Official student newspaper of Alabama State University

The Hornet Tribune

Official student newspaper of Alabama State University

The Hornet Tribune

Official student newspaper of Alabama State University

The Hornet Tribune

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Stevenson encourages students to follow the 7Cs


A large number of students, faculty, and administrative staff assembled in the Ralph David Abernathy Hall Auditorium on Aug. 24, 2023 at 11 a.m. to hear from poet and motivational speaker Kerry Stevenson.

As Takudzwa introduced Stevenson, he jumped upon the stage and began to move up and down to the hit song, “All I Do Is Win” by DJ Khalid, as the music blasted in the background.  As the volume gradually came down, Stevenson began to walk across the stage and talk about his life experiences – such as being born to a single parent, reared in a home with uneducated grandparents and his mother’s fight with mental illness.

“Because of my environment, I started smoking weed and drinking alcohol at the age of 13,” he said profoundly.

Stevenson talked about his brother/cousin dying in his arms after being fatally shot with three bullets to his chest.  However, Stevenson found a way to turn his life once he entered college.

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He graduated from high school with a 3.53 grade point average (GPA), and his GPA landed him at Alabama A&M University, where he became a presidential scholar. He pledged Omega Phi Psi Fraternity, Inc. He majored in mathematics, graduated magna cum laude, and entered Samford University where he received his masters degree in education leadership.

After recounting the events of his life, Stevenson advised the students in attendance, “Life can turn around, but you need to create that turn around, never stop growing,” he said. “Put the work and effort into making a positive change in your own life.”

His professional accomplishments were that he became teacher of the year, class 5A coach of the year, and a state champion football coach. He has encouraged and inspired a community of low income children to strive for success. He had the opportunity to serve as a coach for player development under Nick Saban (head coach of the Alabama Crimson Tide football team). He also authored a book of spiritual, motivation, and poetry.

He informed students that their lives are in their hands no matter where it begins and fixing their outlook on life is something they are fully capable of.

He was embarrassed regarding some of his family’s lack of education and his mother’s mental illness, which caused him to have a lack of confidence as he was growing up due to being picked on as a kid. He had a fear of failure and had a pessimistic outlook on life. His parents would not be there when he won awards, or would not be in the audience for any of his games playing sports growing up. He was bitter and mad at the world, but had the opportunity to change that and change his perspective on life, and if someone who faced the majority of plagues life has to offer, so can anyone else.

He informed that audience that he lived by seven Cs.  The first ‘C’ was to be careful, because not everyone wants to see you win.  Many rappers after becoming successful never come back home, as many people in this world are envious and jealous and want to see people who end up doing better than them fall.

“Always put yourself in a winning situation, and be around people who are at a creative equal with you,” Stevenson said.  “Because if you aren’t around like-minded people, eventually, you will become like those around you. If they are lazy and sit around and don’t do anything for months, so will you.”

The second ‘C’ is making connections.

“Find people around campus who are administrators, student leaders, and even faculty and staff,” Stevenson said.  “Become close to anyone who may potentially help you better your circumstances and life. These are people to look up to and they as well give you a perspective to look up to. Your peers should continuously be adding to your growth and development in life. Connections are very important not just in college but in life in general.”

The third ‘C’ stands for confidence.

“You have to believe in yourself,” Stevenson said.  “In a world where a high percentage of the population is trying to get the same job as you. If you don’t believe in yourself nobody can do it for you. Don’t be afraid to start, the only true failure is you never even tried at all. You can do anything you set your mind to with the energy and compassion that you’re gonna succeed.”

The fourth ‘C’ is courage!

“Speak up, your thoughts and opinions are important,” he said. “You should get out of your bed and get involved with the world and community surrounding you. There are a lot of organizations on campus, so join at least one by the time you graduate. Meet people, go outside, go to parties, and talk to that person you have a crush on.  You may never know if they might be just as into you. Do positive things you may have not thought of doing before, and enjoy life.”

His last three ‘Cs’ were communicate, competitor, and conquer.

“Communicating means talking to people, expressing yourself, and your feelings,” he said.  “Don’t allow another person to invalidate your thoughts, opinions, or your approach on any subject. Competitor means to be competitive, there are so many people fighting for what can possibly become yours so always strive to be the best at what you do. Conquering is winning and refusing to lose, losing is a mindset that not many people on earth can afford.”


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