Lawrence Scott (’11)-West Point graduate, former D1 football player, author, motivational speaker
Q: What is one of the most memorable moments you have from South High?
A: The one memory that stands out to me was winning the State Championship in the 4×100 meter race alongside my brother, Alphonso Scott, along with Kevon McGrew, and Robert Adams. Winning the Gold medal wasn’t the highlight, but rather the School Assembly and Pep Rally we had to kick off the next School Year. I remember standing on the track with my 4×100 teammates and being acknowledged in front of the entire student body. Holding my brother’s hand and lifting it in victory was the biggest highlight of my time at South High.
Q: What was it like being an author and having your book Bleed Awhile being out?
A: Bleed Awhile has really opened my eyes to see the impact one can have when they produce what is in them to produce. Since its release, I have seen so many personal testimonies of how it has helped individuals. Whether it be through tough times or personal growth journeys, Bleed Awhile has genuinely touched lives that I would have never imagined having influenced. It has shown me that written ideas truly travel further than any one person can. It stretches through time and covers great distances. Seeing MY book in the hands of High Schoolers and CEOs, both telling of how it has helped them has been so incredibly fulfilling.
Q: When did you know you wanted to be a motivational speaker?
A: I don’t think I know it now. To be honest, it has always been a part of who I am. I am burdened to meet I need to see. Often the needs I most easily see are mental and emotional ones. So I speak to those needs to help people overcome them. That was the idea behind Bleed Awhile. It was simply speaking to a need that I saw people could use some help with. However, I never confuse what I do for who I am. I am not a motivational speaker. Speaking is what I do. Who I am is much more than that. Who I am is more defined by my purpose. So, when my activity changes, my purpose should not. I should always be aligned. I may not always speak or write, but I should always be in line with my purpose. Purpose is not hard to figure out. If you know the answer to these three questions you are well on your way:
What am I passionate about?
What am I especially good at?
What unique opportunities do I have?
Purpose will find you at the intersection of these three answers.
Q: Did you think you were going to go pro after going D1 for football?
A: I did think I would go pro. I had big dreams to succeed at the highest level. However, I was introduced to something called injuries. They humbled me very quickly.
Q: What activities were involved in South High?
A: While at South, I was involved in the Drama, Band (Bass Clarinet), Football, Track, Baseball, Student Council, and a host of other activities.
Q: What’s your overarching message when you speak to people?
A: When people hear me speak, I want them to begin believing that they have purpose meant to be shared with the world! We all have unique gifts and talents that are meant to solve a problem in the world. I want people, in my voice, to find the problem they were placed on earth to solve. If you ever leave my presence and you feel more discouraged about your purpose than when you entered it, I’ve failed to connect!
Q: What’s your advice to people who want to reach Division 1 for athletics?
A: My advice to anyone who wants to play Division One sports is ‘Don’t try to play D1 sports.’ Try to be the best son or daughter you can be. Try to be the best student and friend you can be. Try to be the best Teammate you can be. Be a leader. I can’t stress this enough. If you are talented enough to play Division One sports, you will. The only thing that will stop you is failing in one or all the areas mentioned above.
Q: Do you get nervous before your speeches or are you okay with speaking in front of people?
A: EVERY. SINGLE. TIME! I’m actually nervous responding to these questions. I take my voice and my influence very seriously. I always want what I say to meet the intent for which I said it. However, as nervous as I am, once I start speaking, it all goes away and it’s time to make a difference!
Q: What was your most memorable athletic achievement while at West Point?
A: While at West Point, I was plagued with injuries that kept me out of playing condition for most of my career. My senior year, the most memorable thing I did, while injured, was created a plank as a totem to root my team on during the biggest game of the year. It was a big deal to me because I knew I wouldn’t make a difference on the field because of my injury. This was my way of staying in the game and getting the crowd pumped up. I walked campus with that board all week before the game and held it all game. I received a lot of media attention because of the board. People wanted to know what it stood for or what the significance was. I had to tell them it was simply my small way of doing what I could to help my team win.
Q: What is your advice for people who want to go to military academies?
A: I would suggest talking to someone who went to the academy in your area. Every city has an alumni association that should be easy to look up and contact. Get connected and talk to them. The Academies are not for everyone. I would make sure you know everything possible before deciding to open an application. In the meantime, focus on maintaining a level of success in the classroom and extracurricular activities. It’s important to work on your leadership NOW! Being well rounded and engaged in your school and community are great ways to do that.
Q: Where do you see yourself in five years?
A: In five years, I will likely be running for a political office.
Q: What teachers do you think had the most impacted you at South High?
When I was at South, I was most impacted by my coaches, and the people who didn’t necessarily teach me, but went out of their way to engage me in thought provoking discussions. People like Joanna Budd (Busby), Patrice Aitch, Beth Hopkins, Joe Rosewell, John Heath, Travis Blevins, and Rob Lappin stand out to me.
Q: What are some of the most memorable places you spoke at?
A: I will always treasure speaking in front of my peers and their guests at my high school graduation. It was a special moment. I still remember that speech, “Push.” I was encouraged by that moment and hope others were too. I’ve had the privilege of speaking in different places around the country and even for the West Point football team, but that day will always stand out to me as a time I truly connected with my purpose.
Q: Did you ever expect yourself going this far for football or even motivational speaking?
A : I don’t think I’ve expected the way this has happened for me. I’ve always been a big dreamer. I still see so much out there left to go get. The most unexpected thing will never be how far. For me, it will always be the route to get there. It’s always full of unexpected twists and turns, but I love the journey!
Q: What from South high made you do the things you do today?
A: The people! If you look at the people around you and truly pay attention, you’ll see how individually complex they all are. Everyone has an entire life outside of their interactions with you. They have 24 hours in their day just like you. They have experiences you don’t and may never know about. Their lives outside of yours however, will most definitely influence your interactions with them. When I think about all the students, staff and faculty that I interacted with, I think of all the unique life stories that develop unique emotional and developmental needs. I saw at a young age that I was gifted to speak to those needs. So that’s exactly what I began to do.