It is no small thing to hold the full attention of 520 high school students for a solid half hour. Antonio Armstrong: successful Houston businessman, family man, All-Star athlete and church pastor made it seem easy.
The Texas A&M graduate painted a mesmerizing picture of his path from poverty to gangs, to abuse, and even cheating death three times. Back to speak by popular demand, Armstrong has been the most requested guest in a guest speaker series created by Cristo Rey Jesuit President Paul Posoli.
Once again, Armstrong didn’t hold back. “The fact that I am here is a miracle. I started at the bottom. I was involved in gangs and bad things in school. There were so many things I had to run from.”
Photos: Facebook: Dawn Whitely Armstrong
Raised by a single mother who he cites as his inspiration, he says he never wanted to disappoint her. A powerful incentive. The fact that his father never saw him take the field as an Aggie, or with the 49ers, Dolphins or Rams still pains him. But Armstrong put that fact in perspective and told the kids that if they share that situation, they should too.
“I know I am talking to future lawyers and doctors. I am talking to young men and women who have the mindset of being great. You WILL graduate from high school. And now you have an obligation to graduate from college. You made it here because of the greatness inside you.”
“I’ve never heard anyone talk like that before,” shared a freshman. “I will not forget what Mr. Armstrong said here today.”
Armstrong, who employees 27 employees at his three places of business, says his legacy is giving back. “If it wasn’t for God I don’t know where I would be. I would be doing Him an injustice not to help others.”