Departing Soldier Wants One More Day Of Class - News and Weather For The Quad Cities -

Departing Soldier Wants One More Day Of Class

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School kids have about one week left of relaxation before heading back to class after the holiday break.

Several districts had a little longer break because of last week's blizzard.

There's at least one student who didn't want any extra time off though.

West Carroll graduate Taylor Cross made an unpopular wish during the blizzard.

He wanted to go to school, rather than pick up an extra day off.

He didn't get that chance, and now he'll ship out for basic training just after the New Year.

A step forward he believes would not have happened without his teachers.

"If it wasn't for them I wouldn't be in the position I am today, I wouldn't have made these positive decisions in my life," says Cross.

He is in the Army now. Ready to start training to become a soldier and an intelligence analyst.

"I always wanted to be an Army guy as I said, as a kid, through the years I changed and wanted to be different things and it's just funny how it wound back up to be in the same place as I am now."

Three years ago though, Cross doubted any of this would happen.

"I never really had a strong motivation or something to reach for, it was mostly my fault, I didn't really see too much of a reason or importance behind wanting to go and attend school."

He hated school... didn't want to do his homework and didn't care about his grades. An attitude he traces to his mother's death when he was in kindergarten. A loss his father never recovered from.

"I wanted him to help me, but at the same time he needed somebody to help him, so at the same time, we were both kind of at broken ends there."

He chose to leave Morrison and move to Thomson. Leaving his father to live with relatives who gave him the structure he craved.

"Without structure you can't hold yourself together."

Structure that also improved in school. He found himself in the correct classes, and he decided to focus on being a student.

"That's what gave me the main flip, I started liking school more, and then started focusing on all the small things, and sooner or later it was a landslide."

He raised all his grades from F's to A's. Placing well enough on his military aptitude test to qualify for an officer's position.

"I don't think I would have taken the test and even if I did there's no way I would have gotten a 76."

Taylor says he owes a debt of gratitude to his teachers. A debt the blizzard has forced him to keep.

"I really wanted to be there for just one more day, just to thank everybody and tell them how much I love 'em."

He'll have to wait until he graduates from his training courses. Five months away.

Cross will be stationed in Kewanee when he completes his basic training.

He leaves for that next week, one day before school is back in session.

He says before he goes, he will stop by school to pick up his diploma and clean out his locker.