Developing strong character

Motivational speaker Stephen Mackey will address student-athletes from the San Felipe Del Rio CISD Friday afternoon at the Carl P. Guys Memorial Gymnasium beginning at 3:45 p.m. This is for incoming student-athletes in the 7th to 12th grades.

San Felipe Del Rio CISD’s student-athletes have been training their bodies this summer in preparation for the upcoming athletic seasons.

Friday, their character and leadership skills will receive a little training as well.

Motivational speaker Stephen Mackey will speak to student-athletes Friday afternoon at the Carl P. Guys Memorial Gymnasium at Del Rio High School. His presentation, 2Words Character Development, is open to all incoming 7th to 12th grade student-athletes. It is scheduled to take place from 3:45 p.m. to 5 p.m.

Parents are welcome to attend as well, but they may need to find seating on the visitors’ side of the gym as organizers are expecting a packed house on the home side.

San Felipe Del Rio CISD Athletic Director Ric Smith said this is the first time in his memory that a speaker has been invited to address the student-athletes prior to the start of the school year. He said Mackey’s presentation will be geared strictly for the student-athletes as a way to motivate them to be better leaders and improve their character on and off the field.

“(Mackey) is pretty well recognized through the athletic side of high schools,” Smith said. “I read somewhere that he’s presented at over 400 high schools and 100 school districts.”

Mackey’s bio on his official website – – states that he gives over 275 speeches a year.

Smith added that Mackey’s presentation will also serve as precursor to the introduction of a character development curriculum the district will implement into its athletic program this year.

“It’s 36 weeks of a weekly video that bases everything off two key words for that week, such as ‘sacrifice required’ or other words like that. There will be a five-to-seven minute video we will show the kids as well as some kinds of lessons related to it,” Smith explained. “There are various lessons geared to specific situations, such as for the whole team or specific to team captains or just seniors. There will also be a little saying every day that week related to what the two words are. We are going to talk about doing things the right way, how to treat people and we will have a guideline to help make them better people overall.”

Smith said the school district had a similar plan in place several years ago through its own Del Rio Cares curriculum, but that was aimed at the academic side.

“We decided to add this to the athletic side. It will strictly be done through the students’ athletic periods,” Smith said. “Anything we can do to make these kids better citizens, students, brothers and sisters, that’s part of our responsibility. Our goal is to make these kids better citizens.”

Mackey has also agreed to make a separate presentation Friday evening at the Texas Community Bank Community Building, 410 Pecan St., for invited guests. Smith said the evening presentation is for coaches but some administrators, school board members and specially invited guests are expected to attend. Smith added that the evening presentation is not open to the public and is by invitation only.

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