Arel Moodie encourages GEAR UP students to be best they can be


WILBURTON, OK (Oct. 21, 2015) – In celebration of National GEAR UP Week, national best– selling author and speaker Arel Moodie spoke to over 1,200 GEAR UP students at the McAlester Expo Center.

Moodie grew up on welfare in the projects of Brooklyn, New York where he witnessed those around him being murdered and imprisoned. Using determination and applying what he teaches in his presentations he was able to build a million dollar event production and education company while still in his 20s.

Moodie talked to the sophomores and juniors about being the very best they can be.

“With just one little bit of important information, your view of a situation can be changed,” Moodie said.

He told the story of being a telemarketer, calling a house and a little girl answered. He asked to speak to her mother. The little girl yelled to her mother that someone was on the phone and wanted to speak to her. The little girl then said her mother wanted to know who the caller was. Moodie told the little girl his name and the company he represented. The little girl yelled the information to her mother. The little girl said her mother wanted to know what the caller wanted. Moodie said he began to lose patience at the thought of telling a child the purpose of his call. He explained to the little girl that he wanted to talk to her about insurance. The little girl relayed the message to her mom in a loud voice. Moodie’s patience was wavering. The little girl then asked him what kind of insurance. Now Moodie was getting really irritated. He told the little girl. The little girl yelled the information to her mom (and in Moodie’s ear). The little girl then advised Moodie to call her mother on a different number. By now, Moodie had had it! He was going to call that number and give the mother a piece of his mind, knowing that she was just too lazy to walk to the telephone.

When Moodie called the number, he learned it was a TTY number—for the hearing impaired. Moodie’s anger quickly subsided into guilt. With just a little bit of information, he was able to better understand the cause of the situation.

“You have a choice,” Moodie said. “Ask yourself, ‘Am I making decisions today from the best version of me that I can be?’

“You are college material,” he added while challenging the students. “The only thing that will stop you is your choice. If you don’t see yourself making it, you won’t. It doesn’t matter how smart you are. It matters about the effort you put in.”

Moodie told the students to look around to see who’s with you. Friends? Family? You have a group of men and women here—GEAR UP team members—who believe in you! Instead of dwelling on the negatives, look and see your goals, dreams, potential—all that’s around you.

“Instead of operating from the lowest version of yourself,” added Moodie, “take on the best version. Let the baggage go. Change how you see yourself and change your life. Choose not to believe the negative self. When you believe you can’t, it is not possible. Act as if you are the best version of yourself.”

Moodie challenged the students to be great—not just good. From this day forward, make the decision to be great. Don’t listen to anyone who tells you that you cannot do something. Make the simple choice. Leave here and take different actions.

Following the workshop, students ate pizza—thanks to generous donations from Kiamichi Electric Coop; A–OK Railroad; Big V Feeds; BancFirst; Dunn Ford; Southeastern Ice; Roy’s Cardinal Foods; Farmacy, LLC; Public Service Company of Oklahoma; Traditions Home Health Care; Spiro State Bank; Shamrock Bank NA; First National Bank McAlester; Farmers State Bank; Latimer State Bank; Stitch–N–Stuff; Pepsi Cola; Imperial Vending; Pruett’s Foods; and Coca Cola.
“We appreciate the generous donations to help feed the students,” said GEAR UP Project Director Linda Morgan. “Roland Taylor of McAlester’s Pizza Hut was great to work with as was the Expo staff. Several members of Eastern’s staff and the Ag Ambassadors helped serve pizza. We couldn’t have done it without everyone’s help.”

In 2011, Eastern received the Gaining Early Awareness and Readiness for Undergraduate Programs (GEAR UP) federal grant designed to meet the needs of low-income, underserved, and underrepresented students in geographically-isolated, rural schools in six southeastern Oklahoma counties. Eastern was awarded the $12.6 million grant over a seven-year period to serve a cohort of students in 30 partner schools.

In celebration of National GEAR UP week, national best–selling author and speaker Arel Moodie speaks to GEAR UP students.

Arel Moodie challenged GEAR UP students to “be the best me you can be” during a National GEAR UP Week celebration rally.

Eastern Oklahoma State College GEAR UP students write “my best version of me” following Arel Moodie’s presentation.

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