There were inspiring words at Westfield High School on Feb. 1 as students and staff heard from entrepreneur, speaker, author, scholar and community volunteer Dr. Randal Pinkett, who encouraged students to be trailblazers and to never “let anyone or anything tell you something’s not possible.”
“Think about the first day you walked into this building,” he told the students gathered in the high school auditorium during an assembly commemorating Black History Month that was live streamed to other students in the school’s cafeteria and gymnasium. “Life is like a road. It has twists and turns, potholes and dead ends. At the end of the day, no two paths are the same. We are all, in our way, trailblazers.”
A Rhodes Scholar who holds five academic degrees, Pinkett spoke of black leaders who inspired him including Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr., Coretta Scott King, Sojourner Truth, Nelson and Winnie Mandela, and President and First Lady Barak and Michelle Obama.
“They all had the mindset that they could be a trailblazer,” said Pinkett. “It’s the same mindset you see in very young children.” Little children live in a world that doesn’t discriminate nor separate dreams from reality, he said.
They give us a “lens into what we were like before we were influenced by the world,” Pinkett told the students. “A voice lives inside of you. Don’t lose that voice that tells you that you can be a trailblazer.”
He called on the students to never allow their voices to be silenced by racism, sexism, anti-Semitism and other hateful speech and actions.
Pinkett was welcomed to Westfield High School by Lesley Cora, WHS educational media specialist and chair of the WHS Diversity Awareness Committee and by principal Dr. Derrick Nelson.
“This day is really important, not just to me or to our staff but to our entire school community,” said Dr. Nelson. “We get a chance to celebrate our cultures, our diversity. This is what makes a community.”
The WHS Choraleers, directed by music/vocal instructor John Brzozowski, sang a traditional African-American spiritual by American composer William Dawson and a song about Martin Luther King, Jr. by the Irish rock group U2.