NEWBURG — The gymnasium of the Newburg High School was full Monday morning with teachers and administrators from six area school districts. It was the Frisco League's annual Personal Development Day. Every fall, staff from Crocker, Iberia, Stoutland, Richland, Newburg and Laquey gather for a day of workshops and presentations. This year it was Newburg's turn to host the event.
Motivational speaker Thomas Dismukes was the day's main speaker. He had the more than 350 teachers captivated with his stories, humor and antics.
"I am not hear to tell you anything new;" he told the audience, "I am here to encourage you to keep doing what you are doing."
He used the acronym FOCUS to get his point across. F stood for first things first. It was here that he dazzled the educators by balancing two six-foot ladders on his chin for about 10 seconds.
Dismukes is the Guinness World Records holder for balancing 95 pint size glasses on his chin for 17.8 seconds. He did this in 2005 at a minor league baseball game in Johnson City, Tenn.
"We have to have balance in our lives," he told the crowd after the ladder stunt," he said. "We need to be able to be wild and crazy at times and also be able to shut up and be still."
O stood for others. "Do unto others as you would have them do unto you...but you do it first," Dismukes shared.
C stood for character, communication and consumption. "Are you on the outside when you claim to be on the inside?" he asked the teachers.
U stood for understanding. "Understanding always seeks understanding. Keep abreast on what is going on. You are never too old to learn," he said.
S stood for the source. "Go to the source. In your classrooms do not allow seeds to be planted that you do not want to harvest," Dismukes explained.
The 50-minute talk was a hit for Crocker Title One reading instructor, Beverly Watson.
"It was excellent. I loved his enthusiasm he was very captivating," she told the Daily News. "He had me taking lots of notes."
After Dismukes's opening session, the education staff went to various workshops throughout the school building. The day wrapped up around mid-afternoon.