Jan

26

Humorous musician brings serious message to Kemp ISD students

Posted by : Monitor Admin | On : January 26, 2014

Monitor Photo/Pearl Cantrell In the sixth grade, Reggie began playing the saxophone and hated it. But his adoptive parents insisted he stay with it. In his freshman year in college, he actually began to enjoy the instrument. Today he is an accomplished saxophonist.

Monitor Photo/Pearl Cantrell
In the sixth grade, Reggie began playing the saxophone and hated it. But his adoptive parents insisted he stay with it. In his freshman year in college, he actually began to enjoy the instrument. Today he is an accomplished saxophonist.
More photos from this event can be found in the Sunday, January 26, 2014 issue of The Monitor.

By Pearl Cantrell
Monitor Staff Writer

KEMP-Students in Kemp Intermediate School and upward got a real treat this week, welcoming back inspirational speaker Reggie Dabbs for a series of assemblies on bullying and what to do about it. Reggie’s disarming humor, musicianship and personal DJ drive home a message of personal responsibility for making school a friendly, safe place.
Beginning in 1987, Reggie has become a popular public school speaker. He speaks to over two million students each year through school assemblies and other events.
The Monitor caught up with him at the Kemp Junior High School Thursday.
After help from the student body in identifying the school’s best athlete, smartest kid, funniest classmate and kindest, most caring student, along with the students’ favorite teacher, he conducted a game Family Feud style, complete with theme music for each contestant and buzzer sounds for correct and incorrect answers to true or false questions.
The first was: The best way to deal with a bully is to fight. Student athlete Jaise Bowie answered correctly, false.
The next question: If you are bullied or teased and you tell someone about it, you are a snitch or a tattletale. Smartest contestant Hayden Bradshaw answered correctly, false.
Funniest contestant Ethan Felix answered the next question: If you are bullied or teased, eventually you’ll get over it. The answer is again, false. “You can ruin someone’s life,” Reggie said.
The kindest contestant, Criztal Fonseca, got a bye, because of course, she would know how to respond correctly.
Favorite teacher Londie Lemons got the final question — the answer to which no one had ever gotten correct in 2014, Reggie said. The question is: Bullies have a high self-esteem, true or false?
Each contestant had the benefit of polling the audience on their answers before responding. In this case, most the teachers in the audience answered false to this question, as did Lemons. However, Reggie said, “Surprisingly, most bullies have a high self-esteem. What they don’t have is empathy, the ability to identify with someone other than themselves. They don’t care about nobody. But they can grow. They can change.”
Reggie stressed that each person has a choice to make on how they act and speak. He began the assembly interactively, directing students to say: “I can. You can. We can.” And finally, “I got your back,” which means “you don’t stand alone.”
He told how his early school years he was constantly called “Fat Albert” the popular cartoon creation of comedian Bill Cosby. One day he counted the number of times in a day and totaled 281. This so upset him that his adoptive dad told him that the other students were jealous because he had his own cartoon character and they didn’t.
However, the 10-year-old foster kid Reggie had assigned a destructive self-talk to every “Hey, hey, hey Fat Albert,” he heard. And no one knew it, but himself. He said, what he heard was “You don’t have a father. You don’t have a mother. You don’t belong,” and it was this that tore him up inside. “You just never know, how your innocent teasing will translate to the kid being teased,” he said.
He then spoke about the names or titles we could be giving one another, such as: champion, legend, treasure or sunshine, just to name a few.
“We have the power to lift one another up, or to tear one another down,” he said. “Let’s use our power for good. You don’t know what home life someone is coming from. School should be a warm accepting, safe place to go to. Together, we can make it that way.”
Reggie talks to the kids in a humorous style about choices each of them has when faced with drugs, alcohol, suicide, and bullying. Reggie gets in kids’ faces and tells them that he never smoked a cigarette, never did drugs, and never drank alcohol, because he chose not to. He assures them that they can make the same kinds of choices. Most of all, Reggie drives home the fact that “You can never change your past, but you can change your future!”

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