The anxious, edge-of-seat reaction from my students when Kevin Moore, Alan Damisse , and Kevin Parkes volunteered their free time to speak to 7th graders at Samuel S. Gaines Academy in Fort Pierce was a proud moment. Keeping the undivided attention of thirteen- year –olds is quite the daunting task. Most people would be intimidated by ninety teenagers gawking at them, but these confident, accomplished young men definitely played it cool. Not only were they well-spoken, but they were charming, funny, and engaging.
Kevin Moore, a paramedic student at Indian River State College, was the first to take the floor. He shared his own personal learning style which is writing rap songs to help him memorize facts of over sixty drugs. When the kids heard him rap, “Acetylsalicylic acid/ It is used when your weak heart is gaspin’/ But never fear/ We can please it/ With this anti-platelet analgesic,” their jaws dropped and eyes opened from the excitement of the moment. He then used his rap to segue into an inspiring conversation about rap stars with college educations.
Next up was Alan Damisse, a business student at Florida Atlantic University. He spoke of his dreams of becoming a basketball star, and how he used his athletic talent as more than a chance to play a game. He told students to use their athletic abilities as a means to pay for higher education. Clearly, his words were a message of true inspiration.
Last to speak was Kevin Parkes, a firefighter and paramedic for Martin County. He clued the teens into the realities of real-life expectations. He shared pictures of events he experienced on a daily basis and preached how school expectations are quite easy compared to managing life as an adult. His point was that, as a firefighter, there are no second chances; if a mistake is made, it could mean someone’s life. It was truly an eye-opening message for the youth in front of him.
In truth, these men were incredible. From their efforts, it’s clear to recognize that they understand the importance of investing in our nation’s future. After speaking, they posed for pictures and answered individual questions. They were local celebrities for a glimpse of time. As an observer, it was a great moment to see students learning so much from role models and members of our very own community. It was truly what the teacher ordered.
Pictured are speakers, top left, Alan Damisse, Kevin Moore, Desalen Bourjolly, Kerwens Fils-Aime (slightly behind Desalen), and Kevin Parkes.
Bottom left: A’Treyanna Moore, Cristian Hernandez, Tyrelle Holyfield, and Beina Jerome