The Life of Steven Vaughn at Agape Boarding School
(Oct 23rd, 2004 – May 19th, 2007)
In October of 2004, Steven Vaughn was still at another Boarding School some few hours away in Devil’s Elbow, Missouri. The School was sadly shut down in what had appeared to be a lawsuit. On the 23rd of October, Steven’s enrollment was shifted, along with the direction of his life…forever. Steven was given more trust at the beginning because he had come from a similar program with higher and stricter standards. He was given a burgundy shirt – instead of yellow or orange – and spent the rest of his time at Agape Boarding School jeopardizing it. Unlike many other students, this one had a purpose in life that he would live to find out much later.
He had the normal problems, like cheating in school and having an attitude when things wouldn’t go his way. He was in and out of trouble like he was visiting a vacation spot and tried to work things out in his life a day at a time. The biggest hurdle Steven had to overcome was himself. Breaking the chains of habits he picked up from his parents was like trying to cure a sick patient of a disease. Unlike most other students, he realized a lot of his issues were habits he learned from his parents that he accepted as his own. He knew in order to change, he had to break those habits and become a new, different person.
There were a few mountain-top experiences he found himself in, just not enough to counterbalance the many moments he was in trouble. He did a few good things like preach behind the pulpit, went on Public Relations jobs for the school and worked with the livestock outdoors. To his benefit, the trouble he constantly found himself in was what helped him in the long run. So many students skate through the program and don’t ever pick up anything because they put on a show; it wasn’t like that for Steven Vaughn. He had an attitude that attracted lots of negative attention, but that is where the transformation in his life started. Being an arrogant student that he was, he was in trouble, meaning he got lots of lectures, lots of consequences that taught him what he was doing was wrong, and after so many times he finally learned. It took him a while to realize not to put his hand in the cookie jar after his hand was slapped so many times, so to speak. Once he finally shook off his juvenile thinking and adolescent behavior he started to grow up and mature. It was as if the lights went on and he was no longer a fighter towards the staff but a fighter for the staff.
Till this day, Steven Vaughn still is a fighter for the staff, a fighter for the school, a fighter for his country (an Iraq and Afghanistan War Veteran) and a fighter for God. He left Agape when it was his time to graduate, having taken his very last test the day of graduation. He joined the US Army just weeks after graduating and will be leaving the Army to come back to Agape and dedicate his life to the very place where his life was changed forever.
Steven has shown so much improvement since his first arrival back in 2004. He went from a rebellious, stubborn, smart-mouthed student to a gentle man who cares about people, who has returned to the school several times to visit and volunteer, a dual war veteran who runs his own Facebook page called the Agape Appreciation Association where he promotes, encourages and blesses the staff and parents of Agape Boarding School and shares his experiences he lived that he still lives today.
In closing, Steven would like to share one thing that very few people know.
One day, some years ago, after Steven had left, he was deployed in Iraq and talked with one of the staff members at Agape on a regular basis. He had written an email to this staff member, sharing how very glad he was getting into lots of trouble there at the school. The staff member was so inspired by what he read; he preached a sermon out of it. The message was called “With Christ Yet Backslid” and at the end he shared with the audience what Steven had written to him in the email. The Staff member said Steven mentioned how so many students went through the program, never got into trouble and were highly promoted students in the program. Later on, after those students left, they fell apart, and wanted nothing to do with God. Steven said he could block the preaching out, ignore what people told him, and ignore everything that was taught but one thing he could not block out was the Word of God he had to read when he got into trouble. That sermon was recorded and later sent off to Steven some months later. Now every time he listens to it, he bows his head, cries and remembers his life, where he’s come from and what he’s gone through to where he is now. Steven has more than improved; he has transformed his life to live for His Savior Jesus Christ, by dedicating his life to where he grew up and wants to grow old.