Speaker tells the students: Share your blessings and have hope

Date Published: 
March 24, 2017

Coastal Point • Laura Walter: Inspirational speaker ‘Principal El’ joked around with Indian River High School students while encouraging them to be their best selves now.Coastal Point • Laura Walter: Inspirational speaker ‘Principal El’ joked around with Indian River High School students while encouraging them to be their best selves now.There is something to live and aspire for, said the man from Philadelphia. You just have to be ready when that opportunity comes.

He calls himself “Principal El,” and his mission is to motivate, invigorate and inspire students and teachers across the country. The teacher, principal and motivational speaker Salome Thomas-El brought words of wisdom (and a few laughs) to Indian River High School and Selbyville Middle School on March 2.

“You get a blessing and use it to help others. ... It comes back to you,” he said. Doing good in one area might tip the scales toward another good opportunity, such as a job interview or scholarship.

Similarly, “The way you treat people, that will come back to you,” said Thomas-El. “You can say what you want, you can do what you want, but the way you make people feel is what they’ll remember about you.”

He talked about the importance of a good friend who doesn’t encourage you to do something stupid, but to do good and follow good opportunities and choices.

Raised in the Philadelphia projects, Thomas-El was fortunate to graduate from a magnet high school and then college. One day he was guest-speaking at a Philadelphia school, where a student inspired him to become a teacher.

“You’ve got to have faith” and trust adults who have your best interests at heart, he told the students. “I respect where you are and what you go through.”

He encouraged them to give back to their communities as teachers, counselors or social workers.

“I want young people to know how powerful and strong you are as leaders at a young age,” he said. “You are doing so many positive things. ... You have awesome responsibility to make sure you are there for your friends [and make the school a better place].”