In carefully measured, resonate tones, 14-year-old motivational speaker Dalton Sherman spoke of Martin Luther King, dreams and leading the parade.

The Dallas ISD high school freshman, who attends an all-male leadership academy named for President Barack Obama, challenged students at Saegert Elementary School Thursday to be drum majors.

Sherman, a gifted orator who has spoken to large audiences since age 9 and appeared on “Oprah,” highlighted a Celebrate Black History program at the school.

Third-graders sang “Free at Last.” The school’s step team performed. Fourth-graders presented a skit about famous black inventors and fifth-graders performed a multi-media tribute to musicians and other leaders.

Sherman charged students to engage the power of the human spirit to serve their community with compassion and said such passion can change the world.

He said great things are possible when many believe in the dreams of a few. The young speaker quoted from a King sermon that spoke of the drum major’s instinct.

He said drum majors have the courage to lead the parade and suggested that students find ways to serve the community like give allowance money to those in need and spend time doing service.

Such heroes extend their heart when they see a need, he said.

While some lead, he pointed out that everyone must play a part. Without those critical supporters, a drum major is just a fool dancing alone on the football field, he said.

Following the program, Sherman greeted students, shaking hands with third- through fifth-graders.

When asked about the opportunities he’s experienced so early in life, he gave credit to God.

“It’s been a roller coaster ride,” he said. “God has done so much for me. He’s driving the train. I just get on board.”

Sherman said his message for students is to believe in themselves and to know they can inspire others.

The fourth-graders’ performance showed a girl and her mother getting ready for school and moving through their day as if no African-Americans ever existed.

In the skit, the pair found themselves continually at a loss because African-Americans invented the ironing board, shoelace machine, comb, brush, lawn mower, automatic gearshift, internal combustion engine parts, traffic signal and other important household items.

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