Monday, April 22, 2019

This morning, the majority of Spring ’19 woke up early and gathered in the dayroom area to get a jump start on the day. Every one of us will attend our Toastmasters International class today. Some will attend the morning class, while the remainder will be scheduled for the afternoon.

We are on the 10th and final project for this public speaking class. Our objective for this speech was to make it inspirational. Each brother either spoke from experience or with passion about a desired future. We have all come a long way from the time that this class first began.

As a whole, Spring ’19 enjoys each class in the program. We came here to be authentic men and obtain a better education. We are always encouraging one another to stay focused and do what needs to be done. We are the Conquerors of Spring ’19, and we are brothers forever!

Christopher T. (a.k.a. “Big Yellow Jell-O”)

Tuesday, April 23, 2019

Today started out early, with a 7:30 a.m. callout to Men’s Life as well as Fall ’19’s  Leadership Academy class. Men’s Life is a class that teaches us what an “Authentic Man” really is and how we can live our lives to empower others while continuing to better ourselves spiritually, mentally and emotionally.

While some of the brothers from the Spring ’19 class went down to the classroom to help facilitate Men’s Life and Leadership Academy, the rest stayed behind to finish preparing their pitches for the upcoming event. At this event, we will present our business plans to a panel of volunteer executives in a seven to ten minute presentation. After we finished, we administered practice tests to the Fall ’19 class to help prepare them for the five big tests they have coming up.

Although our classroom time was up for the day, we realized that there was still much more work to be done. We, the Conquerors of Spring ’19, will graduate very soon. Once that is accomplished, the program doesn’t stop for us. After graduation, we will become Servant-Leaders and set the example for those who follow in our footsteps.

Nicholas R. (a.k.a. “Aladdin”)

Wednesday, April 24, 2019

Our day started very early as we prepared for our Chapter 12 exam from our entrepreneurial textbook. This chapter taught us all about the process of building a business. The chapter overview was on the importance of utilizing a critical path chart, proper financing, production management, legitimacy, quality assurance, equipment, etc. Wanting to do well on the test, we studied right up until it was time for lunch.

After we had lunch, we all made our way to the PEP classroom and got situated. That’s when our brother, Jerimiah J. (a.k.a. “J.G. Wentworth”), had the honor of praying us in. After that, we all sat and began our Chapter 12 exam. We were all confident in our ability to pass the exam and, as a result, we all passed!

Following our exam, we were introduced to our guest speaker Mr. Bert S. (a.k.a. “Chocolate Truffles”). He lectured on Chapter 9, which covered establishing the legal framework for a business. This included the different forms of business, contracts, leases, regulations (including licensing), copyrights, etc. We were very grateful for Mr. S.’s enthusiastic lecture. Afterwards, we were prayed out by another PEP brother, Johnny H. (a.k.a. “Mr. Ed”).

David S. Jr. (a.k.a. “The Thing”)

Thursday, April 25, 2019

We, the Conquerors of Spring ’19, did not have class today. However, that does not mean that there was nothing to do. We had enough assignments to keep us busy throughout the weekend. Our Pitch Day event is coming up very soon, and we have a lot to prepare.

The majority of the Fall ’19 class was down at the PEP classroom enjoying a lip-sync battle in addition to Leadership Academy and Men’s Life. The dayroom was quiet, so this was the perfect atmosphere for studying in. We have an upcoming test on Chapter 9, which involves the different forms of business and the laws that pertain to them. We will also be tested on Crime and Punishment, a book by the Russian author Fyodor Dostoevsky.

Now this may seem like a lot, but in reality we have been taught to manage our time effectively through multiple weekly assignments. We are one step closer to bringing this stage of our journey to an end. We have four weeks remaining until we can honestly say that we are “living between the wings.” Thank you, PEP!

Jonathan R. (a.k.a. “Barack Obama”)

Friday, April 26, 2019

Today, we worked on our pitches for the upcoming Pitch Day event. We are all taking turns saying our pitches to one another and giving each other advice. The amount of hard work that we have all put in is inspiring. Even though we are competing against one another at the Business Plan Competition, first and foremost, we are brothers.

We are also reading a classic book called Crime and Punishment, written in 1866. We are being graded on the book and on many of the words used in the book. The vocabulary words are fairly difficult, but we are used to being challenged. We have been tested since the beginning of this program.

We have conquered the Names Test, where we must know everyone’s name in our class. We have just completed Living in the Village, which teaches about financial planning and we are almost done with the Entrepreneurship portion of the class that we started in January. The atmosphere of the class is great, and it is amazing to be a part of it.

Andrew M. (a.k.a. “Scooby Doo”)


Two men looked out through prison bars.

One saw razor wire, while the other saw stars.


For many years, the view outside of my window consisted of the side of another part of the building in which I resided. When I came to the Cleveland unit, I was immediately excited by how beautiful the surrounding landscape was. Throughout the day, I can be seen looking out my cell window, watching the daily activities of the local fauna. Even though I am incarcerated, I am extremely blessed to be able to enjoy such a splendid view.

I was looking out of this same window the other morning and was greeted by a magnificent sunrise. Even through razor wire and chain link fencing, it was simply breathtaking. It caused me to reflect on all of the beauty that I have witnessed throughout my lifetime: I have flown high above the clouds as a storm raged below me; I’ve gazed at the world from a mountaintop; and I’ve stood dwarfed in a forest, surrounded by majestic trees.

They say that beauty is in the eye of the beholder. I don’t know if I necessarily agree with that statement. Beauty is all around us, each and every day. Some people look for it, while others are blinded by their present circumstance. What do you see when you look out of the windows in your life?

James R. (a.k.a. “Biscuits and Jelly”)