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! “