It’s not very often members of the Turlock Unified School District Board of Trustees are moved to tears, but at the Sept. 16 meeting Trustees Jennifer Carter and Debbie Martin were both emotionally moved by the story of Turlock High School senior Adam Volk.
Adam was doomed from the start. He never had a chance. He wasn’t supposed to live. He shouldn’t be here. He should have never even reached the start line of the race.
But Adam is here and he has a story that moves even the hardest of men and certainly pushes the question of nature versus nurture.
Adam was conceived by his birth mother, who was homeless and lived on the streets of Sacramento throughout her entire pregnancy. She had absolutely no prenatal care, she used drugs, drank alcohol and smoked tobacco, regardless of the life growing inside her.
Five days after her water broke she decided to wander into a hospital to deliver Adam 45 minutes later.
Doctors discovered that when Adam was born he had four different drugs in his system and had many serious medical problems; doctors didn’t expect him to live.
While undergoing care at the hospital Adam’s mother left him there, never to return to pick up her son.
Adam never had a chance; he was an unloved drug baby.
After several weeks with his aunt and uncle, Adam was placed into foster care and put up for adoption, but people don’t adopt drug babies. During his first month in the system, five families came to visit him and they all turned him down.
Then walked in a single man, Turlock High School teacher Greg Volk, who saw not a drug baby, but a precious life that needed his love and caring.
“He looked at the little boy and saw something no one else saw and knew this was the baby he wanted to raise as his son,” said Adam.
Throughout his infancy and grade school years his adopted father Greg and a host of teachers and staff from Julien Elementary and Dutcher Middle School began to help Adam Volk break through the odds of his life’s beginning.
When he finally reached Turlock High School, teachers continued to motivate him to work hard.
Adam has maintained a 4.03 GPA during his three years at THS. He is a member of Interact Club, the Cross Country and Track teams, six semester member of CSF and two-time member of the 600 Club, receiving a perfect score of 600 on two of his STAR tests.
At THS Adam met Cross Country coach JoAnn Davison, who encouraged him to reach out and make friends. She made him feel special and gave him the confidence to talk to people.
“Adam is a wonderful representative of Turlock High School’s best and brightest,” said Davison. “He is a scholar-athlete, tenacious, spirited, and dedicated. “
Adam was recognized on the evening of Sept. 16 as the TUSD Student of the month.
“I overcame the odds because I was surrounded by wonderful people that always encouraged me, motivated and inspired me,” said Adam. “They never doubted I could do great things and it is because of them that I am where I am today.
“If there is one message I could leave you with tonight, it would be to never underestimate the power each and every one of you have on children. Educators, parents, friends and even strangers have the ability to motivate a child by one simple compliment. Encourage them and compliment them for their accomplishment, no matter how small it is. I know from first hand experience because that is what changed my life.”
His future goals are to attend University of California, Merced or University of California, Santa Cruz and major in computer engineering. His hope is to become a video game designer.
His hobbies include running, designing video games and traveling. The furthest he has traveled is to France, Italy and Greece.
No doubt Adam will reach all of his dreams and the TUSD community will be behind him.