Thursday, May 13, 2010

Commentary: Horn's visit short-lived, but long-remembered

Joe Horn's visit to Weston Ninth-Grade Academy last Friday lasted about an hour.
Horn — the face of the New Orleans Saints before Drew Brees soared to stardom after bringing the Lombardi Trophy to the still hurricane-ravaged city — spoke about various topics ranging from gang violence to Michael Vick.
Although the fact-filled message lasted only about an hour, the underlying essence of the discussion will be sketched in the mind of ninth graders for years to come.
The NFL icon didn't come to the school with the usual scripted and unthoughtful, "Do good in school, don't do drugs, and obey your parents" message.
As he stated, he kept it "real."
Wearing a white t-shirt, shorts and purple-outlined shoes reminisct of his favorite NBA team – the Los Angeles Lakers — Horn attempted to get to the root of each student's issue.
"If there's a gang member bothering you, having family problems or you just want to talk, I'm here," he told the crowd of intrigued students.
Proudly, several of them rose up and told their stories, some thanked him for taking time to visit while others waited until he finished to bombard him with autographs requests.
And like the honorable man is his, he didn't leave the building until everybody was satisfied — students, teachers and security guards.
Horn's visit proves that the message that youngsters so desperately need doesn't always have to come from an uptight, Armani suit-wearing guy reading from a powerpoint; it can come from someone who's actually been there and done that.
Never have I seen a speaker capture the attention of 14-year-olds the way Horn did. Instead of doodling on their notebooks, reading a text message or glazing at the wall, each and every student was glued to Horn's every word. And they seemed to soak it all in.
And so did I.

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