Staying motivated to accomplish goals has been a challenge for everyone at some point in their lives. In his chapel talk, delivered virtually on Feb. 9, Quinton Dagner spoke about this challenge and how he has learned to keep going forward toward his own goals. Special guests attending his chapel talk included his classmates and his father, Franklin Dagner, Jr., and grandmother, Carolyn Dagner.

Arriving at Amelia Academy from Chesterfield Schools in the sixth grade, Quinton was eager to make new friends. “At the time, going to a private school was what got me excited – meeting new friends, new teachers, and a new environment,” he said. As he watched the annual senior drive-in on the first day of school, Quinton realized that he would one day be in that group. He remembered his grandmother telling him that “times are going to fly now, and you will be out of school before you know it.”

During his years at Amelia Academy, especially during the past two years, Quinton realized that some of his friends would leave. “This really gave me a shock because I took all of my friends for granted,” he said. 

Another motivation for Quinton was sports. “Looking forward to basketball was fun, and it brought me happiness,” he said. “There was something about running up and down, up and down, up and down the court that gave me a sense of accomplishing hard work.”

During the COVID-19 pandemic, beginning in March, 2020, “it seemed like everything was taken away from me,” Quinton said. As the weeks passed, he began to realize that he would not be going back to school for the rest of the year. “It seemed like all hope was lost,” he said. The free time felt like a vacation in the beginning, but it wasn’t long before he became bored. “Trying to find something to get me to my computer was actually really difficult,” Quinton admitted. The seemingly small task of making his bed became a motivator. “For some reason, tucking the corners, throwing the pillows on the bed, and folding my blanket got me going; it’s strange, but it worked,” he said. From those first intentional moments, Quinton found the motivation to keep going to complete his tenth grade year at home

Quinton now values those difficult days of lockdown. “I really learned about myself . . . and pushing myself even when I didn’t feel like it,” he said. Quoting Henry Ford, he said, “Whether you think you can or you can’t, you’re right.”

Since that difficult year, Quinton has learned the importance of setting goals. He has also identified his strengths and weaknesses. “One of my strengths is math, and that’s why I’ve set a goal to become an engineer,” he said. In the meantime, he sets small goals such as writing and presenting his chapel talk. “Small goals will make it easier to achieve a long-term goal such as graduation or buying your first car,” he said.

Even though some of his friends have moved on, Quinton said he will cherish the memories. He expressed appreciation for all the people, including friends and teachers at the Academy, for their positive impact on his life. He also thanked Rodney Taylor, Head of School, for “the great advice you gave me when my teachers told me to go see you.”

Quinton encouraged his fellow students to find their own motivations and strengths. He told them to consider “what motivates you to work hard in school or out of school.” Finally, he said that success will come from setting goals. 

During his years at Amelia Academy, Quinton has emerged as a leader among his peers. He has served in the Student Government Organization, most recently as vice-president this year. He has also been a class officer. Quinton is a member of the National Honor Society and has played both junior varsity and varsity basketball.