Alhambra students get straight talk at ‘Believe & Achieve’

June 07, 2017 / by / 0 Comment

Alhambra High School students listen to the “Believe & Achieve” talks in GCU Arena. (Photo by Travis Neely)

By Karen Fernau
GCU News Bureau

Kyle Speed, a Grand Canyon University admissions counselor and former Lopes basketball star, believes success demands sacrifice.

Kyle Speed, a former GCU basketball star, told students of how he heeded his mother’s advice. (Photo by Travis Neely)

Alhambra High School Principal Karen Cardenas believes it’s important to take pride in your work.

Calvin Terrell, youth motivational speaker and founder of the Social Centric Institute in Phoenix, believes that hurt people hurt people and open hearts open hearts.

That’s what they told nearly 1,000 Alhambra High School students Tuesday at GCU Arena during the fifth annual “Believe & Achieve,” an event that encourages freshmen to seniors at Alhambra to build a promising future.

Chief University Relations Officer Faith Weese said the annual event, which also includes a tour a of campus, offers disadvantaged students motivation and a template for success. 

Speed kicked off the speeches by sharing his journey from a drug-riddled neighborhood in Seattle to GCU.

Raised by a single mother, he listened to her admonitions and chose basketball and school over hanging out with ne’er-do-well friends.

“Success is making the right choices over and over again,” he said.  

Calvin Terrell

Before making the right choice, Speed said, he was hanging out with the wrong crowd and did not think he was going to make it to age 18. “Now I’m 30 and here,” he said.

He also told the students that their choices could help eliminate violence, homeless and drugs from their community.

“If we become the majority, that changes communities,” said the married father of three.

Next, Terrell encouraged students to treat others with kindness and respect and to avoid prejudice, such as judging others by how they dress, speak, live or wear their hair.

“We are each other’s mirror,” he said.

Alhambra Principal Karen Cardenas said, “Never forget where you came from.” (Photo by Travis Neely)

In his nearly hourlong talk, the motivational guru shared the following advice:

  • Find the kid in yourself who believed that if they ran fast enough, they could fly.
  • The same power that made the stars made us.
  • You are the other me. If I do harm to you, I do harm to myself.

Cardenas closed the event by sharing her vacation plans. The Los Angeles native is going to go to the beach, visit dear friends and spend a day cleaning the house of a stranger.

“My mother is a cleaning lady, and I will help her scrub someone else’s toilet,” she said.

And she will do it with the same pride and respect she brings to Alhambra daily.

Her advice: “Never forget where you come from.”

Contact Karen Fernau at (602) 639-8344 or


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