BAUXITE, Ark. (KTHV) – As teachers and students head back to the classroom they often need an extra pick me up to start the school year.
Tommy Wimberly of Bauxite Middle School was asked by his principal to deliver the school back to school motivational speech to start the year. “I got to watching some back to school videos and speeches and I was like this is what I need to do.”
Coach didn’t expect to be on stage, ten years ago he didn’t expect to graduate high school. “We lived in a single wide trailer with two bedrooms and our fair share of holes in the floor. The only thing that held it together was rats, roaches, and termites. With that living situation, you can imagine what type of student I was.”
Tommy’s father left the family when he was six months old while his stepdad battled drug and alcohol addiction. The former teacher now colleague Charlotte Tarver remembers those days all too well. “Sometimes he didn’t have running water in the video. He wore the same clothes over and over again. He said you know I did come to school because I knew the only two meals I knew I would get were breakfast and lunch.”
Tommy’s oasis in those days was his girlfriend Kayla, but a young couple would unexpectedly become a family of three his junior year. “I was scared to death, I wanted to quit school and go to work. I wanted to do right by my family I’m going to be that dad and I’m going to be that father that I never had.” With the help of his in-laws. The couple got married and Tommy set out a new goal. Coach the game he loves and teaches with those who inspired him.
“For him to be a Bauxite graduate and for him to say that teachers meant so much to me and I told Tommy and said listen. You are that shining light for these children and don’t ever forget it and we need you.”
Over a decade later Tommy now looks forward to coaching and teaching another student named Wimberly. “It’s always been my mission to kind of bring some redemption to the Wimberly name not that it’s ever been bad but it’s never been heard of or talked about and I kind of want to leave a legacy for him to build off of.”
Tommy’s speech currently has over 260,000 views on Facebook.