“How many of you in here aspire to be rappers or musicians?” asked Holloway in his opening remarks. “If you can recite a rap lyric, you can study. How about ballplayers? If you can remember the stats of the pros, you can tackle math.”
Holloway spoke at length about choices and delved into seven aspects of making them: guilt, excuses, fear, blame, stress, chaos and defeat.
“It all comes down to choices. Do you want to see me or the judge or do you want to be the judge, the doctor or the lawyer?” said Holloway, himself raised by a single mother.
“I’m looking at a lot of leaders in this room,” Holloway said. “You’re here because you made that choice and you want to make a difference in the world.”
The daylong Keys to Manhood conference included breakout sessions aimed at motivating and supporting male students, who are more likely to drop out of high school and less likely to attend or graduate from college than their female peers (Bureau of Labor Statistics, 2014).
Topics at the conference included:
- Overcoming Legal Obstacles
- Workforce Degrees
- The Endangered Male
- How to Get an “A” in Class
- Money Management
- Social Media (How to Get a Job Using Social Media)
- Second Time Around (non-traditional students)
“This is a great event to hold for young men,” said SPC student Kezra Johnson. “It gives us all these great lessons and morals they can take with them. They may not know where to find certain resources. Here, they don’t have to feel embarrassed about asking for resources or help.”
Past keynote speakers at the event have included Jimmie Lee Solomon, former executive vice president of Major League Baseball, and Florida House Rep. Darryl Rouson.
In his closing comments, Holloway encouraged audience members to always keep others in mind.
“When you succeed, you have to reach back, grab someone and put them on your shoulders so they can pass you,” he said. “If you’re not doing that, you’ll see them on your way down.”