Drug court graduates in Pinellas County had the surprise of their lives when singer/songwriter James Taylor spoke to them on their graduation day.
The whole ceremony was headed by Judge Dee Anna Farnell who oversees the drug court. To make the graduation day more meaningful and memorable, Judge Farnell brought in Grammy Award winner James Taylor, who also struggled with addiction years ago, according to a Tampa Bay report.
A certain graduate was a very close friend of the Fire and Rain singer; Valerie Carter once sang with James in his albums, and he promised she’d be back after her successful journey to recovery.
The “You’ve Got a Friend” singer was not ashamed to admit that he was once in the same situation as the graduates are. When Judge Farnell even quoted some lines from his famous songs, he would say he was high when he created that certain song. For 18 years, he was on drugs. He says, “I thought the day I ended up institutionalized was the low point of my life.”
Today, as he helps the judge hand out certificates to the graduates, he tells them that he never expected he’d be able to get back on his feet and continue doing what he loves. “The possibility that it would open up a whole new life hadn’t occurred to me then. But we are all people today who can hope to be part of the strength of society, rather than the ones who weigh on it.”
Before the program ended, he urged everyone to stay away from drugs and alcohol and instead focus on having a healthy life.