TV personality Dwight Drummond once had a dream he would be the next Michael Jordan.
Throughout his basketball years, he noticed his teammates, who were better than him, not making it to the NBA.
He realized he needed a backup plan.
Drummond shared this realization with youth at the Malvern Library last Thursday to help kick off Black History Month.
The story of his childhood in Toronto’s Jane and Finch neighbourhood and becoming a host on CBC News Toronto captured the attention of the students from Grades 7 to 12 at three Scarborough schools.
“The important message I think […] is just using education as a means to achieve your goals in life,” Drummond said.
Between his jokes, he talked about growing up with people who got in trouble with the law and later ended up in jail.
“I think that when you hear about the dropout rate, especially with, you know, young men that look like me, it’s very disconcerting,” Drummond said.
He spoke of the need to do whatever it takes to motivate students and explain to them how important education is and the disadvantage of dropping out.
“It is tougher,” he said. “It doesn’t mean you’re not going to make it, but it is much harder.”
When Drummond was young, his desire to be a professional basketball player meant he felt no need to worry about his marks, he said.
But he did have a Plan B.
Adele Lamphier, a youth services specialist at the Malvern Library, said she thought the most important message students would take away from the speech is to remember to be themselves.
Drummond ended the speech on a motivating note, echoing Lamphier’s thoughts.
“Education is there, it’s available,” he said. “Let’s take advantage of it because you can use it to succeed.”