Nationally renowned speaker inspires Butler County youths

Published 7:47 am Monday, February 12, 2024

On Feb. 6, Greenville High School (GHS) welcomed nationally renowned motivational speaker Willie Spears to inspire and encourage students. With humor, wisdom, and a message of empowerment, Spears addressed over 160 high school seniors and nearly 200 eighth graders from the area’s middle schools.

“Today, we talked to eighth graders that are going into high school soon and 12th graders that are about to go into the real world,” Spears shared.

At 8:30 am, high school seniors gathered in the GHS auditorium, where Spears motivated them to envision their future paths.

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“We talked to the 12th graders about having a plan for their life after high school,” Spears said. “What’s the plan? What’s the next step? Is it the military or college or the workforce? Unfortunately, many of them don’t have a plan.”

Two hours later, Spears addressed eighth graders, discussing topics such as conflict resolution, school attendance, accountability, and the value of a high school diploma.

“For the 8th graders, we reminded them to take advantage of strategies to help them with conflict management. If you get in a disagreement with someone or a fight, what are better ways that we can handle that?,” Spears said. “We also discussed ways to finish the semester strong.”

Spears, a native of Panama City, Florida, brings a wealth of experience to his presentations. With 20 years of experience as an administrator and teacher in Florida, Alabama, and Georgia, he is also the author of 16 books. His insights from education have inspired educators and helped transform schools and communities.

Greenville Middle School principal Bryant Marlow expressed appreciation for the event’s impact on his students’ future.

“We greatly appreciate the opportunity to be here today,” Marlow said. “Willie Spears is a powerful speaker, and our students need someone they can relate to, to hear stories that hopefully resonate with them and help them become better in school so that they can better provide for themselves in the future.”

Spears commended the students of Butler County for their attentiveness and behavior during his visit. 

“It means a lot to me that Ms. McLain and the CTE (Career and Technical Education) decided to bring me in,” Spears said. “Right now, I’m going all around the country, but this has been one of the best-behaved and most attentive groups that I’ve seen in a long time.”