The Best Things in Life Aren’t Things

The best things in life aren’t things. They’re relationships.

A young woman and her business relationship with a local TV anchor.
A reunion between a non-profit president and co-worker of 36-years ago.

Kathryn Lincoln is a self-professed Chatty Kathy. The 2014 Fairview High School graduate is known for engaging her Starbucks costumers in West Nashville. Local TV anchor Tom Randles is among her regulars, and one day the conversation steered toward Washington DC.

“I’ve been there,” Kathryn stated confidently. “My JTG class raised money for some of us to go to a leadership conference. It made all the difference in the world to me,” she explained.

Randles became more intrigued and wanted to know more about this JTG program Kathryn kept sprinkling in the conversation. So much so, that he wanted to profile the program on his newscast. He (along with photographer Craig Minor) visited the Williamson County school Thursday, March 28th and aired a 3—minute story during the WSMV-TV Channel 4 10 p.m. the following Thursday.

All because of casual conversation during a java transaction.

That isn’t the only serendipitous encounter regarding this profile. Randles and JTG President & CEO John Dwyer crossed paths in 1983 at a South Bend, Indiana TV station (the duo’s hometown). Dwyer was a 19-year old sports intern and Randles was a news photographer. “Tom shot my very first story,” explained the 29-year veteran of the TV news business. “When TJ (Tom’s nickname back then) walked into the classroom at Fairview, he was startled to see me addressing the students. We had a good time whispering in the back of class walking down memory lane. We almost got shhhhed!”

Lesson being, you never know where paths will cross leading to stories told. Perhaps a coffee shop. Or a local TV station decades ago.



By |2019-04-15T19:01:04+00:00April 15th, 2019|Academics, Life Lessons|Comments Off on The Best Things in Life Aren’t Things

About the Author:

Call it John Dwyer 2.0 After 29 years as a TV Broadcaster, Dwyer is President & CEO of Jobs for Tennessee Graduates (JTG). JTG, an affiliate of Jobs for America’s Graduates (JAG), is a non-profit organization dedicated to stewarding at-risk high school students toward graduation with follow through toward post-secondary education and/or job opportunities. Associated with JAG since 1981, JTG consistently obtains a graduation rate above 90-percent with a full-time job rate at nearly 70-percent. The most vulnerable, socioeconomically challenged young men and women, graduate with self-esteem with the realization and skill set to achieve success after high school. Does it get much better than that? Dwyer, is a resident of the Nashville area since 1996. He was sports director and/or a news anchor at TV stations in Nashville, Jacksonville, Florida; Ft. Myers, FL and his hometown of South Bend, Indiana. He is a 10-time Mid-South Region Emmy Award winner, along with winning numerous other awards. He is also a former Heisman Trophy voter. John is a 1985 graduate of Butler University, where he majored in Radio/TV while minoring in journalism. An avid running (or “plodder” as he likes to call himself), Dwyer runs in Nashville’s annual marathon. (Current tally: 7 Full, 10 Half). He accomplished a goal, once thought out of reach, be qualifying and running in the Boston Marathon in 2009. Married to Lynley, Dwyer resides in East Nashville with his wife and dog Lola. Dwyer served on the Make-A-Wish Middle Tennessee board from 2006-2012, and was board chairman for three years.

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COVID-19 Update

JAG and JTG Statement in Response to COVID-19

 As we are all feeling, COVID-19 has shifted how the world operates in a way that is unprecedented for our generation, and Jobs for America’s Graduates (JAG) and Jobs for Tennessee Graduates (JTG), one of 39 JAG state affiliates, are no exception. The impact of the coronavirus and the immediate danger it presents has closed our education system, directly affecting students and their families. This is especially detrimental to JTG students, who often look to their JTG Specialists and classmates for steadiness and security in their lives.

We also recognize that our students and their families are disproportionately affected by the closure of restaurants, stores, bars, and other service-industry places of work. These jobs often provide the entry-level opportunities our students need to enter the workforce. A difficult environment is likely to continue for some time, so we are in the process to reposition our training and support to make the best case for our JTG students to be considered for employment.

At a time when we must social distance ourselves to protect each other, the thousands of JTG students we serve need us more than ever.  We are responding to and encouraged by the requests from many JTG Specialists to access online learning modules and platforms provided by JAG educational partners like the Skills to Succeed Academy, EverFi, and Tallo. We are excited to see the interest in the JAG Genius and the use of virtual connectivity and the online sense of community – something we all need in these times.

Jobs for America’s Graduates (JAG) and Jobs for Tennessee Graduates (JTG) recognize we need to modify the way we provide support and deliver competencies to our students during this time of uncertainty. In response to the way business and education are adapting (in real time) to COVID-19,  JAG National is establishing new protocols and processes to ensure full, virtual engagement with our young people to ensure they have the competencies they need to meet the very competitive job market ahead. That is why JAG is providing the immediate recommendations below that are of highest priority, which impact the day-to-day lives of our students and Specialists. Like our world right now, please know that these are in real-time and subject to change.


Moving forward, we will have ongoing recommendations that will be built into new practices that will serve as both short- and long-term solutions to continue JAG’s data-driven model. This will help us remain accountable to our students, our partners, funders, and each other.