WARRENTON, Ga. - Dr. Roger Williams, former principal of Warren County High School and now serving as director of Human Resources for the McDuffie County School System in Thomson, was the guest speaker during the kickoff of Black History Month in Warren County last Friday.
The longtime educator and native of Lincoln County told the student bodies of Warren County High School and Warren County Middle School that these are the best years of his life, because a change is "gonna" come. "A change has come, but are you ready for that change?"
Dr. Williams said one such change already has come with the election of President Barack Obama, as the first African-American to hold the country's highest office.
"Some of you recall hearing me say that life is filled with choices," said Dr. Williams. "If you make good ones, you reap the rewards; if you make bad ones, you suffer the consequences."
He then told everyone there to look at the top of the program they received before entering the George M. Holliman Auditorium. The word "Hope" appeared.
"President Obama's mantra during the presidential campaign became, Yes, you can.' You can choose hope," Dr. Williams said. "Let the H' in Hope represent hymn and choose a hymn for yourself, a song if you will. Let your hope, your desires, your aspirations, your inspirations and your dreams all be tied together in your hymn, in your song."
Between several of Dr. Williams' remarks, Petulia Williams, of Augusta, who perhaps is better known as Tutu Divine, burst out with excerpts of songs. Two of her selections included: Give Me That Ol' Time Religion and People Get Ready, There Is A Change A Comin.
Dr. Williams went on to say that "A change is gonna come is what Sam Cooke chose as his departure from his famous love ballads. It was his first song of protest supporting the Civil Rights Movement in the 1960s. I urge you to choose a hymn to help you with your change. Yes, you can."
He pointed out that the "o" in the word, hope, represents opportunity.
"Take advantage of every opportunity that comes your way," Dr. Williams said. "Yes, you can. Do not waste your time and chill away your future. The historic event you witnessed (Tuesday, Jan. 20, 2009) becomes meaningless unless you are ready for the change."
The "p" in the word, hope, should stand for pride, he explained. "Take pride in yourself, pride in your family, pride in your church, pride in your school and pride in your community."
On a personal note, Dr. Williams asked students to remember to look like you know who you are and to act like you know who you are, as well as talk like you know who you are.
The letter "e" in the word, hope, stands for excellence, he said.
"In all you do, do it so well that no one on earth, in the earth or under the earth can possibly do it any better - no one."