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Homegrown leaders share message

The message was plain and simple.

“No matter what you want to do. No matter where you want to go, it all starts right here.”

The “home grown” speakers at the Pike County Elementary School Black History Program Friday all had the same message for the students, “It starts right here.”

Dr. Michael Vincent Bivins, a member of the robotic surgery team, Urology Centers of Alabama, Birmingham, was the featured speaker for the PCES Black History Program.

Bivins told the students that education has propelled him to heights he never imagined.

“I have walked these halls, and this is where my journey started and where yours starts,” he said.

“I have traveled around the world giving lectures about robotic surgery. I never dreamed of anything like that. And I want you to remember and repeat after me, ‘If you can do it, I can do it.’

And you can.”

Bivins is a graduate of Pike County High School, the University of Alabama and the University of Alabama Birmingham Medical School.

And, he was nourished along the way with a regular diet of Success Soup, which is made with four ingredients.

“You must set goals and strive to reach them,” Bivins said. “You must have good role models and they are not always found on ESPN or ‘in the League.’” You must get an education that will prepare you for what you want to do, and you must stay out of trouble. If you will do those things you will be successful in whatever you choose to do. Remember ….”

And the students responded in unison, “If you can do it, I can do it!”

Dr. Kenneth Bynum, PCES principal, introduced other role models who walked the halls of Pike County Elementary School and have found success in their chosen fields.

Pike County Commissioner Charlie Harris, Brundidge Police Chief Moses Davenport, Brundidge City Councilmember Cynthia Pearson and Entrepreneur Patricia Valentine challenged the students to be the best they can be.

“You have to believe in yourself, set goals for yourself and stay focused,” Harris said.

Davenport echoed Harris’ belief that success is within each individual.

He was the son of a sharecropper, who challenged him to do more than was expected of him.

“If you do more than what is expected of you, you will be successful,” Davenport said.

Pearson stressed the importance for education as the foundation what whatever career choice someone makes.

“You can’t learn too much,” the community leader and entrepreneur told the students.

“Education is the key to success.”

Valentine said she never speaks to a group without talking about inspiration.

“Believe in God, and believe in yourself,” she said.

“You can’t be anybody else. So be comfortable in your own skin, and be your best and do your best.”

Donnella Carter, administrative assistant to Dr. Mark Bazzell, superintendent of Pike County Schools, challenged the students to take advantage of every educational opportunity because education is the foundation on which futures and success are built.