Hosted by the Michael Walton and the John Thompson III foundations, guest speakers included Walton (USA Track and Field Sprinter), Derrick Frost (former Washington Redskin and Green Bay Packer), Kendric Golston (defensive lineman, Washington Redskins) and DJ Heat (“Big Tigger Morning Show” producer).
Walton started the tour in 2001 to boost self-esteem, decrease dropout rates and instill leadership principles within students in his hometown. This is the tenth anniversary of “Speak Out to Reach Out.”
“What we’re doing here is about giving students a sense of hope and direction. I think many times youth look at the finished product without knowing the background of what it took to get there,” Walton said. “When they hear our stories they find that we were just like them. We’ve shared the same struggles but our decisions and dedication to hard work were what separated us from our peers.”
“We take every opportunity to have successful people speak with students and help them understand what it takes to reach their goals,” said principal Fletcher James.
The Michael Walton Foundation (www.michaelwaltonfoundation.org) provides creative outlets for youth development. Its purpose is to foster leadership skills and behaviors in young people by helping them to identify and cultivate their talents, set goals, and make informed career choices.
The John Thompson III Foundation (www.johnthompsoniiifoundation.org) supports recently established non-profits that serve at-risk children and families. Its primary focus is on education and health care for families.
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