Giving my motivation talk to the 5th graders at Maggiano’s in Plano.

I got a big honor – to deliver motivational remarks to the 5th graders at my former elementary school in Garland, Texas.

One of the 5th grade teachers had seen a blurb written in the GISD newsletter last fall and contacted me about giving a speech at their banquet.

I know for many elementary school probably seems like ages ago — but for me it was a period of enlightenment. It was a place I learned to succeed.

My biggest accomplishment still stands to this day — top AR Reader!
During my 5th grade year, I read over a hundred books and raked up over 500 AR points. Nerd — yes! It was a delight to meet all the graduating 5th graders.
Thank you to the Williams family for the invitation.

The top 5th graders at Williams Elementary.

Below are my remarks:
Thank you for the invite to talk to all the graduates from my alma mater — Williams Elementary. First of all, congratulations to all of you for making it through the first part of your educational career. I was in your shoes about 18 years ago — and let me tell you it goes by fast!

As you move forward to middle school, high school and college — I’d like to share THREE things I’ve learned along the way that I want you to keep in mind.


1. SAY THANK YOU — to those who’ve helped you along the way. There are two educators from Williams I still stay in contact with — my 5th grade teacher Mrs. Garcia and former librarian Mrs. Craft. Both of those women helped me understand that there was a world outside of Williams and Garland. Over the past 20 years, I’ve included them on updates in my life and they’ve given me advice and support. Before you leave Williams — think of those educators and mentors who helped you.


2. BE YOURSELF — middle school will be a chance for you to really get to know yourself. You’ll meet new friends and probably say goodbye to others — but it’s okay. Find people that will challenge and support you. I’ve got a 3 friends who I met in middle school — that I keep up with. Those friends — Angie, Shelby and Elizabeth — knew me as John and still do — even if I’m on TV everyday… they are good friends. So, again, be yourself and surround yourself around friends who love and care for you.


3. FIND YOUR PASSION — it was actually at Williams that I learned I like to talk to people and learn about their lives. I didn’t know it just yet — but that skill is something I use everyday as a news anchor/reporter. From the moment I left Williams — I added to that ‘communication’ skill in high school and college — with classes and internships. And it helped find the career I love to wake up and do everyday. That’s one of the great things that Williams provided — a chance to find a skill that helped set me up for success.


So again, SAY THANK YOU, BE YOURSELF and FIND YOUR PASSION — if you keep those three things I mind over the next few years — you’ll be a step ahead of the game. Good luck — and I expect to see great things from all of you.

Embarrassing 5th grade graduation photo with my cousin, Maribel Estrada.