Everyone told him that he was too young, that he didn’t know what he was doing. Pushing through the endless negativity echoing in his brain, Robert locked himself in a silent, freezing garage, shutting the world out. It may have been a piece of “junk,” but in the instant he heard the roaring of the engine, he never felt more alive. In that moment, he knew cars were his “thing.”
Even as a child, Robert Morris has had a fascination with cars. Cars can literally turn a bad day into an amazing day, and it has been that way for him since the beginning. “When I was little, I would be crying and everything in the backseat in my car seat. I don’t know what it was, but [my dad] would put his foot on the gas, and I just stopped . . . it made no sense,” Robert said, laughing. Fixing up cars and driving them helps Robert escape from the trashy world he sees around him. It gives him a sense of hope for his future—a future that is filled with success, love, and of course, cars.
Family also plays a role in helping shape Robert’s desired future; more specifically, his aunt. Robert’s aunt is his primary source of motivation. Looking up to her, he sees what her life has consisted of, and he wants to be successful. “I don’t want to, you know, struggle for a good job . . . but I don’t expect it to be easy,” he said. Despite the troubles Robert knows come with the course of life, he knows he has someone that can help him achieve his goals: his uncle Tyler. With age comes wisdom. Robert looks up to this man because he can count on him to give him wisdom and lend a helping hand whenever he needs it. “My uncle Tyler,” Robert reflects, “got me my first job. He showed me more than my dad would actually show me. There was a point where I went and asked him every question.” Without these two great influences in his life, Robert would not be the person he is today.
Speaking of family, Robert’s name has been passed down four times. He doesn’t go by Robert Morris IV; however, he is very honored that he was named after the Robert Morrises that came before him. “They could tell me stories about how lucky he [great great grandfather] was and how truthful he was.” Robert beamed, “He was always there for people whenever they ever needed him.” Even though Robert, his great great grandfather, uncle Bobby, and great uncle Bobby all have the same name, Robert is different. In fact, that is how he describes himself.
Unlike most people in high school, Robert doesn’t feel like he has to fit in or change to fit someone’s expectations. As a sixteen year old, Robert is content with where he is in terms of Heritage High School’s social hierarchy. “I don’t feel like anything needs to change,” he added, and he is right. No one should feel like they have to change to fit into a category that is temporary. Robert knows that he may not be the most popular guy in school, but that doesn’t stop him from being who he is. In fact, Robert is very passionate about people being authentic. “If you’re gonna be around me, you gotta be real; you gotta be who you are,” he preached to me. It is because of these “fake” people that Robert has one true person that he can count on: himself. For Robert, he is his biggest ally. All of his life, he has had to work hard for what he has, and he knows that if he finds himself in a mess or situation, nine out of ten times he can count on himself to get him out of it. “If that doesn’t work,” he added with a grin, “my uncle and my girlfriend can help me out, too.” Robert is extremely lucky to have people like his uncle and girlfriend to count on if life gets messy. However, it is very admirable that he can isolate himself and know that he is capable of picking himself up and dusting off his boots when life gets ahold of him.
In short, Robert is a tortoise.
Tortoises, in my opinion, are very underrated. Turtles and tortoises are very different. I like to think that tortoises are the fearless and armed version of a turtle. That is what Robert is in my eyes. Life has thrown challenges at him since he was born, but he always overcomes them. People say, “Slow and steady wins the race,” and I can’t think of a better saying to explain Robert Morris. He takes each challenge at a time, and even if it takes time to overcome it, he always perseveres. Robert Morris is a tortoise. Robert Morris is a champion, and I am very grateful that I got the opportunity to get to know him better.
Meet Robert Morris: a new staff member of Heritage High School’s Journalism program!