By Alison James
Students at West Forest Intermediate School had the rare opportunity last week to hear from and interact with two successful, inspirational role models during a special assembly.
Tommie Agee, former Auburn University and National Football League player and current assistant director with the Opelika Parks and Recreation Department, spoke with the students of West Forest, encouraging them to study hard and testing them with a few trivia questions on African-Americans who stand out in American history. He admonished the students on the importance of studying those historical characters.
“All those black historians, they had one thing in common: they didn’t let the negative influences of the world deter them from being a positive influence on the world,” Agee said. “Take that little lesson and let it guide you through life. Always remember: treat people the way you want to be treated … You all are the key to our future.”
Another special speaker was Larry Thornton. Born and raised in Montgomery, Thornton is a former advertising manager and current board member for Coca-Cola Bottling Company United and McDonald’s franchisee, as well as an artist.
“The entire message we want to get out of today is one thing: all people count,” Thornton told the cafeteria full of children. “Everybody is important.”
Through illustrations and humor, Thornton encouraged the West Forest students to work well with others, treat other people fairly and to use their talents to succeed in life.
“You have talents, you have abilities, you have a mind and you have time,” Thornton said. “If you invest those well, there’s no limit to what you can do in life.”
Thornton, a well-known and accomplished artist, presented one of his pieces to West Forest Intermediate School Principal Dr. Pam Fourtenbary to close out his visit.