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For a Role Model, Look to John Woods

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BUIES CREEK — Back in high school, John Woods thoughtof being an electrician. But the lure of seeing the world led him to signon with the Air Force for the next 26 years.

After leaving the service, hefound a part-time job as custodian at Buies Creek Elementary School.Now, however, he's well on his way to becoming a guidance counselor.

After watching Woods interact with the school's kids, teacher LilyBailey and her colleagues decided he is a natural in handling children.She and others told him he should work with kids full time.

"He has so much love and patience and concern for the boys and girls," Bailey said. She said his example isparticularly important for those children who don't have a role modelat home. "Here, he is just that," she declared.

So Woods decided he'd walk across the street from the elementary schooland enroll at Campbell University. There, he earned a bachelor's degreein psychology.

Now he has set his sights on becoming a guidance counselor, forwhich he is earning a master's degree.

"If you don't set goals and dreams for yourself," Woods says, "younever get anywhere. I hope someone can look at what I have done andaccomplished, and see it can be done with a little bit of courage anddetermination."

Woods, whose days combine work at the school with college classes andhis own homework, says a sister told him he would be 50 before his degreeswould be earned. He told her he was going to be 50 anyway, so what wasthe difference?

John Woods is helping kids now by his friendly interest and example.After 50, armed with his degrees, it will just be official.

I believe in my heart," Woods says, "that God has sent me here for thispurpose -- that I can help guide somebody along the way."

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