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Student Soapbox: FADAF It!
By Irvin Mull
MCS Student Envoy
Irvin Mull joined the Envoy Project in 2010 as a broadcast student at the Memphis City Schools Telecommunications Center. Irvin journeyed to Washington D.C. for the National Youth Summit with the Envoy Project, a trip that included a tour of Howard University. This year Irvin graduated from Memphis’ Northside High School as class valedictorian, was accepted to attend Howard University, and received the prestigious Gates Foundation Millennium Scholarship to fund his education. Here is what Irvin has to say about his favorite Envoy Project Secret, FADAF:
There are five secrets that are used in the Envoy Project, but the one that helped me the most was FADAF (Failure And Difficulty Are Feedback). Everyone sooner or later is ultimately going to fail at something, but FADAF is a guide to master the things in life that you can’t do yet. I learned that failure is only information you collect over time to work on and grow your potential. FADAF was an excellent principle to learn, and contributed to my success.
Often times I remember when I gave and threw in the towel because the road got a little rough. Before FADAF and the Envoy Project, it was hard for me to deal with failure and difficulty. I tried so hard to succeed, so I never would have to deal with that empty feeling when I failed. People’s failures have the tendency to become subject of ridicule. It makes people doubt themselves, and lose self-confidence. Just the thought of failure and difficulty makes people think twice about doing new and self-improving things.
When I applied to Howard University, I can admit that I was a little insecure about my intelligence. Howard has a reputation for its extremely challenging academic atmosphere and diverse cultural education. When I finally got my acceptance letter, I couldn’t believe that out of fourteen thousand applicants they chose me to represent their institution.
The only thing that separates me from others is my will to succeed, and that now I know how to channel failure and difficulty. Now I know how to use failure and difficulty to my advantage. It’s almost like divide and conquer, I have identified my problem and now I am equipped with the skills to overcome and conquer failure. I can accurately attribute FADAF and the Envoy Project as a milestone in my success.
If it was not for the Envoy Project, I would not have stepped foot on Howard University campus, I would not be the valedictorian of Northside High School, and I would not be attending Howard University in the fall with an Gates Millennium Scholarship. It only takes one moment to spark the mind and cultivate the soul, so that people and students want better.
It took me awhile, like any stubborn high school student to finally understand and learn how to use failure, and why the Envoy Project pushes their methods and principles so hard. In order to succeed later on in life, you must understand and identify your weakness and problems now. You have to understand failure now, to overcome failure later.
Some might think that the whole Envoy Project is frivolous, but I’ve come to say that this program has helped me out in so many ways. Why? Because this program is not just for school; it can be used in the real world.
John Merrow's 3-part series takes an in-depth look at No Child Left Behind
First published in A Nation Reformed? American Education 20 Years After A Nation at Risk, Dr. Jeff Howard identifies two critical problems at the heart of our on-going failure to educate all children to high levels.