I had an experience similar to John Cali’s.
In high school, I completed a written work for a statewide writing competition. As part of the submission process, a teacher from my school read it. He shook his head and said he had no idea what it meant and that I should consider not submitting it. He felt that it would embarrass our school if I submitted it.
He also told me I would never amount to anything in life. (Way to build up a student!) I did not listen to him, and submitted it anyway. The judges at the competition were so impressed with my writing that they asked me to quote part of it to them to verify I had not plagiarized it. My teacher was thunderstruck to hear my name announced the first prize winner. This little victory solidified my resolve to write as my career.
I met the discouraging teacher years later. He seemed amazed that I doing well and was writing full-time. Success is the sweetest revenge.
Deborah Jeanne Sergeant