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BI students told to follow dreams, avoid bullying
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Willie Freight Train Raines talks to Bradwell Institute students about the importance of having goals and self-respect Friday. Raines visited the school as part of his Combat Bullying Tour. - photo by Tiffany King

“Bullying happens when we disrespect ourselves and other people. When you learn how to respect yourself, you’ll respect others.”

Willie “Freight Train” Raines gave this message to Bradwell Institute students Oct. 27 as part of his Combat Bullying Tour under Reclaiming Ground Inc.

Reclaiming Ground is based out of Warner Robins, Georgia. Raines has visited schools in every state and travelled to 27 countries encouraging students, he said.

 “We travel around the country teaching about bullying and the effects of bullying,” Raines said. “And a lot of times we teach what it is and what it’s not, because people have a misconception of bullying.”

Raines told students bullying isn’t a one-time act.

“If I pushed him (pointing to a student) everyday, if I talk about him and make him feel less than what he’s supposed to feel, if I do this consistently that’s bullying” Raines said. “If I say that I don’t like your hair that’s not bullying.”

Raines shared how he taught his daughters to encourage themselves every morning in the mirror while getting ready for school. He encouraged students to do the same and speak positively about themselves.

“If we start using positive words with everyone we meet and start encouraging one another we won’t have a problem with bullying,” Raines said.

Raines said the key to being successful in life is having goals.

 “Once you say yes to your goals and dreams, guess what you’ll say no to, anything that tries to pull you away” he said. “Everyone one of you has a seed of greatness inside of you. There is great potential inside of you. You are here to solve problems. You’re not just here to exist.”

Raines asked students where the richest place in the world is located. He said it was the local cemetery and emphasized his point by referring to a body bag laying on the gymnasium floor.

“In this body bag, it’s not a body. In this body bag are dreams that never became a reality. Ideas that never came to fruition. Books that have never been written, cures that we’ll never know about. Things, inventions that would revolutionize the world, but we’ll never know about because so many people died with that inside of them. My question is, will you fulfill your purpose or will you make a deposit in the richest place in the world?” Raines said.

Raines also performed feats of strength at the end of his presentation to grab students’ attention and drive home his message. He folded a frying pan, tore a license plate in half and broke a baseball bat over his back.

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