Ralston Marshall, in his first visit to Kilgore, encouraged Kilgore High School students to think about their own version of success and their goals and ambitions when planning for their future.
Marshall, an assistant warden in the Texas Department of Criminal Justice, is assigned to the Skyview-Hodge complex in Rusk and asks his colleagues about their goals and ambitions.
“Ask yourself what’s your version of success. Everybody in the room, more than likely, defines success a lot differently. Based on that definition, we have to develop a plan to figure out how do you become successful,” he said. “How do we become successful in life, at home, at school, in our families. How are we successful? What is your definition of success?”
People do not plan to fail, but they do fail to plan.
“Don’t forget to make plans,” he said. “Start now, don’t wait.”
Each person’s plans will be different because they are based on their own versions of success.
Before becoming successful, though, people must believe they can achieve success, continue their education and not be afraid to challenge the status quo. While doing all this, he said, it is important to remember the people who paved the way for them to follow their plans to success.
This year’s Kilgore High School Black History Month program was theme was “Cultural Preservation through Education, Maturation and Deliberation.”
One of the best ways to honor those who have come before is to continue learning, Marshall said, reminding the students it does not end at graduation.
“As you mature, take advantage of every opportunity to learn, to grow and to share information… I have a quote from Maya Angelou. It says, ‘To teach is to learn twice.’ … What better way to pay it forward and really glean from our past – everybody’s past – than to learn from our mistakes, do better every single day and then to pay it forward.”
It is up to each person to create their own success. Although he sees law enforcement more frequently at schools due to the current state of society, he said, he also sees more students engaged in educational and cultural programs and presentations.
“I can’t help but to think where do we go from here… Where does it start? Who carries it forward? The answer is you,” Marshall said.
The students to whom Marshall addressed in his speech put on the annual Black History Month program, presenting poems, readings and dances.
KHS’ Voices of Soul performed multiple selections, and multiple students recited poems from notable poets, including Maya Angelou. Davondrick Crowe and Sha Tennison also performed with a praise mime from Crowe and a praise dance from Tennison.