As part of a weekly series of “Wisdom Wednesday” sessions at the Barrow County School System (BCSS) Horizon Program, guest speakers share motivational stories with students. Horizon Program Administrator Dr. Eli Welch says the sessions are meant to educate, encourage, and inspire students to stay on a positive path.
A recent guest speaker, Ray Hewlett, was a former student of the Horizon Program when it was the Barrow County Alternative Education Program (BCAEP). BCSS Director of Innovation Lee Bane taught Ray math there and says Ray immediately jumped at the chance to give back to the young people in his hometown community. Ray says, “I try to be what I never had, especially when it comes to the kids, because they're making a lot of the same mistakes I did. I try to come back and say what I needed to hear when I was their age.”
Ray overcame the odds and through dedicated training and discipline was crowned the Southeastern US MMA Flyweight (125 lbs) Champion.
Mr. Bane says, “I am so grateful to see how Ray has persevered and continues to fight the good fight. The humility and candid honesty that Ray exhibited while he shared his personal story and hard-learned life lessons with the students was very impressive. To hear him afterwards express the hope that his message might potentially nudge just one kid in the right direction really speaks volumes about how much of a champion he has truly become. Days like this are why you answer the call to be a teacher.”
When asked about his time at BCAEP, Ray says, “Thank you from the bottom of my heart – even to the teachers who were hard on me. The Alternative Education Program definitely had a large impact on my life, and it changed my life for the better. When it was time to leave, I didn't want to leave.”