JONTE HALL — ELEMENTARY SCHOOL PRESENTER
Born and raised in Baltimore, at a young age I was offered to smoke and sell drugs. As tempting as it was to say “yes,” and make quick money, I knew early on that my dream was to play basketball. There was no way I was going to let anything get in the way of chasing that goal, especially at the price of doing something illegal or to distract me. My focus was becoming a professional basketball player.
My goal began to come true as I played during my 4 years at Carver High School. In college, I didn’t get to play as much but learned a lot during my time there and it helped shape me into a better player. Then came a set back: after only attending one year of college, I had to drop out and take care of my mom. She had MS and her health required urgent attention.
Life also required that I find a full-time job fast, so I accepted a janitorial maintenance job in corporate buildings. I tried to save as much money as I could to attend different professional minor league tryouts where I could showcase my skills. Sadly I didn’t make any professional teams due to my short stature being a major part of it. The feedback I kept receiving was that it wasn’t related to my talent. That kept me pushing, despite the nay-sayers! Even some of which were family members who would tell me often to “give it up,” and “you’re too old,” yet I was only 25 years-old then!
My mother, who has always believed in me, reminds me constantly to stay focused. Every step of the way during pro tryouts, her words were, “Baby, God has something better for you!” That wasn’t always easy to hear as impatient as I was, because I wanted it right then and there. But as life has played itself out, she has been right.
Reaching my goal of becoming a “Harlem Globetrotter” in 2011 was a dream come true! I was with the team for 8 years and was able to travel to to 57 countries and 50 U.S States. It was truly amazing to touch so many lives worldwide, both young and old! It was a thrill to showcase our talent and our humor to audiences and the smiles on their faces said it all!
Currently, my calling is to help the youth of our country learn to set goals, overcome bullying, and to make better life choices. I love speaking with students and helping them navigate through the challenging years of being a teenager. I still get to entertain and make them laugh like my Globetrotter days but now my mission is to help them make their lives better.
Like my mom always said: ‘’There is something better for you.” BELIEVE IN YOURSELF! I’m taking this message to the youth of America to challenge them to chase and accomplish their dreams! The world is waiting!