Tommy Watson grew up in the Five Points area of Denver, Colorado, a crime-ridden neighborhood with gang violence, drugs, and poverty. Living in this type of neighborhood creates numerous obstacles and challenges for young African-Americans; however, Tommy’s biggest challenges were confronted behind closed doors.
Many negative influences insidiously crept into his home. Throughout his childhood, both of his parents were addicted to heroin, shoplifted, and neither had a legal means of employment. As a result, family life for Tommy and his siblings was quite chaotic, and the children often found themselves unsupervised and uncared for. They often lived in foster homes, shelters, motel rooms, and with family and friends.
In part due to the help of others and in part through his own personal drive, Tommy was able to avoid the traps of drug addiction and gang affiliation that eventually consumed the lives of some of his siblings. In spite of some negative classroom experiences, he persevered, graduated from high school, and earned an athletic scholarship to play Big Ten football for the University of Minnesota. Watson is now a principal in the Minnesota school system, a motivational/keynote speaker and a consultant.
“Tommy Watson is a guy who lifts your spirit…” Jim Zorn- Head Coach of Washington Redskins Football Team & Former Seattle Seahawk Great
“Tommy Watson’s story is both gutsy and inspiring.” KARE 11 -News (MN)
“Watson is proof that no matter how much emotional sludge and misery life hurls at you, you can dust yourself off and keep on going. You can persevere.” Bob Sansevere- St. Paul Pioneer Press (MN)
“It’s like a television story. Tommy has come from below nothing.” Pete Levine- Watson’s former High School Coach
“…he’ll [Watson] be one of the all-time success stories in the history of Minnesota, given his background and all of his hardships.” Bob DeBesse- Watson’s former Collegiate Coach
“When Tommy Watson was sharing his story I felt like crying tears of joy.” Parent
“Mr. Watson’s message penetrates to the core of people’s soul.” Teacher
Tommy Watson has a bachelor of science, a master of educational administration, and an advanced graduate degree in K–12 administration. He is working on his Doctor of Education and works as a school principal in Minnesota. He is married (Akesha) and has four children (Martice, Darien, Torri, and Avery).
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Most Helpful Customer Reviews
I had the great honor of meeting Tommy Watson and talking with him about his life story several years ago. Aside from being a great read, this book is a must for everyone who hopes to understand and/or address the difficulties facing many of our youth all over the country. Mr. Watson's story inspires and motivates, and his perseverance is a model for all those who seek to overcome adversity. The book takes the reader through some of Tommy's harrowing childhood experiences--as well as some of his opportunities--as he hones his athletic skills and his internal strengths. It's almost like we were right there with him. Sharing his fears, hopes and thoughts with us, he allows us to see where we might help other young people in similar predicaments.
Never feel sorry for yourself again - not after you hear Tommy's Watson's life story. Wow - how did he do it? Born in complete poverty in this country, among heroin addicts, drug addicts, gangs, and no parental prescense, he manages to connect with a few key people who gave him the hope he needed to finally break away. Was it a privilege to go to the white elite high school but return every night to a drug-infested neighborhood where he never knew for sure if he had a place to stay? It's interesting to hear his reasoning as he decides whether or not to join a gang, accept liquor as a student. How can we give hope to others in this situation who might not be as lucky as Tommy to be an athelete? It shows what a difference a person can make in a life - and that person could be a neighborhood coach or a college counselor or even a homeless man on a park bench. Tommy is amazing - and a hope for others.
Thanks to the author for inviting us into his life's story. It¿s fascinating to see the odds that he has overcome and the obstacles that he has turned into stepping stones.
I hope every young male gets an opportunity to read this book and know that there is always hope and every dream can be realized with perseverance.
This book totally changed the way I see students growing up in poverty!