I was impressed with how behaved the 330 8th graders were during the hour and a half long ceremony. Still, by the time their principal at Shadowlawn Middle School started his, ” I don’t give speeches” speech I just knew the kids eyes were glazing over with dreams of days spent lounging, eating ice cream and going to the baseball field on summer nights, at least that’s what I thought of at that exact moment in my life.
I, on the other hand, was in the high of my day. At 8:30 a.m. I’ve already anchored two and a half hours of news, applied several layers of make-up and caffeinated myself to the point of perfect concentration mixed with a beautiful amount of joie de vivre that together made me the ideal student for the principal’s graduation pep talk.
It was really great. I hope some of the students heard it. Nothing too heavy, but enough to make this 29 year old seize the day with a little more enthusiasm when I walked out and returned to work.
He told them :
1) To aim high.
“In the long run men only hit what they aim at. Therefore, though they should fail immediately, they had better aim at something high.”
2) To truly realize MLK’s dream. He asked the students to imagine our society is just as they would have it; not judged on gender, wealth, family position, GPA, race or hometown. Instead one would be judged on character alone; would you be happy with the result?
3) Repaying the debt known as the privilege of being alive.
This is probably one of the strongest factors behind my ambition – be it career or personal life. I feel that debt I owe. Mine can be heavy at times – from feeling a sense of guilt when I nap on a crisp sunny day, feeling I could do better at work or choosing comfort over adventure. Why was I lucky enough to be born?
Life is so short. I hope those students find something that fascinates them and continue wanting more.
I don’t even remember my high school graduation speech, but I wish it had been something practical like this. Be happy, be good and appreciate the gift of life.
I was there to see my Big Brother Big Sister, little sis graduate. After this summer Kiara is heading into high school. I’m nervous and she’s not even my flesh and blood. Those years are hard. The decisions we make stay with us for long after. The things we see and witness manifest later in life as dreams or at times as resentments. I know this, she has a very special mother and a big happy (full of braces) smile. Those are two very important things. I’m eager to watch her grow up the next four years. Go Kiara!
I’ve never watched American Idol
America’s Got Talent….skills…..dance moves – YOU NAME IT.
I just never get into it.
Weeks ago my boss asked if I would handle our Action News 5 VOICE coverage.
Sounded simple, but boy, this has been an adventure. If you haven’t watched it, it’s a hit NBC show that this season features two Memphians. We started with 4 Memphians on the show, but Grace Askew and Patrick Dodd went home during the earlier rounds.
These are our amazing 2 remaining :
- Kris Thomas
A 28 year old who grew up singing in his dad’s Memphis church. He later attended The Stax Music Academy, was actually one of the first graduating classes from the academy. He has a crazy diverse range. If you heard him sing without looking, you might think he was a female. Wildly impressive.
He has a huge smile. When I met him in LA (the station sent me there two weeks ago to cover all the action LIVE outside the studio) I was so impressed with his genuine kindness and fun spirit.
- Sarah Simmons
She may have grown up in Birmingham, but she PICKED Memphis as her school home; she’s been here four years. She attends the Visible Music College downtown Memphis. Her friends there just love her and I do, too. When I first heard her version of “One of Us” I was stunned into silence. Just wonderful.
Tonight both of these singers will take to the stage again to ask Americans to vote them into the top eight. Voting starts at 8:55 central, that’s when the two hour show is over. The results will be announced tomorrow at 8pm. I’m so impressed that Memphis has two contestants in the top 10 – can you imagine if they both make it into the top 8. Fingers crossed…….
It’s funny how into this show/story I’ve gotten. I guess that happens when you cover something for over a month, interview their family, church members, school mates, neighbors EVERYONE! If they had pets I could find, I’d try to include them in the stories.
Anyhow, if you haven’t watched give it a try. Cheer on our Kris and Sarah. They really are special talents thrown into such an insane situation. Win or lose they have huge futures ahead of them.
I never wrote about the LA trip.
It was so thrilling and exhausting that I came home and slept for like 36 straight hours. I finally came back into the world with my cat, Bridget, staring at me. I think I was within hours of being eaten. (we’ve all heard the stories)
We were live in LA out of an NBC live truck.
WATCH VOICE COVERAGE
On the red carpet after Kris & Sarah moved on
I worked with some very talented news folks from producers, talent to photographers. I learned a lot and had the time of my life. I went with Action News 5 photographer Matt Youmans who had never been out there. I had been to LA, but didn’t do any of the studio tours or even drive through Universal City, which is where the show is shot. Driving into Universal Studios every day was surreal. Movies and television shows were being filmed there. Golf carts zoomed in every direction, but it seems all the big names were driven around in dark mysterious suv’s. I’ve never been into the famous types or celebrities, so I considered the whole process hilarious and entertaining. It’s like watching how the other half lives.
Plus, I forgot how beautiful Los Angeles is – when can I go back? Well, maybe soon if Kris and/or Sarah keep wowing Americans!!! Can’t wait to see Kris and Sarah and all that amazing bougainvillea. Loved my room and the view.
Like most time honored traditions, you have to see BBQ Fest to really get it.
I was expecting something a lot different when I walked up to Tom Lee Park. You know, I’ve been to a lot of small town BBQ competitions.
He he he, Yea right!!!
While the focus is on the pork, the highlight Thursday night was the party. My friend Bevin Evans, who grew up here, said I just had to come after two years living here and always working during the BBQ Fest time.
Bikini clad bartenders
Tight briefs for the men
Multi-level scaffolding for tents
Crazy loud dance music
Over the top decorations
All along the MS river
Definitely a must see to believe.
Reminds me a lot of the Neshoba County Fair in Philadelphia, MS in terms of the serious good time, amazing decorations- full of color and good ole southern porch culture where you could waste away hours, some lose track of days!
I only had a couple of hours as 2:30 am always comes early, but I’m so glad I napped all day, so I could see the party in full Thursday night revelry.
I’m told from this point on the cooking gets serious. If they cook like they party I want to see it. The ribs I had were already insane. I’m heading out of town this weekend, so had to squeeze it in when I could!
Below with my Memphis buds Bevin & Ellie
- The pavement reference is in the title just because that’s really what I say in my head instead of wow.
This is my first spring to anchor mornings. I already knew this schedule is good for me, but this was one of the moments that I realized how lucky I am to get off at one pm.
Picked up my lil sis, Kiara and we grabbed some Mexican. We’ve found this place between my house and hers that has a porch (and gives complimentary cheese with the salsa) and just sat around with no place to be and nothing to do. It was warm but not too hot. We were in the shade. Our server didn’t feel like making lots of trips inside for refills, so he gave us giant frosty mugs full of diet coke for me – doctor pepper for her.
Since we didn’t see each other for Cinco De Mayo we had an impromptu Mexican influenced meal followed by something cold from my new favorite spot.
La Michoacana on Summer
I can never get just one. Why would I want to?
The popsicles are so good. Real fruit. Not too sweet. Not bad for me. Kiara wasn’t convinced. She stuck with cookies and creme ice cream. Maybe one day!
My favorite moment was sitting with Kiara on my porch. I love sitting there. Normally I’m alone, but having Kiara with me was nice. There was a breeze and the perfect amount of shade from the lime green trees over my house. We agreed hanging on a work/school night is fun. Feels like a stolen moment.