Scholars learn resilience, determination from world class athlete

IMG_2053Endurance is not just a key component in sports but  also in life. Uplift Hampton middle school scholars took part in their first Fit 4 Life Youth Camp part of the EE & E youth organization (empower, educate and enlighten).

“We want to give (scholars) an opportunity to see it doesn’t matter how difficult, how hard it is you can overcome anything that’s presented before you just like in fitness or in sports,” said Andrea Anderson-Parks,  Uplift Hampton Middle School Director.

Randall Harris, international competitor in powerlifting, stands 5′ 11″ and deadlifts 843 pounds.  It is anything but easy for the average person. The Olympian encouraged scholars to be persistent in their goals and dreams.  Harris set his sights on being the strongest drug-free athlete, but he had to overcome physical and mental challenges.

On the path to gold medalist, Harris’ faced one of his toughest opponents a 6 foot tall, larger man attempting to deadlift over 800 lbs in what would determine the competitions winner. Despite a larger physique the opponent was unable to complete the rep leaving Harris to attempt the same weight. Instead of settling for the amount his opponent was unable to lift he decided to increase the weight to 835 lbs.

“In the back of my head I kept hearing ‘I can do it’,” said Harris, “You have to train yourself all the time your mind and your body all the time.”

Harris became the champion. It is not just about performing the best but challenging yourself, he said.

“Hard-work, determination will get you where you want to be and whenever you’re doing something think, ‘it’s championship time,'” Harris said. “Your championship time is in the classroom.”

Harris holds the national and world champion title in powerlifting. The gold medalist has not only succeed in fitness but in the classroom, he obtained his degree in economics from the University of North Texas.


Harris illustrated to scholars the weight of negativity. Two scholars held on to each side of a metal bar and Harris lifted it.

“In order to hold on to your dreams you got to hold on tight and hang around those that are going to lift you up,” said Harris.

Uplift Hampton scholar, Miracle Glenn, participated in the relay race. The 8th grader found the event to be fun and inspiring.

“It allows you to see from an older persons perspective to see what they had to go through and what you may have to face,” said Glenn.

Kyle Kelly, fitness instructor with EE & E, grew up without many positive influences but he had a goal in mind-to better himself. Kelly did not let his surroundings determine his future, he became a Dallas police officer and track and field coach.

“No matter your circumstances you have to be ambitious,” said Kelly.

The officer told scholars he takes part in this events because he wants to motivate and encourage students to dream, set a goal and go after it.

Glenn has her goal set on becoming a veterinarian and is focused on achieving her goal.

“College is currently what is most important and it should be important to every child’s life,” said Glenn.

The event is just one part of EE &E, Anderson-Parks hopes to continue the program with their empowerment section with an after-school mentorship.

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