Three Takeaways from the Dawn Loggins Story

Whatever your philosophy or wherever you find yourself in the political spectrum, one thing I think we can all agree on is that we are living in difficult economic times. Most of us, if we haven’t experienced it ourselves, know someone who has lost his or her job or is otherwise struggling to keep up with increases in the price of living. Times are tough for many if not most of us.

In these difficult times, I think it’s important to remember to persevere rather than throw up our hands and quit. One could understand a teenager giving up on her future if she was abandoned by her parents, bullied at school, and even homeless. Who could expect any other result?

Don’t tell that to 18 year-old Dawn Loggins. She experienced all this and more and has been accepted to…Harvard?

This is such an inspiring story that I don’t want to give much more of it away. Really, I hope that everyone who reads this post reads this four part series by Alicia Banks for The Shelby Star. This story is nothing short of amazing.

There were three main takeaways I got from reading this series:

1. Dawn’s Personal choices made all the difference. Every cliché you have ever heard about becoming a successful person applies to Dawn Loggins (ex: “Luck is when preparation meets opportunity,” “when the going gets tough…” etc.). Rather than complaining about how unfair life is or blaming all her woes on the 1%,* or even her parents who abandoned her, she took it upon herself to improve her situation.

2. Sometimes one has to break the rules or violate the law to do the “right” thing. Dawn may not have been successful if the law was followed to the letter**. What if the principal or the school’s guidance counselor would have called DSS? Here’s an excerpt from part 2:

No one risked calling the Department of Social Services about Dawn, who was 17 at the time and had been homeless.

Those who cared about Dawn could have lost her to foster care if they alerted the authorities to her situation. Putnam was afraid Dawn wouldn’t be able to take classes she had lined up for her senior year at a different school.

Putnam and Kolton made sure Dawn had everything she needed: Clothes, food, shelter and Burns.

In situations like Dawn’s, Jane Shooter, assistant director for the county DSS, said social workers would have attempted to locate her parents and understand the situation. If they determined a child needed to be placed in foster care, their first attempts would be to find a safe guardian or foster family in the area. But that’s not always possible.

Members of the Burns community took care of one of their own on their own.

But was this the right thing to do?

“I can only say if you suspect a child is neglected or abused, by North Carolina law, you’re mandated to report it,” Shooter said.
Children in foster care age out of DSS’s protection when they turn 18 years old. Dawn turned 18 on Feb. 9.

“There’s nothing we can do now that she turned 18,” Shooter said.

3. Despite what some on the Left believe, regular people are more than willing to help others who are struggling without the government forcing them to do so via wealth redistribution (especially those who are doing all they can to help themselves). In addition to a few very key people who helped Dawn through high school, since this story was published, there has been an outpouring of support from regular people who want to help Dawn pay for her Harvard education.

Of course, Dawn’s story isn’t typical but neither is her work ethic. Was she successful despite her hardships or because of them? Was she smart because she studied hard or did she study hard because she was smart enough to realize doing so would be her most likely ticket out of poverty?

These chicken/egg questions aside, one thing is clear: we could all learn a thing or two about pursuing the American dream from a teenager by the name of Dawn Loggins.

Hat Tip: Neal Boortz

*I believe that if she continues to do the hard work and make smart choices, she will one day be in the 1% and be told that she needs to “pay her fair share” to “spread the wealth” to the “less fortunate.”

**Then again, someone like Dawn Loggins probably would have found another way to make her dreams a reality.

  • Or…

    Funny that you’d decry taxation in an article talking about how great these teachers and administrators of a taxpayer-funded school were. The lesson I take from this story is that it is incredibly important for public schools to continue to be fully funded, even if that requires taxpayers paying a bit more, so that talented students are given the resources they need.

    And, of course, you ignore that it wasn’t the 1% helping this student, it was other people making relatively low salaries who found ways to help her. Ask all the employees who lost their jobs when Mitt Romney fired them as part of downsizing a newly-acquired company how wise it is to rely on the 1%’s charity. Relying on charity from the 1% (except in the remarkably rare cases like Bill Gates) is a fool’s errand.

  • Quincy

    Funny that you’d decry taxation in an article talking about how great these teachers and administrators of a taxpayer-funded school were.

    Except, you know, he wasn’t. He was decrying forced wealth redistribution. This is not the same as taxation to pay for a government service.

    And, of course, you ignore that it wasn’t the 1% helping this student, it was other people making relatively low salaries who found ways to help her.

    Except, you know, he didn’t. Point 3 specifically refers to “regular people”. Now, unless the English language has been twisted beyond comprehension, it is in no way reasonable to assume that “regular people” = the 1%.

    “Or…” must have been reading a different article or something…

  • Stephen Littau

    Quincy is right on target.

    I would also add that my third takeaway had more to do with challenging the typical notion by the Left that without government welfare programs, no one would help those in need. For all the faults of the American people, we are the most generous people in the world (this includes those in the 1% as well as the remaining 99%).

    Before the government got into the social welfare business, there were private groups called mutual aid societies. Members paid in to the society, voted on bylaws, had codes of ethics they expected each member to live by (most stressed self reliance and required something from those receiving help), and received benefits in the event of sickness, job loss, death, or other hardship (depending on the society). These voluntary societies were eventually (for the most part) crowded out mostly by government welfare programs in the early 20th century (if the government is going to take care of me in times of trouble, why do I need to pay into this society?).