Student athletes encouraged to follow their dreams

Student athletes encouraged to follow their dreams
December 10
00:00 2015
Photo by Tevin Stinson
Jaylen D. Bledsoe delivers the keynote address during the Branded For Knowledge Awards Banquet on Monday, Dec. 7. Bledsoe started his own technology consulting business when he was 12 years old.
By Tevin Stinson
The Chronicle

Young entrepreneur and technical prodigy Jaylen D. Bledsoe was in Winston-Salem earlier this week to encourage student athletes to dream big, and not let setbacks cause them to sit back.

Bledsoe delivered the keynote address at the 2015 Branded For Knowledge Basketball Classic Community Awards Banquet on Monday, Dec. 7 at the Hawthorne Inn and Conference Center.

“I’m a firm believer in this thing called a dream,” he said. “The moment you begin to dream big and understand your potential, you can achieve big.”

At the young age of 17, Bledsoe has accomplished more than most teenagers could only imagine.

When he was 12 years old, the teen from St. Louis, Mo. started his own information technology consulting business with a dream and just $100. In two short years Bledsoe had 150 contractors working for him.

Since then Bledsoe’s company has grown, the scope of services his company provides is vast, and includes brand development consulting for a number of well-known stars such as Steve Harvey and Jordin Sparks.

Bledsoe said growing up in a single parent home, he had no choice but to dream big.

“In life our dream is our destination, it’s where we want to end up,” he continued. “Often in the circumstances I grew up in, you can adopt a poverty mentality. That mentality that says ‘I’ve been here and I’ll be here,’ but I was determined to reach my dreams.”

Branded For Knowledge Inc. (BFK) is a local clothing apparel company founded on five basic principles: knowledge, pride, power, strength and success. The ultimate desire of BFK is to educate individuals on the importance of creating their own “brand” identity while encouraging them to become strong, responsible and productive.

With that in mind, the Branded For Knowledge Basketball Classic came to life, welcoming freshmen boys from various high schools to learn the importance of teamwork and strengthen their individual levels of confidence while competing in a positive atmosphere.

BFK chief executive officer Bobby Kimbrough Jr. said he wanted the tournament to stand out among the many other tournaments that are held in the area. Kimbrough mentioned the sportsmanship shown by the teams is what makes it different from the others.

“I know there are a lot of basketball tournaments held in this area, such as the Frank Spencer and Mary Garber, but my goal was to make the Branded For Knowledge Classic bigger than all of those,” he said. The level of sportsmanship and dedication from each team is what makes this tournament stand out.”

During the banquet, Kimbrough presented a number of awards to deserving members of the community for their hard work and dedication to improving the quality of life of others.

Founder and publisher of The Chronicle, Ernie Pitt, was presented with a distinguished service award during the event..

Kimbrough mentioned he often stops at The Chronicle just to get Pitt’s opinions on a number of subjects.

“I find myself stopping by The Chronicle a lot just to sit and talk to Mr. Pitt,” he said. “I’ve known him for a long time and he has always been there for me when I needed him.”

Other community leaders who received awards during the banquet include Mayor Pro Tempore Vivian Burke, Dr. Larry Little, Bill McClain, Bishop Sheldon McCarter, David Shannon, Rusty LaRue, Kevin Gates, and Dr. Angella Hauser.

Moses “Mo Lucas and Simpson “Skip” Brown were presented with legends awards during the ceremony as well.

The Branded For Knowledge Basketball Classic is set to tip off on December 12 at Glenn High School. Participating schools include Glenn, Mt. Tabor, Parkland, East Forsyth, NW Guilford, Reagan, RJ Reynolds and Atkins.

The theme of this year’s tournament is “Action is the foundation for future success. Carpe Diem … Seize the Day!”

A number of student athletes said they are excited for the start of the tournament because they get the chance compete against other local schools while making new friends at the same time.


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