Surprise guest speaker inspires Belmont staff

A special guest speaker offered words of inspiration to Belmont Elementary School staff during a surprise Zoom visit on Wednesday. He also turned the name of the school mascot, the Cougars, into an inspiring acronym.

“Are you ready? Let’s do it,” said Keith L. Brown. “COVID. Only. Unifies. Genuine. Advocates. Reaching. Scholars.”

It was one of many moments that elicited cheers and oftentimes laughter from Belmont staff gathered in the school library. Brown travels the nation and world speaking to groups and organizations. His Belmont visit was made possible by LPS Youth Development Team Coordinator Pete Ferguson, who met Brown at a conference nearly a decade ago.

The two have stayed in touch and Brown has become an honorary Belmont Cougar in the process. He has spoken multiple times to students in the school's TRACKS Scholar Empowerment program, which offers students an opportunity every spring to develop their leadership skills. Brown even sported a “Belmont TRACKS” t-shirt when he addressed staff on Wednesday.

He told them students may not remember all the math, science or language arts they learn in elementary school, but they will never forget the impact their teachers had on their lives.

“Don’t you discount the impact that you have. Don’t you discount that for one second, not only the impact you have on them but the entire community,” said Brown, who rattled off the names of teachers who helped mold him at a young age.

He also spoke about the role teachers can play in fostering racial equity.

“You have to embrace your power to be inclusive. You have to embrace your power to have courageous conversations,” Brown said.

Published: August 7, 2020, Updated: August 7, 2020