Adrian Hall receives her diploma from Director of Schools Dr. Mischelle Simcox. Photo by Joey Icenhour.
By Tim Chambers
From the school of hard knocks to completing her first year of college, Johnson County senior graduate Adrian Hall is an excellent example for all who have made a mistake or two and wanted to give up in life. Adrian’s desire to overcome unforeseen circumstances in her life shows that you can rebound from a few bumps and bruises and make something good out of what appeared to be a bad situation.
Hall was a starter on the girl’s varsity basketball team as a sophomore and appeared to be headed for stardom. In her last game against Sullivan South, she amassed 21 point, grabbed 15 rebounds, and could shoot the lights out from anywhere on the floor. During her junior season, a few unforeseen circumstances led to her missing out on playing during her junior and senior seasons and possibly losing a college scholarship. But Hall didn’t go off in a corner and disappear. She accepted the punishment and vowed to make her life better. And she has definitely done that.
I asked Hall if the punishment was fitting for what she did. She replied,“Yes, it taught me to keep good people close by you and surround yourself with them. I learned through this to never give up. I’ve definitely wanted to redeem myself and prove everyone wrong as to what they had heard about me.”
Hall did that on Saturday by walking the stage and receiving her degree in the same year that she completed her freshman campaign of college. Standing there to hand her diploma to her was Dr. Mischelle Simcox, Director of Schools who had to administer a dose of tough love to Hall.
“It meant a whole lot to have her hug me and tell me she was proud of me,” added Hall. “I can’t say enough about Dr. Simcox and Dr. Long. They allowed me to be a part of this graduation, which is something I’ll never forget. I can’t thank them enough for giving me the opportunity.”
Hall said graduation made her realize all she had missed.
“At the beginning, it didn’t bother me that much, but walking across the graduation stage made me realize what all I had missed out on. Not getting to play basketball broke my heart, but I knew my teammates could do it without me. To be honest, playing basketball at the time was the only reason I wanted to go to high school. I had a second chance and blew it too.”
Hall had some words for those who are entering high school.
“Make the most out of the opportunity, and don’t do as I did. If I could go back, I would definitely try harder in school to be better to other people, and I definitely wouldn’t make the mistakes that I did. But don’t give up if you do make a mistake. Correct it to the best of your ability and move forward. Don’t ever give up on yourself.”
Hall is going to school planning to be an oral surgeon.
“I am going to Northeast and will complete as many classes as I can then transfer to ETSU.”
Hall vowed to make her dad, the late Gary Woodard, who passed away while she was in high school, proud of her.
“He meant so much to me, and so has my mom and you. All of you always told me that you guys believe in me, and I used that as my fuel. I want to be an oral surgeon and I will. I’ve come too far to give up now.”
Hall added that two friends, Hannah Brooks and Serena Leonard, had been there for her.
“You find out who your friends are when you hit bottom, and those two were there to pick me back up. Everyone deserves a pair of friends like Hannah and Serena. “
Brooks said that Hall was just like a sister to her. Their bond was formed in kindergarten at Roan Creek Elementary School years ago.
“Adrian and I met in kindergarten at Roan Creek Elementary and instantly became friends,” said Brooks. “From that day forward, our friendship has grown to have no bounds. When we are in dire need of someone or something, we both know who to call. Adrian has faced more obstacles in her short 18 years of life than anyone I know. When Gary passed, both of our lives changed forever; he was like a second dad to me. Her hurt was my hurt, too; we might as well have been sisters. Adrian loves with all of her being, and she is one of the most caring people I will ever know. You will never find a truer person or a better friend than Adrian Hall. In the first book of James, it tells us to be quick to listen, slow to speak, and slow to anger… throughout Adrian’s high school journey, I have seen her display obedience to this command over and over. She does not rush to assumption, but rather listens to what others have to say and does not boast in anger rapidly. Adrian is one of a kind, and I am so thankful God placed her in my life.”
Her senior class was glad she walked across the stage with them too.