I was a kid back in Illinois, there was this crazy guy who managed
to talk our local school board into the nuttiest idea ever. The plan
was to let some dare devil jet flying lunatic give a speech about
being successful to a bunch of inner city kids of which
I was one.
All I remember, was being told that we (Ulrich Elementary) would be having
a special guest speaker. Later that same day we were all gathered
together in the auditorium, well prepared to endure yet another
lecture about socialism or communism or capitalism... either way we
had enough paper wads, bubblegum, and candy to sit through anything
they could throw at us.
But what they threw at us was this black guy with the silliest
British sounding name who flew jet planes as a test pilot. He went
on and on about goals and what it takes to achieve them - about
dreams and what we would have to do to live them out - about being a
responsible person that our friends can count on when things get
rough - about education and the need for it if we were ever going to
be half of what we all thought we could be.
This crazy guy went on and on about integrity and what this word
means to them that have it. On and on about love, loyalty, honesty,
daring to go for it, and what one must instill within oneself to be
able to bounce back from defeat, failure, and lack of opportunity -
How we must rise again and fight with all we've got no matter how
difficult the challenge. This crazy guy unknowingly changed the
lives of many of us that day. His words were permanently embedded in
some of our minds and hearts enabling at least some of us to dream
bigger, be truer, and ride higher than we ever had before his
Thank you ever so much, Mr. Montel Williams, for
caring about us kids!
-Dr. XI Lee