Tuesday, September 29, 2009
Abu Bangura Honors Brookhaven
This past Saturday at 2:00pm, an event I helped organize to honor Abu Bangura (right, chatting with CKHS band members) did not turn out as I planned.
It wasn't the rain at the event or the fact that the previous day's flooding meant Cross Keys' community had a sudden conflict. The football team had their game moved to Saturday at 2:00pm in Decatur HS' stadium due to flooding at their opponent's (Lovett) field. No, though both of these items lowered the turn out, it was not the attendees that surprised me - it was the honoree.
Cross Keys' teachers and coaches had described Abu to me all summer in very positive light. Each time someone spoke of him, they did so with affection. After meeting him, I can understand their universal admiration for this young man. His accomplishments on the soccer field, the classroom, and in the chorus room continue at Piedmont College as they did at Cross Keys HS. His former coaches, classroom teachers, and chorus teacher (pictured above/left with Abu) attended the event to support their former student.
What took me by surprise was his eloquence. After Commissioner Rader, Principal McMillan, Coach Wallace, and I all had our turn at addressing the crowd, Abu spoke. His sincerity and eloquence made us sound like mumblers - he told the young people how honored he was and how they could accomplish anything they wanted to with hard work. He was there for them, not for himself.
He told them how much he cherished his time at Cross Keys and how, after his current season was over at Piedmont, he'd be back to help the younger players at CKHS. In short, he exhibited a humility and good will that was a credit to him, his family, his faith, his high school and his community. Abu truly honored Brookhaven by his visit over the weekend and I can't wait to see him working with the young people at CKHS this winter.
Band Director, Bernard Short (picture below/right, with Dr. McMillan and Abu Bangura), brought out his young people to the event to make a joyful noise on Peachtree Road and did not disappoint. Small in numbers and sporting the better part of a uniform appearance, these kids really rocked the place! They played with precision and discipline. Folks across Peachtree at Hudson Grille turned from their NCAA games and listened and cheered the CKHS band. Little kids bobbed heads to the drum beat.
This is Mr. Bernard's second year and he is making great strides towards reviving what was a dying program. With nearly as many instruments in need of repair as those in working condition, this small band reminded me of our Continental Army - not fully equipped but performing at a high level. Very, very impressive group ...
Look for coverage in the Brookhaven Reporter and via PDS-24 or Kaleidoscope. PDS-24 interviewed Abu and I hope they share some of this video with our community. I'll posted back here via comments when I see any coverage so you can enjoy it! Drop by the Peachtree/Dresden Waffle House and sit in the "Abu" booth ... he said he's going to bring friends down for breakfast and sit in front of the framed jersey to see if they notice it. He is a rascal!