Nicholas Sherman thinks about his maternal grandfather and all he meant to him when he begins his job each day as a digital coach in Orangeburg Consolidated School District 5. It is what keeps him noticeably happy throughout the day.
Sherman, like everyone else, has his bad days, but those around him rarely notice it because he intentionally decides to spread warmth and optimism based on the principles his grandfather Buck Sherman Jr. taught him beginning in childhood. He also credits his mother, Veronica, for always demonstrating a positive attitude and outlook.
As a digital resource coach in OCSD5, Sherman interacts daily with teachers, students and staff in sharing his knowledge of technology. But he does more than fix iPads. He extends a caring hand, gentle smile and pleasant, bright demeanor.
It his commitment to demonstrating a sunny, friendly and welcoming disposition that has earned Sherman the designation as the exemplification of cheerfulness as part of the Orangebuerg County Community of Character initiative.
The honor caught the 40-year-old by surprise.
"I'm just a person that likes to come to work, do my job and make sure everybody's OK. It definitely caught me off guard, but I am honored," he said.
Sherman graduated from South Carolina State University with a bachelor's degree in English education. Before he stepped into the information technology field, he had served as an English teacher in the district, beginning his career at Brookdale Elementary School.
"The basic core of my job now is helping students and teachers integrate technology into their classrooms. I've been doing that for a while now. I'm going into my sixth year doing that, but this is my 17th year in the district," Sherman said.
Whatever his duties are, he commits himself to doing them with a cheerful attitude, he said.
"Cheerfulness means always trying to find the positive in everything. A lot of times we get so focused on the negative stuff. So, I try to make sure I find the positive in whatever comes up," Sherman said.
"I try to be that person that tries to find that silver lining in the cloud and look at things from a holistic perspective. It doesn't always work out like that, but I try to do that," he added.
Where did this agreeable spirit originate?
"I think that just came a lot from my upbringing. My mom is super positive, and my grandfather always taught me about hard work before he passed. He would say, 'You keep going until the job is done.' Those kinds of things stuck with me," Sherman said.
The Conway native said he would not want to tarnish his grandfather's memory by being anything less than positive.
"He passed away a couple of years ago. That was pretty hard on me, but I'm a firm believer that he's still with me. ... I try to make sure I honor him in the things that I do. I hope he's proud of me," Sherman said, smiling.
He said being cheerful is important in his professional life and credits his mother and grandfather for instilling that patience, good work ethic and cool head that helps get him through the day.
"I think it's so important because it's so easy to get sucked down in negativity. It's so much of that in the world already. So you have to rise above that," he said, noting that being able to move forward past obstacles in life is important in achieving success.
"The thing with being cheerful is that it's not every day. If you can can do it the majority of the time, that's OK, but nobody's perfect. I don't claim to be perfect. You hit some stumbling blocks from time to time, but you keep moving," Sherman said. "They may get me down, but they won't keep me down."
Sherman and his wife, Rhonda, are the parents of a 9-year-old son, Nicholas Jr. He said he tries to instill the same values that were instilled in him in his son.
"He's a good kid. As a parent, it's been amazing to watch what you do rub off on your child. I take that very seriously. I watch what I do and say around him because he absorbs everything," Sherman said.
"It's important to do that with kids nowadays. Working in this profession, I see the benefits of working with your child," he added, noting that he works to have a positive impact on all children through the use of technology and his character.
Sherman still keeps up with several of his former students, some of whom have invited him to their weddings. He said it makes him proud to know that he has been remembered in a positive way by so many and doesn't plan on changing his attitude for anything or anyone.
"I'm always moving forward. I just try to do the very best I can do. The hardest lesson is you can't save them all," Sherman said, noting that he is proud that the Orangeburg County Community of Character is continuing to spread good character throughout the community by spotlighting individuals who represent various character traits.
"I think it's a good thing and that people need to see other people being examples of those traits," he said. "When I think about younger kids, they need to see those role models. ... I think that's a powerful thing."
OCSD5 digital coach recognized for cheerfulness
February 5, 2018 Times and Democrat article (reprinted with permission)
Article by DIONNE GLEATON T&D Staff Writer