Long-time Gainesville political leader and teacher Myrtle Figueras challenged Brenau University students Tuesday not to so much press for change in society as to “be the change you want to see.”
Figueras, a long-time member of the Gainesville City Council and the former mayor of the northeast Georgia city, was the keynote speaker at the university’s annual convocation honoring civil rights leader Dr. Martin Luther King Jr.
“Life is really like a song – a song of joy, a song of peace, a song of love, a song of tranquility, a song of hope, and, like Dr. King, a song of justice, a song of equality for all human beings” she said. Then she asked the students: “Have you started to write your song yet?”
Figueras, who grew up on a south Georgia farm and became high school foreign languages teacher at Gainesville High School and an adjunct professor of French at Brenau, said that students must ask themselves the question, “What is really my purpose on this earth?” Then, they must use their educations to become the kind of persons they want to be.
“Intelligence plus character,” she said, “is a true goal of education.”
She challenged Brenau students to “…be the change that you want to see.” She concluded with a final question, and a final comment, “We will sing a new song, and we will march on until victory is won.”
In addition to Figueras’s speech, the program included a performance by the Brenau Gospel Choir and a performance of a celebratory dance by the Tau Sigma Dance Fraternity.
Please click the play button below to Figueras’s speech in its entirety.