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Wes Moore shares story of overcoming odds (w/video)

By Carolina Astrain
Feb. 13, 2014 at 6:03 p.m.
Updated Feb. 13, 2014 at 8:14 p.m.

Author Wes Moore, 35, talks to an audience of more than 1,000 people at the Victoria Fine Arts Center, which has about 1,482 seats, Thursday as part of Victoria College's Lyceum Lecture Series.

BY THE NUMBERS

• $32,000 - The annual budget for Victoria College's Lyceum Lecture Series

• $18,000 - The cost to bring Wes Moore, one the series' headline speakers this season, to the VISD Fine Arts Center

• 1,000 plus - The number of junior high, high school, college students and community members present at the lecture

• 60 - The number of students who watched the Lyceum Lecture featuring Wes Moore from the Victoria College center in Gonzales via live feed

• 10 - The number of high school and middle schools - Liberty Academy, Victoria West High School, Victoria East High School, Patti Welder Middle School, Howell Middle School, Cade Middle School, Stroman Middle School, Cuero High School, Cuero Junior High School and Bloomington High School - present at the lecture, which included students from the Victoria school district's AVID Program and Texas Workforce Solutions' Communities in the Schools of the Golden Crescent

• 3 - The number of school districts - Victoria, Bloomington and Cuero - that sent students to the lecture

Source: Victoria College

Devon Childs listened intently as motivational speaker Wes Moore shared his story with more than 1,000 Crossroads residents Thursday afternoon.

"What are you willing to fight for?" Moore asked his audience.

The author and former White House fellow was invited to speak as part of Victoria College's Lyceum Lecture Series at the VISD Fine Arts Center.

Devon, a junior at Victoria West High School, was seated in the front row.

"His life story has given me a new perspective on life," Devon, 17, said. "It makes you appreciate what you have."

Moore spoke about the publication of his book, "The Other Wes Moore: One Name, Two Fates," and how the book's title has made an impact on the way he sees other people.

"The most important thing about the title is the word, 'other,'" Moore, 35, said. "The people who are 'others' are forgotten. ... They're people who we dismiss without understanding how detrimental it is to our own core and fiber."

In his book, Moore chronicles the parallels between his life and another man by the same name. Both grew up blocks away from each other in Baltimore in single-parent homes with the same temptations of drugs and illegal activity around them.

One Wes Moore grew up to be a Rhodes Scholar, and the other is in prison for life without parole.

After Moore first learned about the other Wes Moore, he wrote him a note, which spurred the publication of his book and a friendship, which has endured over the past 10 years.

"We can't understand my story without understanding his," Moore said.

Moore emphasized the need for action within the country's education system. "Education is as much about what you're learning as it is about who you're learning it from and who you're learning it with," Moore said.

After the lecture, Devon and two other Victoria West High School students - Alexxis Carrizales and Bianca Coronado - were awarded signed copies of the author's book for placing in an essay contest hosted by Victoria College and the Victoria Advocate in conjunction with the Lyceum Lecture Series.

Devon's essay detailed what it was like losing her grandmother and learning how to raise herself without her guidance.

Silvia Simmons, a homebound teacher for the Victoria school district, gave Devon a hug after the presentation.

"I loved it," Simmons said. "I was inspired by all three of their essays. ... It just goes to show that our current situations do no predict our destiny."

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