published: Wednesday, March 27, 2013
Cosby inspires students with laughter, motivation
By SAMANTHA GHOLAR
AVON PARK -- Students of all ages got a chance of a lifetime Monday afternoon when iconic comedian, writer, actor and education advocate Bill Cosby spoke to the group at South Florida State College.
Three students -- Maria Brenes, Gayla Barrett and Cody Kendrick -- told the audience their thoughts on the importance of education before Cosby took the stage prior to his show Monday night in front of a packed crowd.
Avon Park High School senior and dual enrollment student Barrett had much to say regarding education and her life.
"Education is the key. Not having a good education is like driving a car with no wheels, you aren't going anywhere. I haven't, we haven't made it to the end, this is just the beginning," Brenes said.
Kendrick echoed Brenes' speech.
"Education really is your key to success," said Kendrick, vice president of SFSC's Student Government Association. "I almost dropped out of high school, but I stayed and that decision opened up a lot of doors."
The laughs filled the University Center auditorium as the tales of Cosby's life unfolded before the eager students. Cosby began telling the story of when he finally decided to get his life together after several years of goofing off.
"I was 19 when I finally woke up ... and in the 11th grade. When I saw all the little brothers and sisters of my friends I use to hang out with walking up and down the hallway that was it and I quit," Cosby said. "It is your responsibility. You are born with a certain amount of intelligence that has to be exercised. You can keep having your quote, unquote fun, but sooner or later something is going to force you to compromise."
Cosby stated that following his turning point in school he joined the Navy and entered Temple University at the age of 23. Cosby had plans to become a school teacher, saying that he wanted to break boys of their bad habits and negative ways.
"I wanted to be a school teacher, so bad. I wanted to tell these boys that they had a brain," Cosby said.
After spending no time in high school studying accepting D's and asking to be passed along, Cosby got his first dose of reality and a "high" when he entered into a classroom prepared and armed with the knowledge to ace a big exam.
"That feeling of knowing you know your stuff, that feeling you get when you sit down to take a test and you know it, I'll put that feeling up against any marijuana you've ever smoked and anything you've ever drank," Cosby said, the auditorium erupting in laughter.
Cosby said life had taught him a number of things, things he wishes to pass on to this generation and the ones that follow. Cosby answered an array of questions regarding education, time management skills, personal setbacks and past hurdles.
A touching moment emerged when Cosby spoke to 49-year-old LouGinger Moses, a woman who has struggled to overcome a 15-year-long drug addiction and is currently going after her GED.
"Don't play the game of the years," Cosby said. "If you are 50 years old crossing that stage to get your diploma, then so what? You're going to be 50 anyway. It'll be an old person graduation, everyone walking across the stage like this, all slow, with their diplomas in their hands. It doesn't matter who you were, it matters who you are. This is your life, celebrate what you are given and work it."
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