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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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