Terrence Lee Talley Speaks at Atlantic High School


Laney Brosam

Terrence Lee Telly talks to students about “Not Giving up.”

Anna Potts, Staff Writer

Terrence Lee Talley spoke to Atlantic High School on September 29, 2022. The assembly was sponsored by TS Bank. He has traveled around the country for seven years and has spoken to roughly 250,000-275,000 students, and 500 schools. Talley also has published a book called Secrets Anonymous. The book is about different confessions and stories that students have sent via notes or social media to him after giving an assembly at their school. “Secrets Anonymous” reminds people that they are not battling mental issues alone. The book is rated #1 in its category on Amazon. 

Talley started off the assembly by bringing six faculty on the stage: Mrs. Franken, Mrs. O’Hara, Mr. Hinzmann, Mr. Best, Mr. O’Donnell, and Mrs. Cook-Thielen. They had to dance, sing, and get the students involved. 

In Talley’s assembly, he wanted to emphasize the words, “Never Give Up.” He shared a story about a race he had with his brother, Bug. His brother bet him $100 to race him up a hill. Talley won. “Only way I won is because I didn’t give up.”

He also reminded students that they are not alone. “Someone is in this room and feels utterly and completely alone,” Talley said. “There is someone here for you. It’s important for you to see that someone sees you. I care, but I’m not the only person who cares about you. Today is just in time for you; There are people who care for you.” 

There is someone here for you. It’s important for you to see that someone sees you. I care, but I’m not the only person who cares about you. Today is just in time for you; There are people who care for you.

— Terrence Lee Talley

Talley started speaking at assemblies for two reasons. “When I was in high school, we had this speaker come in and it was talking about his days playing football. ” He felt like the speaker was only talking to the people who played sports. “My friends and I weren’t those people. I was like ‘Man if I was able to do that, I would want the chance to be able to speak to everyone. I want to reach out to more people.'” His second reason was because of his brother. ” (He) ended up taking his own life, and so I just really felt like I didn’t want anyone to suffer alone like I felt like my brother did.”

Talley’s childhood wasn’t perfect. His parents divorced when he was two and he didn’t have a great relationship with his dad. “There were a lot of things that happened within my family and with my siblings. I wanna say that I was normal, but being in a broken home wasn’t normal. Having your siblings addicted to certain things, having your dad addicted to certain things, it shouldn’t be normal but here I am.” He said that he didn’t want to ever be like his father. He currently has three children. Gracey who is ten, Cece who is seven, and Emory, a month and a half. He talked about how he would give them “dad hugs.” He had faculty and staff give hugs to students today, as a means that they are not alone.

Sophomore Nissa Molgaard drew a picture for Talley. The quote on it was, “Life is not about waiting for the rain to pass, it’s about dancing in the rain.” Molgaard said they “thought the assembly was a fun experience, especially because I was drawing for Terrence.” 

Junior Dante Hedrington said, “The assembly was very entertaining and funny. It made me giggle.” His main takeaway from the assembly was “don’t give up because you can’t.”

Sophomore Taleah Akers said, “He understood us, it was entertaining, and funny because of the dancing.” She described the assembly as “overpowering,” and it gave her “more faith and hope in myself.”

Terrence Lee Talley invited six teachers on stage to dance, sing, and get students excited for the assembly. (Laney Brosam)

Freshman Noah Mass thought the main takeaway was also “not giving up and appreciating everything I have.”

Senior Alex Rosenbaum said the assembly made him feel “good, it reminded me there are good people willing to help you so don’t give up.” His favorite part was seeing Coach Best dance. “I liked his energy and the way he acted.” 

Talley said his favorite part of giving school assemblies is to “be able to hear students’ stories and be able to connect with different stories I’ve told.” Talley provided a positive experience for the AHS student body and staff. In addition to a positive experience, Talley made an impact on the concept of being cared for, as well as loved, and that students are not in this alone.