Charles Rice Learning Center in South Dallas – An inner-city school–with an enrollment that is 99 percent
African- American, 83 percent eligible for subsidized lunches, and nearly 70 percent living with one or neither parent–has students who consistently win city-wide math and computer contests, a choir group
that has performed nationally, and achievement records that have attracted the attention of the federal Department of Education.
Full Text of Speech:
I believe in me. Do you believe in me?
Do you believe I can stand up here, fearless, and
talk to all 20,000 of you?
Hey, Charles Rice Learning Center ? do you believe
That’s right ? they do.
Because here’s the deal: I can do anything, be
anything, dream anything, become anything ? because
you believe in me.
And it rubs off on me.
Let me ask you a question, Dallas ISD.
Do you believe in my classmates?
Do you believe that every single one of us can
graduate ready for
college or the workplace?
You better. Because next week, we’re all showing up
in your schools ?
all 157,000 of us ? and what we need from you is to
believe that we
can reach our highest potential.
No matter where we come from, whether it’s sunny
South Dallas, whether
its Pleasant Grove, whether its Oak Cliff or North
Dallas or West
Dallas or wherever, you better not give up on us.
No, you better not.
Because, as you know, in some cases, you’re all
we’ve got. You’re the
ones who feed us, who wipe our tears, who hold our
hands or hug us
when we need it. You’re the ones who love us when
sometimes it feels
like no else does ? and when we need it the most.
Don’t give up on my classmates.
Do you believe in your colleagues?
I hope so. They came to your school because they
wanted to make a
difference, too. Believe in them, trust them and
lean on them when
times get tough ? and we all know, we kids can
sometimes make it tough.
Am I right?
Can I get an Amen?
So, whether you’re a counselor or a librarian, a
teacher assistant or
work in the front office, whether you serve up meals
in the cafeteria
or keep the halls clean, or whether you’re a teacher
or a principal,
we need you!
Please, believe in your colleagues, and they’ll
believe in you.
Do you believe in yourself? Do you believe that what
you’re doing is
shaping not just my generation, but that of my
children ? and my
There’s probably easier ways to make a living, but I
want to tell you,
on behalf of all of the students in Dallas, we need
you. We need you
now more than ever.
Believe in yourself.
Finally, do you believe that every child in Dallas
needs to be ready
for college or the workplace? Do you believe that
Dallas students can
We need you, ladies and gentlemen. We need you to
know that what you
are doing is the most important job in the city
today. We need you to
believe in us, in your colleagues, in yourselves and
in our goals.
If you don’t believe ? well, I’m not going there.
I want to thank you for what you do ? for me and for
so many others.
Do you believe in me? Because I believe in me. And
you helped me get
to where I am today.