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Here are 10 of the Most Heartwarming Reactions to Rick Rigsby’s “Lessons from a 3rd Grade Dropout” Speech

Here are 10 of the Most Heartwarming Reactions to Rick Rigsby’s “Lessons from a 3rd Grade Dropout” Speech

Dr. Rick Rigsby is a man of many hats.

A former award-winning journalist and college professor at Texas A&M University, Rick Rigsby left academia after 14 years of teaching to start his own company -- Rick Rigsby Communications. 

He now travels the world sharing his story in hopes of inspiring others “to keep standing”, offering corporate coaching, motivational speaking, and encouraging people in the audience to become the best versions of themselves.

Rick Rigsby considers his father to be the reason for his success today -- even though his father dropped out of school in the third grade. He even wrote a best-selling book based on the lessons learned from his father. 

In his commencement speech at California State University Maritime Academy, he shares stories of his father’s strength, wisdom, and work ethic.

"That third grade dropout, the wisest person I ever met in my life, who taught me to combine knowledge and wisdom to make an impact, was my father, a simple cook, wisest man I ever met in my life, just a simple cook, left school in the third grade to help out on the family farm, but just because he left school doesn’t mean his education stopped."

In his speech, Rick Rigsby goes on to say "Mark Twain once said, 'I’ve never allowed my schooling to get in the way of my education.' My father taught himself how to read, taught himself how to write, decided in the midst of Jim Crowism, as America was breathing the last gasp of the Civil War, my father decided he was going to stand and be a man, not a black man, not a brown man, not a white man, but a man. He literally challenged himself to be the best that he could all the days of his life."

Rigsby makes the plea that “excellence ought to be a habit, not an act”; that excellence is always being kind, showing up early, and refusing to settle for ‘good enough’.

He advocates that failure is the best foundation for growth and believes that to influence and impact – is to ‘find your broom’. Because simple, tangible ways of affecting change is what inspires others.

Since his speech earlier this year, many have found truth in Rigsby’s story, flooding the internet with an outpour of support for sharing his story.

Below are 10 heartfelt reactions of people who were compelled to share how Rigsby’s truth impacted them:

Comment in full: "10 Magic minutes of life ... I broke my two ankles two years ago I keep fighting every day, trying to stand in each and every way... trying to never surrender ... it’s so hard living with pain every day walking like a drunk guy .... I will try sir to keep on „stand“ ... this speech is straight in our hearts what a man ... thx so much ‬" 

Comment in full: "Dr. Rigsby was my film appreciation professor while at A&M. The charismatic and caring man you see in this clip, is the man he was every day in class. I wasn't just a data point on a bell curve - He listened, he understood and he heard. Then he would encourage to keep standing and to shoot for the stars. Thank you Dr Rigsby - you were hugely impactful to me and I think of you often and fondly. There's great wisdom in this clip. Keep standing, have a big servants towel and find your broom!"

Comment in full: "Throughout his entire speech, I thought of my grandmother. Born in 1929, in a place so poor that no one knew the stock market had crashed. She was the only girl of seven children who lived, so she dropped out of school to help support the family in third grade. She was a farm hand. She gathered herbs from the Appalachian mountains to buy food. She taught herself to read and write. After she grew up and got married, she made sure that each of her four children (including my mother) could read and do basic arithmetic before they started school. She could sew anything. She could build anything. She could sit down with paper and pencil and draw patterns or plans to scale without a ruler. She thought she was stupid because of that third grade education, but I think she was a genius. The world could do with more of that kind of wisdom."

Comment in full:  "This speech came across my Facebook today. This speech might have just changed me today. I have been down, down on luck, down on confidence and even down on motivation. But this speech , these words and enthusiasm from this man and his story has changed me today. Today I will stand. To whom this man is thank you for one of the best speeches I have heard in a very long time"

Comment in full: "I started watching this and after a couple statements, I knew I needed to take notes. I wrote two pages of notes, tears streaming the whole time. Not only for my children but for myself. So much wrapped into that speech."

Comment in full: "Sometimes, just sometimes, you stumble across something that hits you like a brick. This commencement speech is one of those things.

I have watched this video three times this morning, and each time I say to myself, "this is what America is all about. This country allows a person to be the best that he or she can be.

I personally, consider myself to be a good man, but, truth be told, I have lots of room for improvement. I do try, and sometimes succeed, but more often than not, come up short.

With the recent events in Las Vegas, (my thoughts and prayers go out to the families of the 58 people that died and the over five hundred people that were wounded,) let this video show the world that this is what denotes what America stands for. Not some coward, (because someone that sits on the 32nd floor of a hotel and rains bullets down on innocent people is truly a coward), but America is what this video is all about.

For every "coward" in this country there are thousands upon thousands upon thousands of people that strive to be the best that they can be.

It doesn't matter if your skin is brown, black, white or purple. It doesn't matter if you were born here or in another country. America is a place where people can strive to be the best that they can be. Please don't let a "coward" define what America is all about, but embrace the American's that truly make this country great by being the best that they can be.

Don't let this country be defined by the small percentage of "cowards" that undermine what this country stands for, but by the people that make this country great.

Don't let this country be showcased by the people that try to bring this country to its knees, but instead, embrace the people that do their very best to allow this country to thrive, like Dr Rick Rigsby, and the thousands of people that scratch and claw and crawl to be the best that they can be. That is what America is all about.

I truly believe that this video should be viewed by every grade school, high school and college student in the nation.


Comment in full: "I love this, I can relate coming from a 5th grade drop out father, from Mexico who refuses to give up on us and himself. Who did the process of becoming an American!...on his own. Met a beautiful woman, that Is my mother, and never gave up. He is now an owner of a trucking fleet and has gained the American Dream. But refuses to let us have an easy way out. He has taught us what humble is, before he realized it. He is my hero! I love you Pa."

Comment in full: "I had the honor of meeting this man at a small cigar shop in Addison, TX many years ago. He said everyone just called him "Preacher" and he had written a book about the lessons he had learned from his father. He sent me a copy of his book "Lessons From a Third Grade Dropout", which I read and thoroughly enjoyed. One of my mentors told me long ago you are influenced by the people you meet and the books you read. Well done on both fronts, Preacher."

Comment in full: "My son just ran for Secretary of his school. He came home yesterday really sad and depressed because he didn't win. He's a quiet, introverted kid, so it was totally out of his comfort zone. I repeated that line to him today after seeing this video. I finally got a smile out of him. I could watch this 100 times and never get tired of it."

Comment in full: "My father only received a 3rd grade education, but what he taught us about integrity, morals and life are the most valuable lessons I have. And they are the ones I teach my children. We are truly blessed"

Rick Rigsby’s speech has been viewed over 200 million times and shared widely across the web, with close to 100,000 people commenting on the Goalcast Facebook post alone. If you haven’t yet had a chance to listen to Rigby’s story, you can (and should) watch it here.

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