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Speaker offers inspirational stories to Geibel students

Rachel Basinger | For the Daily Courier
Motivational speaker Morris Morrison uses student Jake Ciaccia as part of a demonstration.

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By Rachel Basinger
Saturday, Dec. 8, 2012, 12:01 a.m.

Geibel Catholic Junior/Senior High School students were motivated last week to have confidence in themselves.

Nationally known motivational speaker Morris Morrison, who just recently spoke to the Notre Dame University football team, encouraged the students with his tips for success.

When Morrison was just an infant, he was orphaned when both his parents died. A distant relative adopted him and raised him until she died when he was just 15.

He told students that the night before she died, he sat in her hospital room while she was unresponsive and promised her that he was not going to sell drugs and he was not going to go to prison and he would be successful in life.

“She sacrificed part of her life just to give me a shot,” Morrison said. “I wasn't sure how I was going to be successful like I promised her, but I had heard before that if you didn't have anything else, you still had Christ.”

From there, Morrison decided he wasn't going to let circumstances or perceptions of a “poor black kid” hold him back.

He made the decision to take AP classes in high school and was selected by his driver's education teacher to take part in a leadership conference that happened to be during basketball season.

The next year, his senior year, he quit basketball and took part in the leadership conference where he was chosen by his peers to be the master of ceremonies for the three-day event.

“Being orphaned was the best thing that ever happened to me,” Morrison answers when people ask him how he has handled it. “Because of that adversity, I had to figure out who I was.”

He told students that “you can never make a person feel something about you that you don't already believe yourself.

“The reason most people are not successful is because they're either jealous of someone else or they're comparing themselves to someone else,” Morrison added. “When you're not confident and don't believe in yourself, it changes everything in your life.”

Morrison also told a story of two brothers, ages 5 and 4, that he took swimming with him one afternoon.

After a few hours of swimming, the older brother decided he wanted to swim himself and using it as a teachable moment, Morrison allowed the boy to take off his life jacket and jump in.

The boy sunk to the bottom the first time and was pulled up by Morrison, but before the day was done, he was swimming by himself and had even helped to teach his younger brother how to swim.

“The biggest most valuable lesson you can learn is personal leadership,” Morrison said. “Eight to 10 percent of people in the world are courageous and believe in themselves — they jump and then figure out the details as they go.”

He added that the other 90 percent are like the younger brother who have a gift too, but need a leader.

“You are your own biggest adversity,” Morrison said.

Morrison encouraged the students to get out of their own way, stand up and be courageous and have confidence in themselves and what they have to offer.

Rachel Basinger is a freelance writer.

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