“The whole thing was completely unexpected like one of the surprises you don’t plan on getting and you really wish you didn’t get,” Denver Online High School senior Adam Madjour said. A little more than a year ago, Madjour found his mom after she had tragically passed away one night unexpectedly.
“I suppose the best way to describe it was, she went to sleep one night and didn’t wake up in the morning,” he expressed.
But even amidst crushing circumstances, light can break through the devastation.
“Adam has been at Denver Online longer than any other student,” Denver Online High School counselor Casey Burton said. “He came to us five years ago. He wasn’t a very good student at the time to be honest. He failed a lot of classes. He’s always a nice kid. Adam’s always one of the kindest, sweetest people around. But in the last year and a half, he’s really picked up his academic performance, passing all classes. Not only passing but passing with good grades.”
In a moment, his world changed.
“I suppose you could say I might have been just afraid of trying new things, and then when my mother died, pretty much the entire sense of fear went with her,” Madjour explained. “So I just came to the point where whenever there would be something new or a possibility offered, I would just say, “Alright, screw it. Let’s go.”
And so he did, starting with a trip to Morocco, a place where he will now attend college next year.
He said, “The entire change of scenery, not just being around different people, or in a different area, but an entirely different culture, on a different continent, with an entire ocean separating me from everything here was just very helpful. And then I came back, got into Balarat, writing some more, and now college classes.
He found his passion to become an English teacher, especially when participating in Lighthouse Writer’s Workshop, a nonprofit that works with writers to improve their craft and ultimately get published.
“Adam was a student who not only came to the workshops her at Denver Online and got involved with that but then he saw an opportunity to go beyond that and start attending more intensive workshops at the community organization itself,” Jessica Glynn, Denver Online High School English Teacher, expressed.
He also jumped into becoming a leader at Balarat, Denver Public School’s Outdoor Education Center.
“If you would have told me that the Adam I see today would be that guy when I met him, you know, five years ago, I would have been astonished,” Counselor Casey Burton noted. “So it’s just been great to see this guy grow into the man he’s become.”
Sometimes growing takes looking fear straight in the eye and choosing to move forward, even if it means stepping outside of the safe zone into something unknown.
“Even though bad stuff might happen and you might initially regret it, eventually if you just keep pushing it will eventually be worth it,” Madjour said. “Every minute of it will be worth it, and then you’ll be sitting in a couple years, or even a few months, or however long it takes wondering, ‘Damn, why didn’t I do that earlier?’”
Graduation for Adam will be extra meaningful. Not only will it be a tribute to his mom, but also a salute to learning bravery, to overcoming mountains simply for the opportunity to experience uncharted territory.
Looking to the future, Madjour concluded, “I wish she could be there for it but, you know, stuff happens. I don’t really know because the next chapter seems like it’s a big mystery. It’s a whole lot of if’s and maybe’s, not certainties are pretty much nonexistent, but I’m fine with that.”