BIRMINGHAM, AL (WBRC) - "No matter where you come from never let an obstacle get in your way," Tamar Braxton told A.H. Parker High School students on Wednesday. "You can always jump over a hurdle and if you can't jump over that hurdle you crawl over that hurdle, you roll over that hurdle."
The singer and reality star's visit was a complete surprise to students. Principal Darrell Hudson suggested the phone call from Braxton's office to his earlier this week came completely out of the blue. He says the call mentioned that
"Ms. Braxton had heard some things about A.H. Parker High School and wanted to know if she could come out and speak to the students before her soundcheck," Hudson said.
Hudson says Braxton initially wanted to speak to a small group of students but he persuaded her office to include all students. Hudson says since female students have been persistent in asking for programs and events that focus on women, he thought there would be value in allowing all students to hear from Ms. Braxton.
Adding to the surprise nature of the event, once gathered in the auditorium, students were first greeted by Superintendent Dr. Lisa Herring and Mayor Randall Woodfin. Some of the students in the audience had performed at Woodfin's inauguration two days earlier.
The new mayor noted the students were worthy of the attention.
"I just want y'all to know that alone with Ms. Herring, we really love y'all," Woodfin said in brief remarks.
After being introduced by the superintendent, she made her way down the auditorium's center aisle as students erupted with cheers.
Sitting in front of the orchestra well to rather than on stage, Braxton encouraged the students to be steadfast.
"Everybody's not going to agree with you", Braxton said. "Sometimes you have to be your own cheerleader. It's about setting a goal, working toward your goal and living in your goal."
Senior Class President Monae Rowser was among those who were impressed.
"I love when people who are famous come and tell girls it's okay to be yourself and not listen to what other people have to say about you as long as you're doing something good," Rowser said.