Rally intended to excite students about education

Published 2:11 pm Thursday, August 11, 2016


The “Be Who You Wanna Be Back to School Rally” will be an action-packed 90 minutes of motivation, career coaching, music and food.

The Rally will take place on Saturday, Aug. 20 from 9:30 a.m. to 12 p.m. in conjunction with The Market Place at Lee Branch.

Kids and parents of all ages from the Highway 280 corridor and beyond are invited to this free event to celebrate the importance of education and the kickoff of the school year.

GradePower and the Mattie C. Stewart Foundation are co-sponsoring the event that will feature FOX 6’s JehJeh Pruitt as emcee, former NFL player Patrick Hape, Superintendent of Hoover City Schools Dr. Kathy Murphy, Executive Director of Innovation Initiatives at the University of Alabama Dr. Robert Morgan and other successful community and business leaders who will serve as career mentors for young attendees.

“This event is about ‘why education matters,’” said GradePower Birmingham President Tony Mauro. “The future of every young person requires an engaged mind. If we can have pep rallies for athletics, how much more should we get fired up about the education needed to compete in the game of life?”

The event was started in 2007 by the Mattie C. Stewart Foundation, and was previously held at Lawson State Community College, spokeswoman Yvonne Taunton said.

“It’s mainly for students, but we’ve invited teachers and coaches at different schools,” Taunton said.

Part of the morning’s activities include real-life interaction between students curious about career options and professionals who are already successes in their fields.

Taunton said there will be opening presentations given by Mauro and Sherri Stewart of the Mattie C. Stewart Foundation, then two panel discussions.

After the panel discussions, which will last for about 30 minutes each, students and parents will be invited walk around and visit various “vocation stations.”

Water and a shade tent will be provided, Taunton said.

“This school year will set the tone for the future of every young person in our schools today,” said Mattie C. Stewart Foundation Executive Director Sherri Stewart. “We hope students from all over come out to enjoy this time of motivation and mentoring.”

An Alabama School of Fine Arts youth band, Houston and the Problems, will also be performing at the event.