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Washington High’s Deonte Bridges delivers inspiring valedictorian speech

by talkupaps

Deonte Bridges is just one of several Atlanta Public Schools graduates who had a story behind his years of hard work. Bridges, valedictorian for Booker T. Washington High’s Senior Academy, truly captured the essence of his challenges his speech graduation at the Boisfeuillet Jones Atlanta Civic Center. And APS’ Department of Learning Technologies was there to capture the moment in dramatic fashion. (Also thanks to APS Media Production Manager Scott King for providing this video to us.)

Bridges was one of Washington High’s “Freedom Writers.” (Check out the Talk Up APS story here.) We also profiled Bridges and the other APS valedictorians in the latest issue of The Atlanta Educator, which should have arrived in your mailbox by now. Bridges plans to attend the University of Georgia.

For more graduation memories, check out the Atlanta Public Schools’ Media Gallery at, and click on Media Gallery. The gallery features videos and countless photos that detail our transformation into a top-performing  urban school district.


Deborah 22 Aug 2011 - 5:17 pm

How inspiring and what a message to leave for every young male (and female) to hear. Everything we do is by choice and the problem we have (most of us) is making the right one. It’s all about decisions, actions, habits, character, and destiny! They are our stepping stones. Thank you, Deonte, for letting us see and hear that your decisions are leading you to a very promising destiny, I am so proud of you. Not because of the fact you are a young, black man, but because you kept focused on what was important instead of what was popular. You did not allow environment to mold you. God bless you. Narrow is the road…

Tracye Harris 21 Nov 2010 - 2:12 am

This young man was very inspiring to me and my family, especially my twelve year old son. Deonte keep up the good work. I will also keep you in my prayers.

Sherita Mamon 20 Nov 2010 - 9:42 pm

This gives you a pride in youthful wisdom that leaves you speechless…and it is the type of example that you pray more young people will choose to follow. What a testimony…

He has indeed proven to be the “Dream and the Hope of the slave…” — and not those who choose to degrade women and emulate gangsta rap videos, epithets and all.

I truly hope more young people of his generation will pull up their pants, tighten up their goals and embrace the faith in God that has driven Deonte to succeed in life — despite the many obstacles.

jdog90305 26 Sep 2010 - 1:46 am

I hope it gets put into “transcript” so than deaf and HoH people can read it.

Jackie 11 Aug 2010 - 11:18 am

I am a teacher in an Abbott District. I plan on playing that inspiring video on the first day of school. I am not even going to wish you luck because I know in my heart we will be hearing about the wonderful things you will be doing. Look at all you have done so far. Forget the athletes, entertainers and so on…you may dear boy are a role model to all. God has blessed you and will continue to bless you. You were sent from heaven for a reason and you are leading so many people. I have shown this video to everyone I know. I was brought to tears. You should be so proud of yourself because so many people are who don’t even know you.There will always be ignorant people in this world but look at it as a test. One in which you have passed a million times before. You are on your way to greatness…………

Berridge 10 Aug 2010 - 12:14 pm

Please send me a printable copy of the speece od Deonte Bridges so that I can share it and disucss it with black boys in he area.

Rabbi Adler 9 Aug 2010 - 3:18 pm

I would like a complete transcript of the speech given by Deonte Bridges. It is inspiring and I wish to share it with my congregation.

Karen Whaley 6 Aug 2010 - 10:57 pm

I would love to hear this, bu tI am hearing impaired. Is there some way to get a written transcript of his speech? As a matter of fact I can not hear ANYTHNG put on YouTube & I know there are thousands of people like me. I wish they would close caption Youtube so the hearing handicapped could enjoy the clips too. Thank you.

modell lewis 6 Aug 2010 - 8:56 pm

i like to get a copy of that speech let me know how i can attain a copy

modell lewis 6 Aug 2010 - 8:47 pm

i wish i could get you to come to norfolk va at my church to speak to the young peoples

modell lewis 6 Aug 2010 - 8:46 pm

GOD bless deonte and his mom congraulation deonte all our black mens are not lost . you brought tears to my eyes as i listen on cnn love you and keep up the good work i pray for r mom modell w. lewis norfolk va

Yvonne Bradley 24 Jul 2010 - 6:04 pm

I wish every young and old African American could hear this exceptional young man speech. He is a Awesome individual. I will keep him in PRAYER that he will go in to be a Future leader for Many year to come. Maybe another Barack Obama. So I say to Deonte Bridges, GOD is using you.

Stephanie Kun 19 Jul 2010 - 6:27 pm

Deonte Bridges’ Mom Speaks Out!!!

Belinda Grissett 16 Jul 2010 - 2:53 am

Mr. Bridges,
God Bless you and your family.
Your speech brought tears to my eyes, I wish You the Very Best
God Bless.

Blondell Richards-Blankson 15 Jul 2010 - 6:23 pm

Congratulations! I applaud your accomplishments and your steadfast pursuit of an education and to make and do your best no matter the adversity. May God continue to bless you and stay the course. Your are a pathmaker for those to follow showing them that all things are possible through God and determination. As a male figure, you do us, AA proud!

Tom Satterlee 11 Jul 2010 - 9:57 pm

From an old, conservative, white man I say bravo! I loved every moment and wish this young many and all of the graduates of BTWSA the very best.

I guess there are still some public schools that are doing their part for our young people.

In Christ,


Pamela Payne Foster 7 Jul 2010 - 2:39 pm

Fabulous……what a role model! Looking forward to hearing great things in the future for this young man!
Pamela Payne Foster, author of “Is there a balm in Black America? (”

Walter W 29 Jun 2010 - 12:35 am

Very inspiring speech young man for all young black men and women who choose to listen. You have a gift to deliver a message with much power. Keep up the great work and continue to Rise.

hariette lowe 28 Jun 2010 - 9:43 pm

Congradulations,We wish you well young man. What a blessing you are.Keep youre head up,the sky is the limit. Job well done.Parents,be blessed. Continued Sucess, You are a mighty arrow.

Bobby Neal 26 Jun 2010 - 5:03 pm

I’m truly not into speech’s they tend to be repetive, NOT this one. I didn’t have any family or friends attend Washington but someone posted this speech on Facebook.

I had to go home and make few friends hear it! It was the best one I have ever heard! Stay blessed!

Vera Beavers 25 Jun 2010 - 1:23 pm

Deonte Bridges.

I was very touched about the comments made

about your speech . I am sure this will imspire

others, as well as myself.Keep climbing until you

reach your destination.

Writing Bliss 24 Jun 2010 - 11:37 pm

Congratulations and thank you for this inspirational speech. Continue to rise and manifest your highest potential. May God continue to watch over you and bless you in all of your endeavors.

Peace, Love, Light, and Unlimited Blessings

Lynnetta Whitehurst 23 Jun 2010 - 8:57 pm

As an alum parent of BTW, I am proud and ecstatic at such a hearfelt speech….purely inspirational and a light of possibilites for all. Congratulations to being the first AA male valdictorian at Washington!

Angela 21 Jan 2011 - 12:59 am

Are you the same Ms. Whitehurst that worked at Advanced Career Training?

Nita Smith 22 Jun 2010 - 11:56 pm

I was very touched by your speach and to see a young black man who has derived from all of the adversities in the black community made me feel that there is hope for our young black men and Deonte you are in inspiration may you contiune to inspire us as you climb the road to success. I wish you well in all that you endure.

antonio foster 21 Jun 2010 - 10:21 pm

deonte bridges…my dear cousin we as a family are very proud of you and we incourage you to cont.. to lead the way for others and always have faith in GOD. paris & your father has done a great job in raising you…i and my family love you very much….bye

Joy McCoy 21 Jun 2010 - 7:38 pm

Deonte spoke of the support of parents, of God and drive and determination. His eyes were on a prize. All of our children need hope. As a school social worker, I see much suffering that our children endure. Some look to their parents for support and others know that they have no family support. Some believe in God and believe in a higher power to get them through life’s struggles. I say that all of our children need hope. If they can’t get it from home, where can they get it from. Hope gives them the strength to endure. Lets give all of our children hope.. The haves and the have not’s, those of every color/race, those with parents and those without, those who are gifted and those who struggle to get through each day of school. Every child has something to give back to the world. There are a lot of Deontes that we never see. They don’t always rise to the top.
There are many book smart people who do not succeed. Deonte has drive, determination and faith. He will succeed!!

Kweku Forstall 20 Jun 2010 - 9:05 am

Deonte Bridges, Valedictorian from the BTW High School Class of 2010, gave one of the most inspiring speeches I can remember at his graduation. I was the Executive Director of Project GRAD Atlanta for 8 years. I’d like to share this video with my students at Year Up Atlanta and other audiences as an example of what’s possible. How can I obtain a copy of the video? I would also like to meet Deonte and ask him to consider serving as a guest speaker. Can you either provide me with his contact information or have him contact me? Thanks.


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