Each year the Philadelphia community celebrates Black History Month by inviting a guest speaker back to the community to speak about their success.
The guest speaker this year will speak at the Philadelphia United Methodist Church in Rockingham on Sunday at 11 a.m. Curtis Ingram, a co-captain organizing the event, said he expects a good turn out.
“It will be packed like each year,” said Ingram. “We encourage college kids to come hear the speaker. Each year we choose someone to come back, so kids can see that they too can make it with effort and education. For being such a small community, we have a lot of people who went on to be successful. We’re very tight-knit and I’m glad I was born and raised there. I still have brothers and sisters there.”
This year’s guest speaker will be Alvin Morman, who graduated from Richmond Senior High School in 1987 and continued his education at Wingate University where he obtained a bachelors degree in Business Administration. He went on to earn his Masters of Arts in School Counseling from North Carolina Central University.
After graduating from Wingate in 1991, Morman was drafted by the Houston Astros where he played five years of minor league baseball in Florida, North Carolina, Arizona and Mississippi. In 1996, he made his professional debut with the Houston Astros as a relief pitcher. He spent the next two seasons with the Cleveland Indians where he was a part of the American League Champions team that played in the World Series against the Florida Marlins. In 1998 he played two months with the San Francisco Giants before playing his final year with the Kansas City Royals in 1999.
Morman was inducted into the Wingate University Hall of Fame in 1999 and was inducted into the South Atlantic Conference in 2008.
Morman is now a middle school counselor at Fuquay-Varina Middle School where he has been counseling for the last 13 years.
Morman said growing up in the Philadelphia community provided him with a stable background.
“The whole community is a family,” said Morman. “I was born and raised there. It was a home and everybody knew everybody and if you did something it got back to your momma before you got home. It was always safe and everybody depended on each other. My parents expected the best of us. We knew how to behave in school and they stressed us going to church. Being grounded in church and school helped propel me.”
Morman said he saw and met a lot of athletes that went down paths of destruction, yet Morman said he was never worried about himself being tempted. What he learned about himself he tries to pass on to students he mentors.
“What I tell my students is, it’s in the way you carry yourself, people won’t even ask you to try things,” said Morman. He said growing up, the other athletes never offered him alcohol or drugs because they knew he respected himself and wouldn’t partake. “Mormans don’t get into that kind of trouble. We grew up around our grandparents and knew how to behave. In the church we learned not to speak when someone else was speaking, and not to chew gum. I saw how the men in the church carried themselves, there was a certain etiquette. I had good role models.”
Morman said playing baseball he had some of the best times of his life. He enjoyed the opportunity to travel and meet people, although he stayed busy and didn’t get many breaks. All the while, he told himself that after baseball, he wanted to counsel youth. He enjoyed hosting youth camps and mentoring children.
Morman’s focal point on Sunday will be the power of prayer.
“I don’t think anything could have been done in my life unless someone was talking to God about me,” said Morman.
— Staff Writer Dawn M. Kurry can be reached at 910-997-3111, ext. 15, or by email at email@example.com.
NOTE: The original article had an error that has been corrected. We published the wrong photo of the speaker. We apologize for this mistake.