HAMILTON TOWNSHIP – Clyde Maxwell recently retired as a full-time substitute teacher in Hamilton Township and other school districts. That followed a distinguished career in the military before working for a number of companies as a medical electronics sales representative.

Based on his experiences, he was asked to serve as the guest speaker at the eighth annual Boys Barbeque at the William Davies Middle School on Friday, May 24.

The group of 52 students and 45 adults who attended to mentor and advise the students listened intently as Maxwell shared his thoughts. He spoke about growing up in South Philadelphia and his eight years of service in the United States Army, including deployment in Vietnam.

“I have a passion for what young males do with their lives,” he said. “Today is the start of the journey called life. You need to start preparing yourself and develop a strong work ethic.

“Your teachers are here to help you. You need to receive their help. If not, you may not make it. Like a building, you need to have a strong foundation. You have challenges that I didn’t have growing up because it’s a whole different world.

“Dedicate your life to do the best you can.”

Following his speech, the students and the adults went to the school’s gymnasium where they participated in a variety of games designed to emphasize teamwork and cooperation. The group then retired to the cafeteria to dine on a wide range of barbeque items, including burgers, hot dogs, grilled chicken, ribs and salmon burgers, as well as numerous side dishes.

Seventh-graders Jhan Fernandez-Esquea and Khyree Jackson participated in the event.

“Since I would like to play football, I was excited that two football players came,” Jhan said, referring to Cincinnati Bengals player Brandon Bell and Bo Melton, currently playing for Rutgers University. “I also learned from the speaker to never give up.”

When asked about the food he replied, “It was smackin'.”

“I liked Mr. Maxwell’s talk,” Khyree, who plans to become an architect, said. “He explained that it’s not the bad things that happen to you but how you recover.

“He should give that talk to kids that are always getting written up.”

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