WRONG choices whilst still a teenager can affect your whole life, but it is never too late to change for the better and start working to achieve your life goals. This is the message that Dylan Mostert (21) a John Walton Secondary School matric learner, wants to share with youths. Dylan learnt the hard way that dropping out of school can deprive you of your future. He left school in 2015 after finishing Grade 9 and “wasted a precious year of his life”.It was however the words of his late grandfather, Connie Warney, which haunted and eventually motivated him to go back to school.“My grandpa always said it’s what’s inside of you that matters and that is far greater than what’s on the outside. To not give up, stand up for the good and to make a difference in life,” said Dylan. “His last words to me were, ‘my son I’m done now, you have to take over’. Those words . . . haunted me in the days that I absolutely did nothing,” said Dylan. During those drop-out days, his Grade 9 teacher, Edward Bruintjies, also visited him at home and advised him to come back to school. Dylan returned to school, despite being older than his peers and is now preparing to write his final matric exam.“It was not easy and I often felt embarrassed, but it was important for me to push through the shame in order to focus and accomplish my goals,” said Dylan. Not only is he focussing on his own goals, but he wants to inspire other young people through his example.“I am very thankful to John Walton Secondary School for granting me a second chance in life, especially the principal, Stephen de Bruin and Manie Daniels.”De Bruin, who has been at John Walton Secondary school since 1994, the last eight years of which as principal, said the drop out rate has always been a huge problem.He said that since the start of this school year 98 learners have dropped out - something which he attributes to the negativity in the area the youth face daily. “They see negativity all over and it becomes difficult to move away from what is considered the norm,” De Bruin said.He, however, believes that no matter what these learners’ situations are, they each have something inside of them that will help them beat the odds. “I allowed Dylan to return to the school because everyone deserves a second chance in life. My motto is that out of the blackest swamps, comes the whitest lily,” De Bruin said.Dylan, who is an active member of Roselane Congregational Church, said he is nervous about the final exams because it is the door to his future.“I know it will not be easy. I do, however, know that if I work hard, I can get to where I need to be,” he said.He plans to work part-time next year in order to save enough money for his studies and hopefully contribute financially at home. Dylan hopes his story will inspire many others to believe in themselves and to always have a dream to strive towards.