Sunday, January 02, 2011

2011 Role Model #1: Deonte Bridges


Yesterday I promised I would spend this whole week writing about people who make a difference because they have decided to do what they can wherever they are with whatever they have. I'm calling them "role models" for the rest of us and they represent a range of individuals who are at different places in their lives, but they are all showing us how it's done.

I'm starting off with Deonte Bridges, a young man who graduated from Booker T. Washington High School in Atlanta, Georgia, last May. During the commencement exercises, Deonte gave the address captured in the YouTube video above.

So often, we feel as if the obstacles we face as individuals and as a society are just too massive to overcome. Sometimes we get tired of trying to rise above whatever is pushing us down. Shaking our heads in frustration, we're quick to say "somebody ought to do something," adding "and as soon as I..." (fill in the blank here), "I'm gonna step up and..." (fill in this blank, too).

But that's not how it works. Life happens. And we don't get to wait. We're presented with an evolution of realities on a daily basis. We don't have to kill every dragon. We don't have to win every battle. We don't have to bankroll an army. We just have to do the next right thing as we go along. If we're honest with ourselves, we know in our gut what the next right thing is. And if you're not sure, take a couple of minutes and listen to what Deonte Bridges -- our 2011 Role Model #1 -- has to say.

9 comments:

Maleka said...

I'm only in middle school, but hearing hearing what Deonte's been through and seeing how far he's come let's me know that I can be anything if I try my hardest. I've been making a list of people I look up to and he's going right under President Obama.

Maleka said...

Sorry, I only meant to put "hearing" once.

Will Capers said...

I'm speechless.

I have to repost this with credit to you of course.

Changeseeker said...

Maleka: If you're reading this blog and you're "only" in middle school, I'm guessing you might wind up pretty impressive yourself. Welcome. Feel free to come by and comment any time you want to. And don't sweat the mistake. We ALL make 'em. ;^)

Will: Yes, this one is definitely one to spread. The link is appreciated.

Anonymous said...

There are many kids in Atlanta who are role models with more tragic stories who have excelled. They just did not have the media attention or the smarts of a foundation to record his speech and place it on YouTube. Contact the Atlanta Public Schools and your will finds hundreds of inspirations like this young man. His notoriety is applauded. But let's not forget those students with stories that will blow your minds.

Changeseeker said...

I totally agree, Anonymous. And it's not just in Atlanta either. All over the world, young people rise above circumstances and not only survive, but excel. At the same time, we must remember that sometimes just surviving is an miracle. I see young people everyday who inspire me to keep on keepin' on because that's what they are doing. Deonte' Bridges is just one example, the tip of a gigantic iceberg. Thanks for reminding those who don't always remember that a diamond is still a diamond whether it is recognized or not and a rose -- even if it's missing a few petals -- is still very much a rose.

DMC said...

I've listened to Deonte Bridges speech multiple times; to say the least, it leaves me inspired and emotionally speechless each time.

Recently I viewed a clip of his visit to Andrew Robinson Elementary School. While there, the children treated him as a celebrity; the ultimate role model admired for his diligent hard work in developing his mind to master any subject academically. I commend him for continuing to shine his light where others may see darkness. He is a mountain that others strive to climb.

I pray that he remains humble, and focused on what God has planned for him.

Changeseeker said...

Thanks for dropping by and leaving your comment, DMC. Deonte is, indeed, remarkable, but just one more example of the amazing human spirit that rises (as Maya Angelou wrote) no matter what hand it is dealt. Deonte demonstrates what is possible. My concern is that so many people in the world are too broken-hearted to do more than just survive in whatever way they can. And they need more than an example...

Changeseeker said...

DMC: I just checked out your www.i-love-myself.com website. Excellent!