Encouragement: From SAT to College

Encouragement: From SAT to College

 My Plebe Year

When I was attending the United States Merchant Marine Academy my “Plebe Year”(freshman) year was a tough time for me and most of my classmates.   The Plebe year is the unofficial military training doctrine of breaking you down and building you back up.  Most of my memories at the Academy are from the Plebe year because of the constant struggles emotionally, physically, and academically.  Sometimes it would start at three in the morning because of a “standing watch order” I had to take and it would not end until midnight after football practice and studying for my classes.   For the first few months, we were not allowed to have any contact with the outside world other than one Sunday evening call for less than five minutes to speak to our parents.

However, we were allowed to receive letters in the mail.  I always looked forward to receiving a letter from my parents.  Their words of encouragement and wisdom made a huge difference in my moral and helped me get through that Plebe year. They always did a great job of cheering me up and, more importantly, of encouraging me to succeed because they believed in me.

Today, I still get encouragement from my mother, as well as my wife (When my father was alive, he always supported my ideas).   Starting this business over ten years ago was a huge risk for me and my family.   I am so glad that I took the chance, but I would have never succeeded without their support!

Third Grade Teacher

I received an email from my son’s Third Grade Teacher.  I would love to share it with you:

“As you know, our students will be taking the very important End of Grade Tests (EOGs) beginning Monday, May 20. I’m very proud of the effort and dedication so many of our children have put forth this year.  There is so much to learn in 3rd grade and they have worked hard.

As parents, you have been a very important and very powerful influence on how your child has grown. For this reason, I am asking that you (and even other members of your family) take a few minutes to write a short message or note of support and encouragement to your child. He or she will read it on Thursday before EOG testing. 

After the message is written, please place it in an envelope and seal it. Write your child’s teachers name on the front of the envelope and your child’s name on the back of the envelope.  Your child will unseal the envelope and, as previously stated, and read your message(s) on Thursday. Then, he or she will be able to refer to it each morning before our testing sessions begin. Keep it a secret!  It’s a surprise.”

Encouraging Words

Your encouraging words will help your son or daughter stay confident and positive each day!

You may write your own personal message, or if you prefer, you may use any of these phrases in your brief message.


  • Have confidence in yourself!
  • Believe in yourself!
  • I’m so proud of you!
  • Take your time. Don’t give up.
  • We know you can do a good job when you really try!
  • You’ve studied hard all year, so you should do well!
  • We believe in you!
  • We know you can do this!
  • Be relaxed. Stay calm.
  • Be confident in your own abilities! “


What a great idea! It reminded me of how important for us, as parents, to support our children with written words of encouragement!  I think we should incorporate this secret hand written note is genius.

We should write a support letter to our children the evening before:

  • Taking Standardized Test – SAT or ACT
  • AP Test
  • End of Course (EOC) or End of Year (EOG) test
  • Anytime they need encouragement

And if your child is going off to college, please remember they are going to go through a tumultuous transition from high school to college.   Receiving a supporting email or letter from you can make a big difference in the decisions they make.

Please join me in writing a note of encouragement to our children!

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