Students learn from former Harlem Globetrotter

CARROLL COUNTY, Tenn. — Students got a visit from a surprise guest Thursday at one West Tennessee school.

“This morning I’m talking to the kids about respecting their teachers, principal, coaches, counselor, and never bully another kid,” Captain “Magic” Valentino Willis, coach of the Harlem Basketball Team, said.

West Carroll Elementary School students filled the gym and waited for their surprise guest to make his appearance.

“Magic” Valentino Willis calls himself the “world’s greatest showman,” and he lived up to that name the moment he came into the gym.

He got the kids pumped up, shouting “I can’t hear you!”

“This time of the year, everybody’s getting wore out and ready for testing, so we just wanted to bring some positive inspiration,” Principal Molly Ashley said.

Willis says he got involved with speaking to students after he lost someone to drugs.

“Lynn Byers, he took drugs and he died, so I made my mind up to go to schools, family night, PTA,” Willis said.

He gave his jacket to one student to hold onto, and then the fun began. He showed off in a way only a former Harlem Globetrotter can.

The principal said she hoped that by the end of the presentation everyone had learned something.

“I’m just hoping they learn to be a leader, stand on their own two feet and be kind to everybody,” Ashley said. “Everybody’s fighting a battle, so just to make sure we’re kind and show respect.”

And no one, not even the teachers, was allowed to just sit and watch.

This isn’t Magic’s only stop here in West Tennessee. On Friday, he’s headed to Martin Middle School to speak to their students.

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