KIPP Memphis Collegiate Valedictorian Advice: Be Fearless

Get inspired from this virtual speech by KIPP Memphis Collegiate High School 2020 valedictorian TaVonte Campbell who was recently featured on Chalkbeat Tennessee.

“I would first like to start by acknowledging God, who is the person responsible for all blessings and opportunities in my life.

I wish someone would’ve told me that being VAL would mean I’d have to write a sermon, but what a better time to practice than now. What’s the worst that could happen.

Which brings me to my point of never being afraid to fail. Michael Jordan popularized a phrase that states “ You miss 100% of the shots that you don’t take”, and that’s what I’m here to reiterate to you.

Be fearless, try something out of your comfort zone. Take a risk when it comes to applying for that job, exploring your feelings in a relationship, or being the only person of your complexion, build, gender and qualifications in a setting.

Yes, there may be some discomfort at first, but it’s through those problems that you grow, and elevate and prepare yourself for the level God wants you at.

You also must be willing to work for what you want, and stop at nothing to achieve that goal.

I would like to thank my Mother, because she was the one who sacrificed hours, and spent time pouring into me and pushing me in the right direction, but also supporting me in any decision I wanted to make.

I also would like to personally want to thank teachers like Mrs. Seay and Mr. Williams for not letting me produce work that was below the standard, and I want to especially thank David Edwards and Paul Mickenney for pushing me in and outside of the classroom to be the man of God, musician, and leader I’m growing to be.”


TaVonte Campbell

KIPP Memphis Collegiate High School

Class of 2020 Valedictorian



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