With large amounts of violence being portrayed in television shows, movies, and even songs on the radio, such images can place a domineering factor on influencing a child’s future.
Taking some initiative, graduating senior Shaka Strong decided to intervene and provide assistance to the younger generation of the students at Grambling State University Laboratory High School.
“It was my intent to hold a seminar to show the youth that although you may come from a bad environment, you don’t have to allow it to decide what choices you will make for your future,” said Strong, who himself is from the urban area of Lake Charles.
The event began with GHS Student Government Association president Adarian Williams rendering a greeting and detailing the importance of respecting themselves, to be aware of consequences for every action, and to not be drawn in by peer pressure.
Following Williams was Lab student student Monsanto Nelson with an inspirational quote, “Dreams”, by four-time Olympic gold medalist Jesse Owens.
Guest speaker of the event was a name all athletes of Grambling know very well, Bertram Lovell. Crediting Trinidad as his birthplace, Coach Lovell was a former Olympic athlete (competed in the 1972 games in Munich, Germany). He received over 200 athletic scholarships at various schools during his early years and was the first member to be inducted into the Grambling Legends Sports Hall of Fame while still working at the university.
Before becoming the head coach of the track and field team at Grambling, Lovell majored in health and physical education (now kinesiology), in which he received his degree and has received his master’s in sports administration.
During his speech, Lovell highlighted key points to the student athletes, telling them to have respect for themselves, as well as others and to always place academics first.
“I always tell my athletes when I first meet them ‘you will graduate’. Lovell also stressed the importance of teamwork amongst one another. “Being selfish does not produce champions,” said Lovell.
Following Lovell was an open discussion between the students and several athletes of Grambling State. Graduating seniors Kaylon Roberts and Mark Harris advised the young boys and girls to “sacrifice who you are for what you want to become.”
Harris also gave an example of his upbringing in Chicago, a well known city with a high crime rate.
“I came from nothing, lived in the projects, watched my mother struggle. I surrounded myself around positive individuals who wanted to make something of themselves and prosper, and that is why I’m where I am now.”
Closing the event was GHS junior Xavier Davis. When asked of his experience of the event, Nelson said that he “was going to study more and start being more of a leader to his teammates.”