices, Thomas found himself wishing he had heeded the teachings of his parents.
With his mother’s uncontrollable cries reverberating in his ears and the look of disappointment in his father’s eyes when they learned their son would not be promoted, Thomas said he realized the magnitude of his choices.
“There is a price to pay for irresponsibility,” he said. “It was humbling. I had to take ownership of the decisions that I made and the consequences that followed.”
Determined not to let the situation get the best of him, Thomas said he had to make some tough decisions if he wanted to make right his wrongs and graduate from Manning High School.
Fast forwarding nearly 20 years later, the lance corporal with the South Carolina Highway Patrol and reservist with the United States Air Force has traveled extensively speaking about his first book, “Three Keys to Becoming a Responsible Student,” and how learning to be accountable put him on the path to limitless opportunities.
He says the three keys are: remember, reputation and results.
“To this day, I remember my mother’s cries,” he said. “I dealt with the embarrassment of letting my parents down. It was costly, and I’m determined to encourage students to improve their reputation by not making the same mistakes I did so they can get the positive results they want.”
He said the book offers “ideal strategies that will enable middle- and high-school students … to enter college, a rewarding career or service in the military, prepared and equipped to handle whatever life brings.”
Thomas’ current educational résumé is a stark contrast to what it was years ago.
He holds a B.A. in Christian education from Carolina Bible Institute, and is a graduate of Buckley School of Public Speaking.
He also is a member of Toastmasters International, the Orangeburg County Chamber of Commerce and Kappa Alpha Psi Fraternity Inc. Thomas has lived in Orangeburg for seven years. Through his work as a background investigator for the SCHP, he said he saw “many applicants were disqualified because of poor social choices and academic performance.”
Seeing this was troubling, yet it served as confirmation that the business he started in 2013, Curt Thomas Unlimited LLC, was going to be a vehicle to reverse, empower and help produce young men and women who would choose to be standouts and not dropouts, he said.
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