Minister’s Sons Graduate
On May 9, 2009 two local minister’s sons will graduate in the same Commencement Exercises in Behrens Chapel at Hardin-Simmons University. Richard D’Lamark Green; son of Rev. and Mrs. Richard Green and Terrence Brandon Penns; son of Rev. and Mrs. Andrew Penns will participate in Commencement Exercises along with 250 other graduation candidates.Although they are very different young men they have a great deal in common. Richard and Terrence are two very determined and focused young men who have excelled academically. They are the sons of two very proud families and they are also cousins. They were both raised in Christian homes by loving, concerned, and caring parents.What makes these two young African American men special is the fact that they have beaten both the odds and statistics. In our society today we always hear about and are bombarded by images of young African American men who are in jail, on drugs, or committing crimes. We seldom hear about the young African American men who are achievers in a society that constantly reminds them they cannot achieve or excel. We rarely hear about young men who choose to attend church when they are grown and no one is making them go. Terrence and Richard are two young men who have made a choice to put God first in their lives. They have remained in church and faithful to family and traditional values and beliefs. Terence Penns will receive his BBS Degree in Sports Fitness and Leisure Studies. His minor is Sociology. He will attend graduate school at HSU. Terrence recently embarked on a career path that is an extension of his career field. Terrence’s younger sister Jacqueline is pursuing her degree in Criminal Justice in Oklahoma.Terrence has shown tremendous character and perseverance no matter what obstacles he faced and endured throughout his college career. In 2006 he lost a special sister Shayla Penns; who was his best friend. His mom has also faced many health problems. Terence persevered through the difficult times and remained positive as he did whatever he had to do to complete his goal.Terrence is a personable, optimistic, confident, and upbeat young man. These are the qualities that sustained him when life became difficult. These are qualities that will continue to sustain him on life’s journey of faith.Rev. Penns is the Pastor of Valley View Baptist Church. He has been a minister and pastor for over 20 years. He is a community leader who is involved in and serves on the boards of many local auxiliaries and committees. He is employed by the juvenile justice system. Richard Green will receive his BBS Degree in Communication: Public Relations and Advertising. His minor is Sociology. He is an honors graduate. Richard will pursue a career in public relations, advertising, or some related field. Basically he will trust God to see where He leads him. He is hoping to find a job here in Abilene and perhaps attend graduate school. Through faith and prayer Richard was delivered from a chronic illness when he was very young. Throughout his illness he learned what it meant to totally rely on God when doctors and parents could not change the situation. It was a valuable life lesson and confirmation about the tremendous power of prayer and faith.He recently became a victim of our economy when Circuit City closed its doors last month. Richard has worked since he was 16. He had been a Circuit City employee for almost five years. Richard is the steady rock who always tries to do the right thing. He is a friendly, respectful, and outgoing young man with a tremendous sense of humor. These are qualities that will help him find favor in life. Richard’s dad Rev. Green is an associate pastor at Valley View Baptist Church. He has been a senior pastor and minister for over 20 years as he served various congregations. He is also a teacher for Abilene Independent School District. Richard’s mom and sister graduated together in May 2007 from Hardin-Simmons. Richard attended a couple of classes with his mom and sister, and several classes with Terrence during his college career.Richard and Terence are only two young African American men who have set goals and completed their education. There are many more that should be given the recognition. Richard and Terence attend the same church and their dads are both ministers who chose to put God and family first years ago. This is a tribute to Richard and Terrence and what they have achieved. It a testimony of what can be accomplished through prayer. I hope others are encouraged by their determination and success. This is also a tribute to honor all young African American men and women; and all the other young people who have achieved this goal. We recognize you! We are proud of you all! We honor you all! The ultimate credit has to go to God because without Him this special day would not be possible. “To God Be the Glory”!