Hello everyone, my name is Jordan Alexander Nickles. While most high school graduates would probably choose to talk about all of the amazing experiences they have had in high school, I’m forced to do differently.
The second semester of my sophomore year I chose to enroll full-time as a PSEO student at Shawnee State University and I have stuck with this decision since then, barely ever setting foot inside the High School. Many of you might be astounded by such a drastic decision, thinking to yourselves “how could this young man give up the best years of his life, how can he throw away his high school experience?”
Well, let me tell you a little bit about my time here. During middle school I was walking to the bus to go home for the day when one of my classmates ran up behind me, screamed “you’re gay!” and spat on me. Freshman year I was called over to a table in the cafeteria by a group of classmates who proceeded to taunt me because I always sat with a group of girls during lunch. One time a classmate asked me what girl I was dating at the time and then asked if I was positive that she was even a girl. I have been called every name from freak to homosexual.
I was a victim of bullying until I made the choice to enroll full-time into the Post-Secondary program. People seem to have the wrong impression of me so allow me to set the record straight for you all. My name is Jordan Alexander Nickles. My dream is to become successful in whatever profession I choose, to find the perfect girl, marry her, and start a family. I have never participated in popular school sports. I enjoyed playing drums in the band and performing in community theater. I go to church and love God with all of my heart. I have a loving family that had to sit and watch me have a psychological breakdown because I would look at myself in the mirror every day and pick out all of my flaws and pray to God that I could just be treated like everyone else.
I could go on for hours telling you story after story. If not for the support of God and my family I may have been just another teen suicide, probably the only way that any of those people would feel sorry for me. But I thank God today for my successes. I have earned the title of salutatorian in spite of my many difficult college courses. I have earned enough college credits to qualify as a junior at Shawnee State University. I started working at the age of 14 for two of the most remarkable people in the world, John and Phyllis Rice of Portsmouth Feed and Supply, and have kept that job for almost five years. I have not gotten a girl pregnant. I have never tasted alcohol. I have never smoked a cigarette, but I do have a strong relationship with Jesus Christ and I’m darn proud of it.
The only thing that some of my peers seemed to teach me was to hate people, but I stand before you today not with bitterness in my heart, but with forgiveness for all of those present today who made me want to just quit. I choose to speak on this today for those students who are enduring the same hardships that I faced, and let them know that there is hope for them and that they are not alone. That is not to say that I did not have a group of some of the most loyal friends anyone could ask for and so I want to thank those few people who accepted me for who I was and were true friends to me, and apologize to them for vanishing from their lives for a while, my family who put up with me non-stop, and God for never leaving my side.
And now if you’ll excuse me, I’m going to go prove a few people wrong. Thank you.