BY DEXTER MCCREE, Feature Writer
ST. PETERSBURG — For William Shelburne, the dream was simple. He wanted to find success. As he walked into high school for the first time, there was an experience that stuck with him over the years. Overcoming his fear of failure paved the road ahead of him that made for a clearer path to success as he embarked on the journey of high school.
“About five years ago, I moved from Nashville, Tenn., to St. Pete,” said William, the 2016 senior class president of St. Petersburg High School. “Everything changed when I moved here. I started high school and didn’t know what to expect. I was lost as a freshman. I didn’t know my way around school, nor did I know many of the people.”
Things began to blossom for William during his sophomore year. While listening to the current class president’s speech during an assembly, he envisioned being on that stage speaking the next year.
“Everything starts with a dream, but dreams are only dreams until you make them a reality,” said William. “I ended up winning the election and was given the position of the junior class president. This was the first event that marked a major turning point during my high school career because it was the first time I decided to become a leader rather than staying as a follower.”
With the selection as junior class president and a new responsibility of leading fellow classmates, William’s junior year was busy. He was expected to be involved in planning the school’s prom, attend extracurricular activities and maintaining the best academic record than he had ever done in spite of knowing only a few people. This was indeed a pivotal year of his high school journey.
“Many people changed that year, including many of my former friends. This was the year where people became their own superhero or villain in their life because their actions turned into habits and their habits became a part of their lifestyle,” he said.
Fortunately, he had a strong group of friends who made smart choices. By the end of the year, William had obtained a 3.9 GPA, became the first male to attain a spot on the Devilettes Dance team and got elected as president of the entire student body.
“Senior year felt like a race. I was down to the last lap and I could almost see the finish line. To sum it up, senior year was by far the most stressful yet,” said William. “From sleepless nights, endless hours of filling out college applications and studying for tests to this point in time, it is needless to say that hard work truly pays off.”
Thanks to strong support from family, friends and teachers who seemed to do everything in their power to help the president reach his full potential, he finally reached a point where he wasn’t afraid to fail.
The result of this epiphany was he often experienced success in various areas. For William, the fear of failure paralyzed him for a long period of time. His dreams of finding success took him on the path of being the president.