Natrona County High School history teacher Tom Grogan and CY Junior High Assistant Principal Brent Jurgensen have co-written a book called 'Forging Virtue: Sharpening Ethics, Values, and Self Awareness,' and the two will be holding a book signing at Wind City Books on Saturday to discuss the book and how it can be applied to our lives.

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While Grogan said the book is intended for a teenage audience, it can be read by "anyone who desires to sharpen themselves."

"Brent and I wrote the book to promote the development and strengthen the relationships between young people and their mentors," Grogan said.

The description of the book writes that "This book was written by two educators who have devoted years of their lives to mentoring young people. The thoughts written are intended to promote and foster character development in a relational setting. At our core, we all crave deep meaningful relationships. This book is intended to be a starting point for any and all who dare to take the journey of self discovery."

Grogan said that this book is absolutely a labor of love.

"The idea of a book like this was started in 2017, and the summer of that year is when we started formulating ideas on paper," Grogan said. "For the next two years, different versions and layouts were designed until finally in 2019, the organization was determined and the typing began. The rough drafts were completed 18 months later, in the spring of 2020."

And now, just short of two years later, it is ready for public consumption.

Per a description from the book signing's event page, "Tom Grogan and Brent Jurgensen have spent decades successfully teaching and coaching young people to maximize their potential in the classroom and in competition. To them, it all starts with building a strong foundation. They believe the development of character is essential to successfully living a life of purpose. However, this journey is difficult for everyone involved. Parents, teachers, coaches, mentors, and young people can find themselves frustrated and disappointed.

"In Forging Virtue, Grogan and Jurgensen artfully share insight and wisdom about this journey toward self-awareness and purpose by exploring what they believe to be the most important human values. Integrity is more than just doing the right thing when nobody's watching. Humility teaches us the importance of accepting potential failures. Discipline is the antidote to chaos. Kindness creates emotional stability to help others. Courage unlocks parts of us that the world desperately needs. Unity is the key to collective achievement. Excellence is an experience that we are all meant for. Gratitude develops the skill of happiness.

"As Grogan and Jurgensen say, 'True personal development doesn't happen without meaningful conversations." Designed to initiate these conversations, Forging Virtue is filled with questions, reflection prompts, and activities for mentors and young people to explore together. Using a blend of personal experiences, philosophy, and spirituality, Tom Grogan and Brent Jurgensen challenge us to evaluate our lives and work together to build more meaning and purpose in what we do."
Grogan is no stranger to working with teenagers and helping them find their purpose. In addition to being a history teacher at NCHS, he is also the offensive line football coach for the NCHS Mustangs. Additionally, Grogan is the Founder of LIFT Wyoming, an organization designed to "engage, entice and educate our up-and-coming young professionals about what Wyoming has to offer."
Jurgensen is a former history and Ethics teacher and is currently the Assistant Principal for CY Junior High School. He, too, is a coach of Track and Field and he has been named Coach of the Year for the State of Wyoming on two different occasions. Jurgensen has created ethics and leadership curriculum, owns his own business, and dabbles in sports broadcasting.
Both Grogan and Jurgensen have spent much of their adult lives pouring into young people, and this book is the culmination of everything they have learned, experienced, and taught.
"The journey to discovering yourself and making yourself better is not easy," Grogan said. "We intentionally chose the blacksmithing idea of forging because working with metal requires a great deal of effort. Furthermore, the methods of manipulating metal require heat and forcible action. Such is life. It takes a great deal of work to become a person with outstanding character. Most importantly, it can never be done alone. Thus, the necessity for mentorship."
Grogan has told students that, even in his late 30's, he still has mentors. He has people that help him learn, grow, and become the best version of himself. He and Jurgensen have crafted a tome designed to help teenagers (and others) fully realize and understand that it's not about crafting yourself to fit into the world; it's about crafting the world to fit into you.
"Brent and I have a heart for helping young people reach their potential," Grogan said. "We sincerely hope that in some way, our readers can be challenged to evaluate themselves and work together to build more intentional meaning and purpose in what they do."
The book signing for 'Forging Virtue: Sharpening Ethics, Values, and Self Awareness' takes place on Saturday, October 23 from 11 A.M. to 1 P.M. at Wind City Books, located at 152 South Center street.

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