GULFPORT, MS (WLOX) – A Gulfport High School senior became a motivational speaker of sorts on Thursday. He didn't sound nervous at all, as he spoke to a group of eighth graders.
"Do you know who you are? Is anyone in here a thug?" he asked them.
Tevin Brown, 17, is an honor student at Gulfport High. His U.S. Government class had to write a report on the topic: "Why Are We So Violent?"
"Race, black and white, rich and poor, things such as that divide our country into two. Lower class, some are powerless, more powerless. And the only way they can get their power is through physical force like robbing, stealing and shooting," said Tevin.
Tevin's project impressed his teachers and administrators so much, they asked him to share his lesson with the eighth graders at Bayou View Middle School.
"Do you think hip hop influences stereotypes about people?" he asked the students.
"Yes," they responded.
Tevin challenged the younger students to avoid the path that can lead them toward crime.
"I don't want them to become victims. Instead, become powerful, become educated, so they can change it. We divide ourselves, but we don't even know it. I want them to be aware of that and try to fix that problem," he said.
"Tell people that it's not right to sag your pants, to do drugs, alcohol, stuff like that. Can you all challenge that?" Tevin told the group.
"I think Tevin has a sense of that," said government teacher Hardy Thames. "It's not good enough to make an 'A.' It's not good enough to do your report and have a teacher read it and pat you on the back. Living in a democracy is you see a problem, ask a question, and you keep asking it and keep trying to solve it."
When asked if he got an 'A' on his project, Tevin smiled and responded, "I don't know. I haven't checked my grade."
Tevin doesn't know yet where he plans to go to college or what he'll major in. By the way, he did not get any extra credit for his report presentation.