Success starts with YOU

(Dr. Clayton Lawrence, founder and CEO, shares his thoughts in a weekly column focused on community wellness and inspiring others.)

With every first day of school comes an opportunity to change the direction of a student’s educational pathway. From the youth’s perspective, it serves as a fresh start to maintain good grades, get involved and make powerful choices that lead to successful futures.

As parents, caregivers and mentors, we have a responsibility at the end of that first day and the 179 days that follow to check-in on the youth(s) in our lives. No matter the age, from pre-school level to senior year, support, encouragement and having someone who cares can be critical for a young person’s path to success.


Here are a few questions that are sure to spark a conversation:

What challenge(s) did you face today?

What are you learning in (insert subject)?

How do you feel about your grades?

What are your strengths and weaknesses when it comes to school?

What do you think your school has to offer to help prepare you for the future?

Have you met with your guidance counselor lately?

What are your goals upon graduation?

What is something new you learned today?

Do you feel safe in school?

Who is your favorite teacher and why?

Do you have any big projects coming up and if so, how do you plan to avoid waiting until the last minute to get started?

Have you made any new friends and if so, what attracted you to this person?

What clubs/activities to you plan to become involved with?

Do you feel that support is available if you need help in a particular class?

What would your teachers say about you if I called them right now?

If there was one thing you could change about yourself, what would be it be and why?

How do you plan to make this a successful year?