Back To School Rally Provides Teens With a Blueprint for Success This School Year and Beyond

There was plenty of wisdom, guidance and motivation for teens and parents alike at last Thursday’s  “Back to School Rally” inside the Northland WorkForce Training Center.

The free event, with giveaways, music, and food featured  four dynamic speakers – Dr. Marck Abraham, Duncan Kirkwood, Detra Trueheart and Sam Radford – who left the teens with invaluable tools  for a  successful school year and beyond. 

Upbeat and optimistic, their give and take presentations were brief but powerful; using their own personal   experiences, wisdom of their elders, and professional skills to make their points.

-Tools for Being Successful-

“One of the most important things you’re going to ever have to do as a person,… is be very  clear about where your life is going …. national Parent Advocate and community activist Sam Radford  instructed .

He then shared   and discussed with the teens, life  lessons his grandmother taught him.

“My grandmother told me three things,” he began: “The first … was   If two people are exactly alike, one of them is not  necessary… So you’ve got to find a way to be who you are unconditionally, unapologetically… “

 “The second thing she said to me was Sam, if you hang around 9 broke people, you ‘re about to be the 10th. Which means you become like the people you hang out with…” 

“The third   lesson she … taught me  is  that the most important communication skill you could have    is  to learn how to listen.

“Let me say to you in closing,  that there is nothing more important than being present in  your own life… and having a clear goal, learning how to listen  not just hear; learning how to  be around people who are going to make a difference in your life…Those kinds of lessons .…will get you all the things you want in life.

“The most important thing she told them to remember, was that there is nothing more important         than getting to know your Creator.”

-“I’m Not Done!”-

Detra Trueheart, a pretty, spunky young 49-year-old speaker, teacher, author and strategist, danced her way to the podium  and declared, “I’m here to speak life, to make some deposits in you, because at the end of the day how you show up (at school) shows what you’re ready for…so if you show up dull, dry…like you’re not ready, that’s how they’re going to treat you.”   The alternative she said is to show up like you’re ready to learn.

“Your attitude instead, should be like    “I’m good…as long as there’s breath in my lungs I ain’t done!” 

She also urged teens not to “dumb down” when they show up for class this year, and not to be   afraid of what others may think if you strive for  excellence.

Then there was the message for the parents and adults.

When the children     go back to school she said, parents should be the first to wake them up  each morning with words of love and encouragement.

At the end of her presentation she had the audience repeat 30  Affirmations  she wrote, which she also called a Success Pledge. These   words, she said,  should   be voiced  on a regular basis  “because    you need to rewire your brain and rewire your language , rewire your emotions and how you see yourself when you look at yourself in the mirror”

Detra’s Success Pledge:

I AM Affirmations

I AM Who God says I am

I AM Enough

I AM Loved

I AM Healed

I AM Phenomenal

I AM Powerful

I AM God’s Child

I AM Dope

I AM A Force to be reckoned with

I AM Bold

I AM Wise 

I AM Creative

I AM Kind 

I AM Chosen

I AM Beautiful

I AM Worthy

I AM Unique

I AM Forgiven 

I AM Alive

I AM Healthy

I AM Compassionate

I AM Courageous

I AM Fun 

I AM Amazing

I AM Wealthy

I AM Grateful

I AM Consistent

I AM Focused

I AM Disciplined

I AM Not Alone

I AM Affirmed

-Resilience: Success Pledge-

Duncan Kirkwood, Global Resilience Advocate and author, shared his personal  journey including the lessons he learned from rejection. Going to college in Alabama   he said, was “the best thing that could have happened to me.”

 I was there “I had to grow up” and it was the first time he said someone his age told him“average isn’t good enough, mediocrity ain’t going to cut it here.” So he got busy, got his grades up, but  as a graduating senior suffered massive rejection when hunting for a job.’

“I applied to 40 jobs in my field and got 40 rejections.” So after graduating he joined the military

“They paid for my masters degree and I ended up becoming a Master Resilience Trainer in the Military  and because of that experience,  now my full time job is  traveling the country motivating people on Resilience

 “If any one of those 40 organizations  had  said yes to me I wouldn’t  be here today…because they rejected me – it launched me!.. So you’re going to face failure…you’re going  to have setbacks….just remember to keep going don’t quit because setbacks will help you if you don’t give up on yourself.”

 He then offered teens  what he called their   College Success Pledge…”your life success pledge,” which  they said together:

1.I will always place my mission first

2.I will never accept defeat 

3.I will never quit  

-Steps to Take to Be Successful in School –

Dr. Marck Abraham, a former  High School principal, is more than familiar with the issues facing education and minority children today. 

“We’re excited…we put this program together for you…” he said in his opening statement. “All of these folks in here  right now want to see you be successful but  please don’t be confused there are people who don’t want to see you successful…But we believe in you!”

Getting an education is critical he  emphasized, especially for  minority males who more often   than not end up in prison or dead  without one.

He then offered the following steps   he said that will guarantee being  successful in school.

1.You can’t  be successful in school if you don’t show up and be on time.

2.You’ve  got to know your grades at all times…don’t wait for anybody to tell you. Ask your   teacher  as often as you feel its necessary.

3.Set goals for yourself…short term and long term – then tell your teachers and administrators.   Its …about how hard you work…Show up, set goals, do your homework everyday . 

4.When  you’re in class ask questions. ”  

5.Sit in front of the class if you can… and see what the teacher got to say. 

6. Stay  after class and ask the teacher questions. What you’re doing is building  a relationship  with your teacher            

“I just gave  the whole game for success!” Dr. Abraham concluded.“This year I believe you’re going to have one of the most successful school years of your life! “