WINNSBORO — Juniors and seniors at Fairfield Central High School received inspiration and guidance during their career day from a young lady not much other than they are.
Raven Magwood, a recent Clemson graduate, was a precocious youth and teen, becoming a national gymnastics champion by age 11 and a two-time published author by age 13. She graduated from high school at age 16 and was a junior at Clemson when she was just 18 years old.
An elite athlete, she competed nationally in track and field from the time she was 15. With a story of girl power and the lure of athletics to capture students’ attention, Magwood penned her latest book, The Seven Practices of Exceptional Student Athletes.
She signed copies of it for the high school students and gave some books to the Career Fair participants.
The Greenville native attended Clemson, and it was the Clemson connection that allowed FCHS to book her as speaker.
Both FCHS Principal David Corley and FCHS Career Specialist Stacey Feaster are Clemson graduates who appealed to their fellow alum to come speak to students in Fairfield County.
Magwood now travels the nation working full-time as a speaker and author, speaking to children in elementary grades all the way up to college-aged young adults. Her big break came with Oprah Winfrey’s boyfriend Stedman Graham.
The author, educator and entrepreneur asked Magwood to speak at a conference in Charlotte. Magwood was 12 at the time, having written her first book at age 11. Her speaking and writing blossomed from there.
Last Friday, Magwood’s message resonated with area youth.
Destiny Coleman, FCHS Beta Club president, introduced Magwood. She also helped distribute tickets to the career fair and to distribute books for Magwood.
“Raven is a very inspirational lady and very real,” Coleman said.
Student Body President Sierra Robinson said they had a nice turnout for the event and that Magwood did a good job. “Hopefully students in the audience will take something from her speech and it will motivate them to succeed,” Robinson said.
During her talk, Magwood mentioned the three “d’s” of determination discipline and dedication.
These young ladies said they really connected with Magwood’s “I am a 10” slogan. That means a teen is to think of herself or himself as being worthy of a rating of 10. Pretty soon the self concept is elevated and that belief translates into confident action and respectful conduct toward self and others.
The message of assertiveness and applying one’s gifts was one Corley was thankful to share with his students.
“She is the kind of person you want to come speak to your high school,” Corley said, “due to her dynamic realism. Students can relate to her because they are about the same age. She has been tested by fire but she has turned her gifts and talents into success in life.”
That pathway to success is one he and school administrators hope their students can emulate.
So does the luncheon’s keynote speaker, Fairfield County Chamber of Commerce President Terry Vickers.
Vickers mentioned the international visitors to the county from China thanks to the Shaw Group nuclear plant because there is the same kind of reactor being constructed in China.
She mentioned local businesspeople such as those who own Carolina Adventure World in Lake Wateree State Park and encouraged them to go check out the new welcome center off I-77 and to check out the Railroad Museum.
By pointing out local and regional opportunities for success, Vickers hopes to steer students toward meaningful careers that are rewarding as well as financially enabling them to earn living wages.
The fair was aimed at opening the students’ eyes to the variety of opportunity that lies before them in this county and in this region and beyond.
Career Fair participants included All South Bank, Boys and Girls Clubs of the Midlands, the Clemson University Extension Office, Fairfield Memorial Hospital, Fairfield County Government, Fairfield County Police Department, Fairfield County Sheriff’s Office, ITT, The Fairfield Electric Cooperative, IT-ology, Midlands Education and Business Alliance, Midlands Middle College, Nashville Auto-Diesel College, South Carolina National Guard, the Herald Independent, Midlands Technical College, Shaw Power Group Nuclear Division, South Carolina Vocational Rehabilitation, and the Workforce Investment Act.