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Caylin Moore Headshot

African American Youth Speaks Wisdom Upon a Crowd

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Caylin Moore from Verbum Dei High School initially wrote up his speech about three weeks prior to the December 1st ceremony at the Beverly Hills Hotel for the Children's Defense Fund "Beat The Odds" awards ceremony. With stars such as Zoe Saldana, Conan O'Brien, J.J. Abrams, Katie McGrath, some of the cast of Star Trek and many more in attendance. He went over it time and time again. He reviewed it with Dr. Sharoni Little from USC, but on the night before the event he ripped up his speech, threw it away, and told a story which his mother shared with him after a week filled with days of turmoil. The story of the Rock. Moore gave the speech directly after a short documentary that was filmed on him was played on two large screens simultaneously.

He was introduced to the stage by former USC great quarterback, Rodney Peete.

"There was a giant rock at the top of a cliff. The rock was right at the edge of the cliff, to the point where it appeared that it could fall off at any moment. There was also a young child who went to God as a faithful servant. He asked God, "What should I do to serve you?" God told him to go out and push the rock.

So the boy pushed the rock for an entire day, but it did not budge. So he went back to God and told him, "The rock didn't budge an inch, what should I do?" Once again, God instructed the teenager to go out and push the rock. This time he pushed it for an entire seven-day week, his muscles straining, his body sweating and callouses building on his bloody hands.

So he went back to God and asked him, "What should I do?" God instructed the young man a third time to push the rock. In blind faith, he went back up the hill and pushed the rock for an entire month. Day and night, pushing a huge rock that would not move. Sweating profusely, all the while building a stronger back and shoulders and gaining in size and strength. Yet the rock did not move.

The man crawled back to God on hands and knees and then said, "I have pushed the rock day and night for so many days that I lost track, and yet it has not moved." Then God said, "This is true, but through it you have built patience, faith, you have grown physically, your muscles have become large and defined, you have been a faithful servant and you have grown from a young child into a man." And then God moved the rock. He didn't tell him to move the rock, but to simply push it in the faith that it would one day be moved."

Then he closed with:

"For the blessing of this scholarship I would like to thank God, my mother and my family, Dr. O'Connell for nominating me, my football coaches, my teammates for trusting in me, Mrs. Marian Wright-Edelman, Saira Soto and Joanna Flores, Dr. Sharoni, JJ Abrams and Katie McGrath, Rex Camphius and his team, Damon Lee, Laura Wasserman, Ruth-Ann Huvane, Carol Biondi, Lauren Sanchez, Conan O'Brien, Sherry Banks from the Fulfillment Fund and the Children's Defense fund of California. Thank you for helping me move the rock."

After a standing ovation, he was warmly embraced by Mrs. Marian Wright Edelman and many of the other teary-eyed crowd members who rapidly exchanged contact information with the awe-inspiring youth. Mrs. Wright Edelman asked him to give her his information right as he stepped off the stage, so that she could write him a letter of recommendation to college.