- Seattle socialist: Minimum-wage discussion skewed by ‘right-wing’ GAO analysis
- U.N. warns of Muslim ‘cleansing’ in Central African Republic
- Senate blocks change to military sex assault cases
- Drug mix may have cured child born with HIV, doctors say
- De Blasio’s wife irks former mansion chef with ‘servant’ remark
- Russia’s neighbors shiver amid Putin’s Cold War moves in Ukraine
- New SAT: The essay portion is to become optional
- Military group can’t march to honor the fallen at Boston Marathon due to security changes
- Senate passes bills deleting ‘retarded’ from laws
- China announces biggest military hike in 3 years: We are not ‘boy scouts with spears’
Viola Davis: Actress addresses R.I. high school alma mater
CENTRAL FALLS, R.I. (AP) — Viola Davis on Thursday addressed graduating seniors at the high school in the struggling Rhode Island city where she grew up, urging them to treasure “hard times and joyous moments” and telling them that the “privilege of a lifetime is being who you are.”
The Academy Award nominee spoke to Central Falls High School’s class of 2012, student actors and members of student government, and other alumni nearly 30 years after receiving her own diploma there. She also was inducted into the school’s Alumni Hall of Fame.
A member of the class of 1983, Miss Davis has continued to support the 1.3-square-mile city of 19,000 just north of Providence.
The city has found itself the subject of national headlines over its floundering finances — a state receiver filed for bankruptcy on its behalf last year — and for the mass firing in 2010 of all the high school’s teachers. They later were rehired.
“Central Falls makes up in heart what it lacks in size,” Miss Davis told students on a stage where she once acted. “Make your mark — whatever it is — you have it in you.”
Miss Davis donated $1,000 each last year to the Central Falls library and a Central Falls charter school. In accepting a Screen Actors Guild award in January, she told students there to “dream big and dream fierce.”
Miss Davis was born on her grandmother’s farm in South Carolina in 1965, the second youngest of six children of a factory worker and homemaker mother and a horse trainer father. The family moved to Central Falls when she was a few months old.
Miss Davis recounted a time in third grade when a classmate kept calling her “the N-word,” prompting her to try to best him in some way. He was known as the fastest boy in Central Falls, so she challenged him to a race.
She worried as recess approached — her shoes were a size and a half too small and had holes — and she wondered how she’d be able to run fast.
“I did what any self-respecting girl would have done: I took my shoes off,” she said.
The race was a tie, but she said Thursday she was telling the story as a kind of lesson to students.
“You gotta be in the race, no matter what,” she said. “Win or lose.
TWT Video Picks
By Tammy Bruce
- Bill Clinton cashes in on struggling nonprofit hospital
- DELAY: A revolution for the Constitution
- BRUCE: Obama's bizarre immigration rules
- Putin has transformed Russian army into a lean, mean fighting machine
- PRUDEN: Likening Putin to Hitler on Ukraine shows Hillary's shaky grasp of history
- R-S-P-E-C-T: Find out what it means for Obama
- Otter attacks, kills alligator at Florida wildlife refuge
- Unemployment insurance vote could happen next week
- Russian lawmaker wants to outlaw U.S. dollar, calls it a Ponzi scheme
- Senate rejects Gillibrand's overhaul of military's handling of sexual assaults
Pope Francis meets his 'mini-me'
Celebrity deaths in 2014
Winter storm hits states — again