A path many are scared to take

Published 5:15 pm Monday, May 24, 2021

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There is no hiding the tension between police and many around the country right now, which has made some fear joining a career in law enforcement as a strong divide continues, but for Shelby County High School senior T.J. McGinnis, his goal remains to help make a difference in law enforcement.

The reason? His aunt, Sasha Lilly Knighten, who has served as the school resource officer for all of Columbiana’s schools for many years.

Knighten’s goal every day in her job is to give back to her community, give kids their best shot in life and show that no matter your skin color or background, you can be whatever you want to be in life.

Those morals and being a family member of McGinnis has made Knighten his role model when it comes to knowing what he wants to do with his life.

During a recent interview with community columnist Sasha Johns, McGinnis didn’t hesitate in saying he wanted to learn as much as he can in college and bring that knowledge back to his hometown as a forensic investigator to help Columbiana and its surrounding areas.

He doesn’t just have an idea of something he might want to do. He is set on the idea of making a difference just like his aunt because he loves his hometown and has a passion for making a difference.

It’s those qualities that should help more of us look past any racial divides and realize that we can all be what we want to be in life and we should all respect each other rather than creating any further divide.

That one word, respect, is the one quality many people lack. Whether it be police respecting other people or citizens respecting police, it’s a simple part of life many ignore that would help make the world a better place.

Not that he had anything to prove to any of us, but McGinnis has the utmost respect from our staff and many of our readers after sharing his hopes and dreams.

He found something he loved through his aunt’s passion, turned that into his dream and now has a detailed plan for how he wants to make a difference in law enforcement.

McGinnis, just like his aunt, is a shining example of what this world needs more of.