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The Collegian

The Student News Site of Tarrant County College

The Collegian

The Student News Site of Tarrant County College

The Collegian

CBS reporter advises students to seek leadership

Keith.Garvin
Keith.Garvin

By Ali Sabir/reporter

CBS 11 reporter Keith Garvin advised students on the steps to achieving excellence and praised their achievements during SE Campus’ In Pursuit of Excellence summit Feb. 24.

“When I look across this room, … I see another example of the very best that this country has to offer,” he said. “You young men and women who are saying that education matters, they’re saying that their lives matter, and they’re saying that the future of this country matters. To be a part of this event today, to know that there are mentoring programs, you guys don’t know how blessed you are.”

Garvin described the pillars that support excellence. A foundation, he said, is the first and most important thing to have to prepare for excellence. Excellence has two definitions, he said: “the state or quality of excelling or being exceptionally good” and “the action characteristic or featured in which a person excels.”

Garvin, 41, was raised in Bryan-College Station by a single mother and met his biological father at age 34. His mother worked four jobs at one point to keep her family fed and clothed. During the ’30s and ’40s, when the country was divided by segregation, many families remained unified no matter the problems they faced, which, Garvin said, were greater challenges than those of today. Modern children of single-parent homes are more susceptible to dropping out of school, abusing drugs, attempting suicide and having criminal involvements, he said.

“She taught me along with my grandmother at an early age that I could be anything I wanted to be. They gave me that love, they gave me that support,” he said.

Single parents need support, Garvin said, but family structure needs correcting.

Keith.Garvin

“Now, I’m a product of a single-parent household, but if you want to have the proper foundation, we need to make sure that these kids get the situation right,” he said. “I don’t know where we got to where we are in 2012. Family doesn’t even matter as much as it used to. If you want to give our kids a proper foundation where they want to pursue excellence, we’ve got to make that right.”

The second pillar to excellence is to believe in oneself, in one’s dreams and aspirations, Garvin said. These are connected to a strong foundation, he said. As a youth, Garvin dreamed of playing professional football, but he said he had to find the strength to stand before the disbelief of a high school teammate who laughed at him.

Garvin said he found strength and confidence despite the laughter.

“At some point, God somehow placed the love of football in my heart but also showed me that the goal really wasn’t to go to college to become an NFL football player, but the goal was to be able to be a football player, to get that ability, to get that college degree,” he said. “So I had something walking out of that university.”

Garvin attended San Jose City College in the Bay Area and earned a football scholarship to the University of Nevada, where he helped his team find inner strength by focusing on words of encouragement. In the process, the team set a record for the greatest comeback in NCAA history, he said.

“By no means was I a star,” he said. “The goal was to walk out of there with a degree. I want you all to know that if anybody tells you that you can’t do something, if you have a foundation at home, if you have an environment where people love you and are going to encourage you, they are going to encourage you to believe in yourself.”

Garvin’s third pillar is to have a tangible goal — “something that you can really achieve” by putting a plan in place and following it.

“The more you learn about your craft and where you want to go, the more you become an expert,” he said. “And that’s going to help you achieve your goal.”

The next thing is to have a network, which can be achieved by having mentors who will take time to help, Garvin said.

“Once you are mentored, and you get going in your career, you have at some level achieved some amount of success,” he said. “Once you get to that point, even if it’s only three years into your career, it’s time to reach back and become a mentor.”

Garvin said people who succeed are obligated to mentor others and to network. But he offered a warning.

“Don’t burn any bridges unless you know for sure that you never have to cross that river again,” he said. “Always remember, the same people that you cross on the way up, you’re always going to cross them on the way down.”

In Garvin’s last pillar of excellence, he said students should avoid complacency through continual challenges. They should stay current and keep up with the times no matter their career or industry choice. Identifying strengths and weaknesses to bring about improvements where needed strengthens the brain, he said. Garvin said success comes from the lack of success.

“In the pursuit of excellence, excellence does not mean perfection,” he said. “You are going to make mistakes. You don’t want to make them, but you will make them. The key is to make sure that you learn from those mistakes and don’t dwell on them.”

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