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August 6th, 2010
12:50 PM ET

Mission Possible: "Honored and Humbled"

It's not easy out there. Joblessness. Sickness. Poverty. War. You name it. You turn on the TV and you see it – especially when you turn on the news. It's hard to avoid it. No matter what city or what country you live in. So our small team here on the Ali Velshi Show wanted to take a little piece of our television real estate and devote it to people you may otherwise never meet who in small ways are doing great things. People who are doing things that you could do in your community to affect change. Things we believe are scalable. We call it Mission Possible.  I'm going to try to write a little about these people each day. Today, we met Deonte Bridges. He is the first black, male valedictorian at Booker T Washington High School in Atlanta, Georgia in 10 years. Deonte caught our attention because his small speech caught some big attention and now is a You Tube sensation. (You can see it for yourself below). Deonte's mother is dying of leukemia. Deonte's brother died. He's survived an armed robbery. He lives in a tough neighborhood during tough times.

Deonte didn't tell people his story though because he didn't want people to feel sorry for him. He graduated with a 3.9 GPA and is now the recipient of scholarships totaling over one million dollars. That's all I really need to write here though because Deonte tells his story best, right here in his own words:

Deonte Bridges\' Speech

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soundoff (4 Responses)
  1. dm


    August 6, 2010 at 1:06 pm |
  2. Dinah Washington

    What a great story of Triumph! We here in Atlanta are so proud of
    Mr. Deonte Bridges. It feels good to see a young black men
    doing great things with his life. Thank you CNN for doing this
    story on Deonte. He is an inspiration for so many people.

    August 6, 2010 at 2:09 pm |
  3. Alonn

    Props goes out to this young man. His school is all black and of course it was possible for them to have a black male valedictorian. And if you took inventory of the students at his school along with the curriculum and demand of the classes, his high grade point average was easy knowing that he was reared a good student amongst the other students who did not give a darn about studying. His mother is not dying that we know of. And the neighborhoods he has lived in are no different than any other black neighborhoods that kids are growing up in. As a matter of fact, his neighbors have been a little more upstanding.

    Please start to report facts. As a mother with four sons who went to the school, it is somewhat discomforting that some facts are not 100 percent correct.

    From knowing this family, this child has been raised by both his father and mother. Something all kids are not privy too. He has had the support of his family and teachers. Something all kids do not have.

    I hope this young man remember his beginnings and do not get caught up. He is truly blessed.

    August 6, 2010 at 6:38 pm |
  4. James Barnes

    You are the dream; You are the hope; You are the inspiration; You are the future. I'm so proud of you Deonte Bridges. Your speech was soothing but powerful. I listened to those words carefully, and they reminded me of there are descent young black men trying to make something out of themselves. Continue to pursue your dream. You will empathize hard work really pays off.

    August 6, 2010 at 9:39 pm |