Things just keep getting good for Briann Goode.
Er, Goode, that is.
Approximately two months ago, Goode encountered an experience of a lifetime when the 17-year-old Bolton High senior took part in a rare, 10-day, overseas tour to Europe, where she visited an array of countries, most notably Berlin, Prague, Kraków and Budapest.
Come Saturday, Goode will embark upon another monumental step in her educational endeavors when she receives her much-anticipated diploma during Bolton’s commencement exercises at 3 p.m. at Bellevue Baptist Church.
For Gwendolyn Goode and her husband, Brian, hearing Briann’s name called to receive her diploma this weekend will undoubtedly give way to countless tears of joy for a family that has weathered an assortment of adversities, thus adopted resilient faith in recent years — the kind of faith and perseverance that enabled them to become solely dependent and reliant on Almighty God.
On June 9, 2007, for instance, the Goodes endured arguably the saddest moment of their lives when their oldest daughter, Gwenasha D. Ridley, was killed as a result of injuries she sustained in a car crash.
She was 16.
Nearly nine years removed from such a devastating, life-changing occurrence, the Goodes appear just as enthused about the hoopla surrounding their baby daughter, particularly as it relates to what is about to unfold in a few days.
Never mind that Brian will be out of the country on military assignment when his daughter’s name is finally uttered.
Surely, he will be somewhere overseas, watching a taped-delayed version.
“(We’re) wishing that her father could be here to see his baby graduate,” Gwendolyn Goode said. “Unfortunately, he has been deployed out of the country. This is something that we all have struggled with since November, knowing that he would miss out on such a symbolic occasion. Knowing that he won’t be here to watch Briann walk across the stage as her name is called and seeing that smile on his face and knowing how proud he is of her. Knowing that he won’t be there to take an entire memory card worth of pictures and that the family pictures that are taken will feel incomplete. She won’t get that bear hug while he whispers in her ear, ‘I love you my daughter and I’m so very proud of you.’”
Still, the final high school graduation in the Goodes’ household will serve as a feel-good moment for the ages, considering Briann has an effective, resourceful plan in place in the coming months.
Having amassed a cumulative grade point average of 3.58, She will be joining her sister, Bri, this fall at the University of Tennessee at Martin, having recently de-committed from Murray State.
“We will miss Briann dearly, but we know her purpose in life and her goals that she wants to reach,” Gwendolyn said. “Besides, she’s just close enough where we can get to her and just far enough away where she can’t come home every day.”
Since arriving on campus at Bolton, Briann wasted little time becoming acclimated with her surroundings, let alone becoming acquainted with her peers and instructors.
For starters, she had become a fixture in school’s choir and has continued the trend as a member of Memphis’ historic Bloomfield Full Gospel Baptist Church, where she sings in the youth choir and is a part of the dance ministry.
During the Thanksgiving and Christmas holidays, Briann also volunteers to help deliver MIFA meals for the elderly, steadfastly displaying the big heart and agape love for which she is widely known.
Talk about a Goode all-round, academically talented individual, one whom though she’s short in size, she’s capable of having a massive impact on those with whom she crosses paths.
Never mind that her father will be out of the country on military assignment when his daughter’s name is finally uttered this weekend.
“We know that Briann can do and accomplish anything she sets her mind too,” Gwendolyn said. “Briann’s favorite scripture is Romans 1:16: ‘For I am not ashamed of the gospel of Jesus Christ.’ Briann has this proudly displayed on the front of her car.”
A life-enhancing, therapeutic passage her parents know will surely keep her on a good, favorable path to success.
Er, Goode, that is.
EDITOR’S NOTE: If you would like to salute a Class of 2016 graduate with a unique celebratory tribute that will be designed like this one, call Reporter Andre Johnson at 901-690-6587 or Facebook message him under “Andre T. Johnson” for details.
Andre Johnson is a senior writer for MemphiSport. Based in Dallas, Texas, Johnson covers the NBA Southwest Division. To reach Johnson, send an email to firstname.lastname@example.org. Also, follow him on Twitter @AJ_Journalist.