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Viola Davis Encourages Students At Struggling Alma Mater

As cliché as it may sound, education is the gateway to a lifetime of opportunity.  It’s important that we keep this belief in the hearts of their children, so they may pass it on.  At least I think so.  And it seems that I’m not alone.  Oscar nominee Viola Davis addressed the senior class of her high school alma matter Central Falls High School earlier today, according to the NPR.

Central Falls, Rhode Island has been in the news these past few years after the city filed for bankruptcy and the high school’s mass firing of teachers in 2010 (they later rehired the teachers).  It’s good to see someone give back to the community that they came from, and continue to support it!  Viola shared a story to inspire the students, recalling a time when she challenged a classmate, who called her the “N-word”, to a race: 

Davis recounted a time in third grade when a classmate kept calling her “the N-word,” prompting her to try to best him in some way. He was known as the fastest boy in Central Falls, so she challenged him to a race.

She worried as recess approached — her shoes were a size and a half too small and her socks had holes — and she wondered how she’d be able to run fast.

“I did what any self-respecting girl would have done: I took my shoes off,” she said.

The race was a tie. But she said Thursday she was telling the story as a kind of lesson to students.

“You gotta be in the race, no matter what,” she said. “Win or lose.

Great lesson!!

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