DeSoto ISD Male Leadership Symposium guides young men into adulthood with courage

DeSoto ISD Male Leadership Symposium guides young men into adulthood with courage
Posted on 05/03/2017
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Keynote speaker Omari Hardwick, TV and film actor currently in the series POWER, did not disappoint with a 40-minute address to the young men of DeSoto and the Best Southwest area. He encouraged them to rise above but remember their past, channel their anger into positives, and surround themselves with others who are doing the same.

The DeSoto ISD Male Leadership Symposium – with 1,000 young men in grades 6-12 signed up – was held on April 22 at DeSoto High School spilling into three cafeterias, 40 classrooms, and the Dyer Gym.

Guest speakers included Hardwick, CNN Analyst Bakari Sellers, an amazing athletic panel led by DeSoto Alum and former NFL player Zachary Orr, Dallas ISD trustee Jaime Resendez and realtor Tim Jackson. Special guests included Frankie Wilson, who emceed several sessions, and violinist Richmond Punch and rapper Trey Haggerty who each performed for the students.

But the real magic happened in the three breakout workshops when students had small group discussions with industry leaders in career fields that interested them including arts, STEM, business and law/public service. Students learned how each workshop presenter overcame obstacles to become a courageous leader!

Middle school students attended one special session workshop led by DHS juniors and seniors preparing them to be DHS Eagles. The upperclassmen shared personal stories and answered questions about high school life while instilling in them expectations for when they enter DHS.

The hallways were alive during the transition with hundreds of students and special guests – many shared their experience with local radio stations and the DeSoto ISD social media station – explaining how the event impacted them and why they chose to participate.

To close the event, founder and Board Vice President Aubrey C. Hooper read the poem Invictus by William Ernest Henley, with the message of displaying fortitude in the face of adversity:


Out of the night that covers me, 
      Black as the pit from pole to pole, 
I thank whatever gods may be 
      For my unconquerable soul. 

In the fell clutch of circumstance 
      I have not winced nor cried aloud. 
Under the bludgeonings of chance 
      My head is bloody, but unbowed.  

Beyond this place of wrath and tears 
      Looms but the Horror of the shade, 
And yet the menace of the years 
      Finds and shall find me unafraid. 

It matters not how strait the gate, 
      How charged with punishments the scroll, 
I am the master of my fate, 
      I am the captain of my soul. 

Speaker List:

Keynote Speaker - Omari Hardwick
TV and film actor currently in the series POWER

Guest Speaker – Bakari Sellers
Attorney and CNN Analyst

Guest Speaker – Hon. Jaime Resendez, Esq.
US Army combat veteran, attorney, and Dallas ISD Board Trustee

Guest Speaker – Tim Jackson
Realtor, founder of Real Youth Mentoring, and author of Real Dope

Athletic Panel
         Zachary Orr – DeSoto alum, former LB with Baltimore Ravens
         Charles L. Wells, IV Ph.D. – X Factor Sports Management, Sports Agent
Jean-Jacques Taylor – ESPN Dallas Sports Writer
Antonio Rozier, M.D. – Doctor, Sports Medicine
Corey Borner – DeSoto alum paralyzed, graduates college May 2017

Master of Ceremonies – Mr. Frankie C. Wilson, Jr.
An award-winning radio personality, host of the syndicated show Inside Gospel and founder of The Giving Project

Musical Performances
Violinist Richmond Punch
Rapper Trey Haggerty