He took the challenge and gained outstanding results. Quenten opted to make a difference in his by moving forward toward the positive.
Following is an excerpt from the article in the May 13, 2015 edition of The Cuero Record.
“You Can’t live life dwelling on the past”
By Tim O’Malley
It is a sad state of affairs for a teenager to live in an environment without hope or even dreams. Take that and mix it with a deeper level of hopelessness when someone close is taken away forever.
Quenten White, 17 year old, was born and raised in Cuero. When he was about to enter seventh grade he moved to Houston.
White said, “While I was in fifth ward (a community known as “Bloody Nickel” for it’s high crime, poverty, and gang warfare) I had no morals. I had no values. I had no dreams. No one graduates there at Kashmere High School. Nothing but drop outs.”
White had the opportunity to return to Cuero during his tenth grade year. “I came down here to be with Momma (Autumn White) and my step daddy. My step daddy passed away. I was going through some things, lashing out at people. I was real angry.”
Everything started to come to a head. Finally, that anger got out of control. He assaulted someone, was arrested and sent to jail. He was let go on conditions of release until his next birthday since this was his first offense.
“My home life was unstable. It was rough, “White said, “ I cam with attitude. I got in trouble three more times. Cuero ISD wasn’t having it. The police wasn’t having it. No one was having it.”
School got more difficult for him. He was placed in a school-in-school program. “ I needed help. I kept acting out because they did not help me. They were forcing me to go to school and I was not learning when I was there. I was just mad at the world,” Said White.
Mr. Ross Braune, counselor at DeWitt County Juvenile Probation Department said, “He did not trust anyone. His overall countenance was guarded. Others may have classified him as a thug or a gangster. I classified him misunderstood. His persona was a means to protect himself. Underneath that persona he does care for his family. He does care about his future. Ultimately, he cares about his education. The perception people had of him, someone who would end up in prison, he was used to.”
Something changed. White said, “Melissa Gunter (office manager at DeWitt County Juvenile Probation Department) started praying for me. She gave me a cross and told me everything was going to be okay. I got home and started to look at the cross. I said, ‘I can’t do this. I can’t act the way I cat no more because I am either going to prison or someone is going to kill me. Maybe these people really can help me.’”
Shelby Sonntag, family/life coach and anger resolution trainer said, “When we first met, his mom (Autumn) said that he would not open up to me or anyone. I saw a hurt man scared of the world who thought he had to be rough and tough. Within two weeks of his probation he opened up.”
“I came in here and started doing better. I offered to do community service and started talking to them,” said White. “At first, I did not like teachers. It is too hard to live like that. Shely and Ross helped me relieve a lot of issues of my past that made me angry. They carried my burden, especially Melissa and Shelby. These people cared and taught me that God is real.” Shelby said, “ God can offer hope and love. White saw genuine love. Nobody was trying to take him for something and nobody was trying to get something out of him that he had to put his defenses up.”
“Shelby and Melissa helped me find a dream. If it was not for them I would be in jail right now, “ White Said. “ I have a lot of cousins on probation. I tell them that all this is temporary. Get through it. These people really care about you here. You don’t have to try and find love out in the streets. You can find wholesome people right here who love you.”
White was successful in earning his General Education Diploma. He said “ It was all our decision to decide that I get a GED. I got a dream now. I am going to welding school in Victoria. Hopefully I can work offshore. If not I might work in a small town. I don’t know yet.”
Braune said, “He is a success story because he achieved something that he did not think he could achieve. Maintaining that success will be up to him by believing that he is not the same person when he first walked through that door.”
White uses his experience to help others im similar situations. Within the probation system.
He said,” I try to talk to a lot of kids on the side here. There are a lot here that have bad things going on at home. I tell them they have to let go. They need to forgive. You can’t live life dwelling on things of the past. If you don’t you can get lost in the system. You gotta do it the right way. These people will help you.”