Matt Bennett is not a stranger to difficult times. Throughout his life, he has faced hardship after hardship and bounced back time and time again. On Sunday, March 13, Bennett came to Hobbton High School and addressed students from the Hobbton community who were willing to take time out of their Sunday afternoon to hear what he had to say.
The ceremony began with Hobbton Principal Jennifer Daughtry welcoming everyone to the event. Hobbton’s show choir then sang the National Anthem.
Hobbton girls’ basketball coach, teacher, and former NFL player, Leonard Henry, then addressed the crowd with some inspirational remarks. He spoke to the students about how the most important thing in life was their relationship with God, and loving each other.
The show choir then sang “Dancing on the Streets” before Isaiah Lamb came forward to introduce Bennett.
Bennett began his speech with a rap, then went into telling his life story. He mentioned struggles that he had witnessed in his life, including seeing his father die by gunshot. Bennett’s brother was also killed in a drive-by shooting.
“Growing up in Compton, our goal was to make it to 18,” Bennett said of life south of Los Angeles. “When we made it to 18 years of age, we had to reprogram our minds, because making it to 18 was a big deal when you’re living in Compton.”
Bennett also went on to talk about how his college GPA began as low as a 1.6 in his first semester. He was in college to run track, and his college coach did not give up on him, and told him he could be a manager for the team until he pulled his grades up. Eventually, Bennett pulled his GPA up to a 3.6, and went on to become founder and CEO of Ink International, which is a consulting company that encourages and inspires people to turn the page and write their own new and more fulfilling chapters in their lives.
The main point of the message was perseverance. Bennett encouraged the young people to keep on keeping on, and to push through difficult times. “Your past does not define what your future has to be,” said Bennett. “You are not defined by the cards you have been dealt, and the circumstances you have been in.”
After the event, Leonard Henry was quick to praise Bennett for coming to Hobbton to speak to the students.
“It is wonderful for the community to see the urgent need of the kids,” he said. “For kids to take their Sunday afternoon to be here, that says a lot. That shows that there is a need for helping the students in the community, and by having Mr. Bennett here, it shows initiative that our community is taking.”
After a question and answer segment, Timothy King of Goshen Disciples Church wrapped the event up by thanking Bennett and all of those in attendance.
For more information on Bennett and Ink International, visit their website at mannyscott.com.
Reach Adam Capps at 910-214-9585.