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Gainesville High students motivated in kickoff of summer leadership program
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More than 100 students took part in Sunday’s opening ceremony for this year’s edition of Generation Inspiration, a program that helps Gainesville High students with life skills, volunteer experience and opportunities to learn about the area’s history and economy.

Generation Inspiration

For more information about the program, contact coordinator Timothy Folsom at 770-530-2282.

Deshaun Watson’s extraordinary rise from Gainesville High School to first-round NFL pick of the Houston Texans became a motivational tool Sunday afternoon for 100-plus students at his former campus.

“You say … I’m not a great quarterback, I don’t have that talent,” Gainesville Police Deputy Chief Jay Parrish said. “What I promise you is that you have a million-dollar talent. You’ve got to decide what it is.

“Whatever you want to be, you can be, if you set your mind to it — if you make it a goal.”

Parrish spoke during the opening ceremony for this year’s edition of Generation Inspiration, a program that helps Gainesville High students with life skills, volunteer experience and opportunities to learn about the area’s history and economy.

“Students participate in programs that allow them to take an active part in defining and achieving personal goals,” according to the website for The Educational Foundation and Museum of Beulah Rucker Inc., which sponsors the program.

“As you set goals, don’t let failure be a fear,” said Parrish, who talked about his own rise in police administration. “Failure is not the opposite of success. Failure is part of success.”

Students take part in programs each Saturday, starting June 3, including a personal finance class and leadership training.

One highlight this year is a diplomacy program simulating a refugee crisis, said Ashley Bell, a GHS alumnus who has risen through government and politics to become a special assistant to U.S. Secretary of State Rex Tillerson.

“You’ll be split into groups and educated on the roles in each situation, and you’ll be given a simulated program on how to end the crisis,” said Bell.

“What I hope you get out of this is an understanding that the world and these programs are difficult. There’s never really a right answer, but … you’ll get to understand how to advocate a position, a chance to fight for your argument and how the world works together to solve problems.”

Bell, who founded Generation Inspiration 12 years ago, said the experience might motivate some students to serve the country in some way.

Students also will be able to compete for scholarships.

“When you can convince your peers that you know what has to happen next for you to get to where you want to go, and this is a request for resources to do it, then we’ll help you do it,” Bell said. “We’ll help you get there.”

Ninth-grader Seth Cox, 15, said he hoped the program would move him toward his career goals, possibly studying architecture at Clemson University in South Carolina.

“It’s a good opportunity for him to better himself and to be able to connect with people in the community,” said his mother, Allison Cox.

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