Has your passion ever snuck onto your pathway when you didn’t even notice? Long before I was a teacher, I was a Public Speaking Coach. Reminiscing on Willowridge High School’s Forensic Club led me to my strong convictions on the importance of well written (and well spoken) words. That later paved the way for my transition into education.
Today, I’m feeling the excitement that peaks every year at this time. For the last 8 years, I’ve had the privilege of coaching students to compete in the annual MLK Oratory Competition sponsored by the Gardere Law Firm. Nearly 250-300 students enter every year. I’m privileged to say that each of mine has always made it to the Top 12 Finalists, this year included. Many of my students went on to be on Fox 26, WB 39, KHOU 11, radio shows, and graced many programs and special events. I felt so proud!
My own coach from Willowridge, Nancy Limberger, changed my life. The skills I learned in her classroom, during and after school, were the fodder for many of my biggest achievements as an adult. I was baffled when I coached elementary students in University of Houston Tournaments just like the ones I participated in 15 years ago myself! It was an honor to experience it on the other end.
When I work with students and watch their transformation from coy to confident, I feel the fervor of their journey; but, my excitement isn’t limited to watching them grow – it’s heightened because I’m doing something that I love. Pursuing our passions – delving into the things that come most natural – yields a magic that is often inexplicable. Speaking…writing…painting with words? That’s what gets me excited. How about you?
Attached is a link from my first place winner a few years ago, Gerra Gistand, whose soaring to the heavens as she finds her own magic. Prepare to be wowed… (You’ll see me jumping up and down at the end of this clip in a yellow blouse!) I’m so excited for all twelve of today’s contestants. Experience it yourself today at the historical African American Antioch Missionary Baptist Church in Downtown Houston at 500 Clay. You’ll never forget it…Martin would be proud…see you there. #pursueyourpassion
(Pic above – Samaya Watson, Former Finalist and 3rd Place Winner)