Meet D’Angelo


A PHILLIPS School ~ Annandale Graduation story

“Desire is the starting point of all achievement. Not a hope, not a wish, but a keen pulsating desire…which transcends everything.” Napoleon Hill, author

This statement reflects many of the students at PHILLIPS and specifically one of our recent graduates, D’Angelo. Here at PHILLIPS, we witnessed first hand, through the dedication of this student, how desire can be a consuming vision that propels you unto success. Several years ago, D’Angelo felt a sense of urgency; to not let his high school years go to waste. D’Angelo had decided that his high school diploma was the most important thing for him and for his future. He then set about to conquer the daily grind and hardships that stands between a person and his goal.

D’Angelo looked inside his heart and self-willed a change. From a person who did not care much for academics, to a person who wanted more than anything to leave PHILLIPS a winner, having earned his rightful place as a graduate.

To believe in a dream is one thing. To pursue it daily, never knowing if, or when, exactly it will come, was immense pressure under which this student could have failed. But no matter what obstacles he faced on a daily basis, as he fought his way towards adulthood, D’Angelo had made up his mind…he would do whatever it took to make sure that he left PHILLIPS having given himself a change for a successful future.

When I first met D’Angelo he was a brash young guy. I won’t kid you, when I first met him he looked upon me as being soft, thinking I did not have what it took to make it as his teacher. I had not met students like D’Angelo before, but I never flinched and I wound up earning his respect that year. We both look back at that year and little did we know then a bond would be created between a student and his teacher that would remain strong over the years.

Today, I take great pride in honoring this student. D’Angelo, with a champion’s heart worked to complete his goal. He pushed, sacrificed, and demanded that others know your dream and the urgency of your heart.

D’Angelo demanded from us, the staff here at PHILLIPS, to be responsible for your goal. But more impressive, he demanded from himself to not leave PHILLIPS without his goal in hand. Today, at Graduation, D’Angelo can stand tall because he attained that goal! Today you are a champion, and the honor you have achieved, through your persistence and your hard work is vindication to the seed of desire you planted years ago.

-Taken from speech given by PHILLIPS School ~ Annandale teacher at the 2012 Graduation ceremony.