Motivational speaker tell students about learning from failure

Rye Lake Students Urged to Find their Motivation, Define their Own Success

Write down your goals. Define what success means to you. Maximize your potential.

Those were some of the themes in a Berkeley College motivational workshop, “Journey to the Top,” at the Rye Lake Campus of Southern Westchester BOCES Jan. 11.

“You can’t kind of want to do something and expect to be successful. When you really want something, you find a way to get it,” said David Ibrahim, a high school and community outreach associate for Berkeley. “When your want becomes your must, you’re able to be successful.”

Cristina Tompkins, Rye Lake school counselor, said she arranged the visit to expose students to the possibilities that are out there for them. “Journey to the Top” is one of more than a dozen in-class workshops offered by Berkeley College. The school also sponsors career-specific summer workshops on its campuses.

“A lot of the students just need to have that motivational speaking, and from someone they don’t see every day,” she said. “They need to understand that success is not going to be given to you. You have to work for it.”

Ms. Tompkins, who completed her undergraduate degree at Berkeley, said she is going to ask students to write down their goals and post them on a school bulletin board.

Mr. Ibrahim encouraged students to look at how they can maximize their potential. He urged them to write down specific goals of where they want to be five years from now and beyond. “You define what success is. Don’t let the world define that for you,” he said. “Have a vision for your life.”

He gave a personal example of his goal of attending a certain college in New Jersey. He had a high grade point average, but his SAT scores were too low. He spoke to the dean of the college and explained his story, and as a result he was admitted to the school.

“I talked to the gatekeeper,” he said. “Sometimes it takes guts.”

It’s OK to fail, Mr. Ibrahim said. In fact, people learn more by failing than succeeding. Michael Jordan was cut from his high school varsity team and placed on the junior varsity team. Years later, the NBA basketball star invited the student who got his spot on the varsity team to his Basketball Hall of Fame speech. “Why? Because Michael Jordan’s failure fueled his success,” Mr. Ibrahim said.

Everybody is motivated by something, and some people have things that stand in the way of their success, he said.

“Oftentimes we want to be successful, but we haven’t found our motivation. What is motivating you to be excellent?” he said. “I understand that going to school every day has its challenges. Maybe we don’t like a subject. Can you be excellent at the things you don’t like? That’s the real challenge.

“Because if you can be excellent at the things you don’t like, when it comes to the things you’re really passionate about – wow, you could really do something amazing.”

Mee’ah Muhammed, a student from Greenburgh, thought about what Mr. Ibrahim said regarding what might be standing in the way of her success. In her case, it is her lack of interest in gym class. She stayed in the gym class and participated after attending the workshop. “It motivated me. He was talking about being successful,” she said.

Trayonna Mood of Port Chester said she appreciated Mr. Ibrahim’s message. “Even though I’m motivated, it’s good to have more motivation,” she said.

Auto tech student Kiwaun Irizarry of Peekskill said the “Journey to the Top” talk was a good reminder that he needs to focus on finishing high school. “It made me more motivated after listening to him,” the senior said.

Senior Jordan Weintraub, who also attended the workshop, already found his motivation for future success. The Blind Brook-Rye student was recently accepted to Lynn University in Florida.