Duke University women’s basketball coach Joanne P. McCallie may have picked up a few hundred new fans Monday night in her first visit to Greenville. Not the young students she addressed during the Coaches 4 Character program at Redemption.
But their parents.
They may appreciate the assist McCallie dished as she encouraged students to make their beds and brush their teeth. McCallie reinforced those simple chores to illustrate the importance of simple choices.
“When you do things that have structure and you have a standard about what your room looks like, you just might have a standard about how you study or how you do in school,” McCallie said. “Life doesn’t just happen to you. You choose.”
McCallie urged students to remain intentional in their pursuit of success, to live their lives by choice and not by chance.
According to Dr. Tiffany Estes, principal at Greenville Early College, her students Kiersten Orr and Ethan Mata already have embodied McCallie’s message. That is why even as sixth graders they were selected to represent Greenville Early College as recipients of The Greenville News Character Award.
“They are real role models,” Estes said of Orr and Mata. “They have both flourished and have exemplified character for other students. They show up every day and put forth their extreme best efforts. They want an education and want so much more.”
McCallie advocated for that drive. She advised students to protecting their power by exploring and developing their thoughts. She frankly discussed the loneliness of leadership. She candidly asserted that the correct choice will not always be the most popular one.
But it always will be the most beneficial.
“You all can choose to become a champion in life,” McCalllie said. “I don’t care where we come from. I don’t care what we look like. None of that matters, because nobody can get inside your head. Nobody but you.
“You’ve got power inside you. Keep it. Don’t give it away for things that don’t matter.”