The brother of Patrick Henry Principal Ingrid Bynum, Reynolds spoke about the challenges he and his sister overcame in their childhood.
“We would come home sometimes and our lights were cut off or sometimes our water was cut off,” Reynolds said. “My sister and I overcame those challenges. We pushed through and found the way to find careers for ourselves and build a life for ourselves where we were not only surviving but we were thriving, which is the real goal.”
Bynum joined Reynolds in addressing the students, as did Interim ACPS Superintendent Melanie Kay-Wyatt. The promotion ceremony recognized students graduating eighth grade along with students who have achieved academic excellence.
“Every single challenge, even in your young life today, will be one that trains you for a bigger challenge later that you will be more prepared for,” Reynolds said. “Everyone in this audience wants to do something great. Nobody here woke up this morning saying ‘I want to be mediocre.’ The truth is that no one can stand in front of you and take your future from you. No one can intercede in your path and keep you from going where you want to go except for yourself.”
Reynolds spoke about the importance of students surrounding themselves with friends who build them up and support them and the dangers of letting social media affect their self-esteem.
“In society today, in particular with social media, we can let people we've never heard of do something internal to us that makes us feel bad,” Reynolds said. “We have to empower ourselves and know that where you are is where you are meant to be.”
Reynolds concluded his remarks by making an analogy to his chosen profession.
“The key thing to remember is that you are not only the star of your own film, you are the director of your own film and you are the producer of your own film,” Reynolds said. “What you choose to do with it and how far you choose to take it is 100 percent up to you.”