For Atasha, Terrell's message was about bullying but also much more. It's the put-downs both boys and girls say, usually without thinking, such as "You're so gay," that seemed to have caught the attention of students. In a booming voice that filled the Foothill gym even when his microphone failed, Terrell talked about racism, ethnic slurs, cultural background, relationships, even genocide. Atasha, whose parents came to the States from Iran, proudly stood up as Terrell called out her ethnic background, going through Foothill's diverse roster until everyone was standing. "The point was that although there are many different cultures at Foothill, we all go to the same school and interact every day. We should be able to get along."
Looking across the auditorium, Atasha saw different emotions with some in tears and others nodding in agreement. At times, the gym was so quiet you could hear a pin drop as Terrell's talk made its impact. "This guy is for real," Atasha said. "He even made some of the guys cry over the things they might have said or ways they might have acted that were wrong, that hurt others. I've never seen one person have such a great impact on kids."
Terrell usually charges $3,500 for a day of lectures and comprehensive workshops. But he remembered Atasha from her support at Del Oro and reduced his fees so that Roush, the counselor, could secure enough funds from her Awareness program and individual donations. Terrell's day here included the two assemblies, a separate workshop meeting with Foothill faculty, which he led, and a community meeting that night.
Atasha has joined Roush's task force that is working to keep Terrell's message alive "before the honeymoon is over." The group wants to increase efforts in the next school year to deal with bullying and other student problems. With Atasha's help, even though she's off to Sonoma State to study for a career in teaching kindergarten through fifth-grade students, she's committed to bringing Terrell back to Pleasanton. Using her friendship and influence with the motivational speaker once again, he may return for an even lower fee.
This story contains 581 words.
If you are a paid subscriber, check to make sure you have logged in. Otherwise our system cannot recognize you as having full free access to our site.
If you are a paid print subscriber and haven't yet set up an online account, click here to get your online account activated.