My Motlow Story
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Receiving a college scholarship is certainly helpful to most students; but for Robert Hutto it was life changing. He is a 2009 graduate of Motlow College thanks to a scholarship established for a graduate of Franklin County's Drug Court. After Motlow he earned a bachelor's degree in social work from Middle Tennessee State University and also earned his master's degree in the first master of social work program at MTSU. He has achieved his goal to become a licensed clinical social worker.
Robert's accomplishments mark a remarkable ending to a very rocky beginning. He was a high school dropout. No one ever even talked to him about the possibility of going to college. After leaving school and starting to work he got his GED on a whim but he never went any further.
He said, "Even though I come from a wonderful and loving family I began experimenting with drugs in my early to mid-twenties. I made some bad choices and exposed myself to a bad way of life. As things spiraled down in my life, it seemed I couldn't do anything right. I knew I was disappointing my parents but it was out of control."
Robert's sentiments were recently echoed by Tennessee's Commissioner of Mental Health, Douglas Varney, "Somehow we've equated addiction with a moral shortcoming and it's more than that. People of all walks of life can be drawn into the world of addiction."
In 2005 after repeated drug convictions, Robert was facing yet another prison sentence. After much discussion, the lawyers and district attorney presented him with an alternate choice. He was offered the opportunity to forego prison if he would agree to be enrolled in Franklin County's new Drug Court program. Robert said, "Inside, I wasn't sure if I could do all that was going to be expected of me but that choice was better than going back to jail."
Drug Court is based on the same philosophy that-it takes a village to raise a child. Libby Glassmeyer, its first Director, and Judge Buddy Perry were joined by an advisory board composed of community leaders and Drug Court TEAM members from law enforcement, judicial representatives and treatment specialists who were all committed to making a difference in the way repeat drug offenders are handled in the court system.
Robert says despite his years of addiction and trouble with the law, Drug Court allowed him to finally hear what he had been told over and over. He was one of the first participants and in 2007; he became one of the first five graduates of the program. Robert's focus in life was changed and this would not be the last time he would be called a graduate.
After his Drug Court graduation, Fred and Joan Walker of Winchester approached the director saying they would like to help one of the graduates attend Motlow College. Their generosity opened a new door of opportunity for Robert Hutto and two years laterâ€” he visited the Walkers to thank them for their support and invited them to his Motlow graduation.
Robert says he entered a similar system of support from the moment he enrolled at Motlow. "I was amazed that everyone from admissions, financial aid, my instructors and professors were all so determined to help me succeed." He continued, "My first class was in Marcum 149 and I was very apprehensive. With all of the encouragement, I soon learned that I DID have the drive to succeed. In addition to my teachers, I was inspired by fellow classmates; young people that had a plan for their lives."
Robert Hutto's story is one of success and beating the odds. He said, "I am fortunate because once I started making an effort, things starting falling into place. Opportunity opens certain doors and all I did was walk through."
Two years after his graduation from Motlow, as he walks on the campus he says, "I love the atmosphere here and I miss it, I love being at Motlow. The friendships I created here with the faculty and students are now part of my network. I enjoyed being here and I enjoy coming back to visit."