- I can achieve, I can maintain my high grade point average as I remember my past.
- The holes in my pants that I may now have will turn into 0s on my pay check.
- Let us all pray for Haiti
I also was impressed by the conduct of the contestants. As they returned to their seats on the stage their fellow contestants displayed gratitude and smiles to each other.
- One contestant spoke of the challenges of the past and quickly reminded us that they were still standing. Then went on to list their specific goals.
- Acknowledged the we face challenges
- If I maintain a correct focus away from drugs, etc., I can achieve. My dreams are with Jesus.
- I appreciate my Mother who cried, fussed and loved me.
I continued to be impressed with the attitude and the smiles shared among the contestants.
- Education leads one out of the cotton fields.
- Another speaker discussed great pride in their heritage as they looked to a terrific future.
- I was the fuel that kept their fire going as the contestant focused on those in the past who labored under difficult conditions.
- To those who think that the upcoming generation can not achieve greatness one contestant challenged the peers by stating this: "Let us prove them wrong. We can rise to the challenge.
- Another contestant acknowledged that as a young adult to set high goals. Make something our of life. This contestant stated that the goal was to become a veterinarian by attending Georgia Tech and Cornell.
I must state that the above quotes may not be as delivered, but I think that my comments accurately reflect what they conveyed.
The final contestants were the Senior Teens in the 16 to 19 age group. There were four contestants.
- The first speaker focused on the current situation. We were informed that while we now have a Black President, we still have far too many black men in prision. We were urged to set higher goals.
- The next speaker acknowledged on the past struggles and stated that they suceeded because they trusted in God. They knew that one day they would overcome. We were all challenged to take time to get to know each other.
- The third speaker presented a wonderful analogy of the past, the present, the future and the dream by comparing with the weaving of a garmet. The focus of the speech was the wonderful looking cloth of the future - a fancy weave. Reach for excellence.
- The final speaker presented a dramatic speech. While we can appreciate our legacy, we must also be active in our future. An act as simple as voting was stressed. Be proud of our legacy and be ready to acknowledge that "I" am the future. The question was also asked: "How can I not?" with reference to using each individuals full potential.
As I contemplated this event the following comments are germane:
- Many experienced difficult situations in their past but they learned from them and proceeded on with their lives because of actions by adults and/or their Church Family.
- Many shared personal experiences during their speeches. Always an effective method of delivering the point.
- Given the ages of these participants and contestants, each of them is to be saluted for their willingness to participate in such an event.
- Several of the presentations brought tears to my eyes.
- I appreciate that not one speaker presented the required topic in what I anticipated would be a "Cookie Cutter" speech. Each one covered the assigned topic in a new, refreshing way.
All of the participants and contestants displayed great poise. I, as an attendee was impressed. I do not think that during my Junior School High and/or High School days that I could have presented any topic with the clarity, background and knowledge that these 29 scholars displayed this morning. Their conduct certainly reflects well on themselves, their families, their educators, their church families, their schools and their communities.