The Killeen Branch NAACP will hold its 18th annual Back 2 School/Stay in School Rally and Symposium from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. Saturday at Killeen High School, 500 N. 38th St.
The theme is “Courage Will Not Skip this Generation.”
TaNeika Driver-Moultrie, president of the local NAACP, said the free rally and backpack giveaway is the organization’s way of inspiring and motivating students to have a successful academic year.
“We always say that each child is our child. Even though we may not have birthed them, it takes a village to raise a child,” Driver-Moultrie said. “The NAACP is that village.”
James Jones IV will deliver the keynote address to students. An incoming sixth-grader at Charles Patterson Middle School and 2014 Middle School Youth of the Year for the Boys & Girls Club of Central Texas, James is the youngest guest speaker in the history of the rally.
Driver-Moultrie said most adults who hear James speak have the same reaction: “He’s going to be the next president of the United States.”
“We definitely knew we wanted James Jones before our kids. He is an A-plus, world-class student, and we are very proud of him,” she said. “It’s great to know that right here in our very own community is an individual who is contributing to society in such a positive way, and that we have something to do with that.”
James said he is “blessed” and “honored” for the opportunity to speak to his peers.
“I just want to talk to them about the importance of going back to school,” he said. “Going back to school is something that you should do. It’s new and it’s wonderful, and there’s nothing you should be afraid of.”
James said education is imperative to his future, since he does count becoming president among his aspirations.
“School is very important to me,” he said. “There are a lot of things that I dream about doing, but I know that education comes first.”
Tim Norman, co-star of “Welcome to Sweetie Pie’s,” a reality show on the Oprah Winfrey Network starring a family that runs a collection of soul food restaurants, will speak during a breakout session for high school boys.
Norman and his mother, “Miss Robbie” Montgomery, often participate in prison re-entry programs and mentor ex-offenders.
James will speak between 10 and 11 a.m., and Norman will speak around 11 a.m., Driver-Moultrie said.
Students can participate in breakout sessions, eat free lunch provided by Domino’s Pizza and Killeen Independent School District board member JoAnn Purser, visit a number of vendors and receive backpacks while supplies last.