DR. LYNN WEAVER: As soon as we got into the school, the principal was calling the role.
He said, "Bill Weaver" and I said, "My name is William."
And he said, "Oh, you're a smart n-word."
I'd been in school maybe 30 minutes and he suspended me.
I don't remember a day that a teacher did not tell me that I didn't belong.
We'd have a test and they'd stand over me and then just snatch the paper out from under and say, "Time is up."
The first report card I got all Fs, including phys ed.
So I've gone from being a good student to starting to think, Well, maybe I don't belong.
Maybe I am dumb.
I was home one evening wondering what I'm going to do when there's a knock on the door, and it's my seventh grade science teacher from the black school, Mr. Hill.
He said, "You know, I understand that you're having some trouble."
And I said, "Yeah, Mr. Hill.
I think they're trying to run me away."
And he said, "What I need you to do is to come back to the junior high school after school, every day and Saturday mornings."
He said, "Can you do that?"
I said, "Yes sir."
And so every day waiting for me would be Mr. Hill with assorted other teachers -- the English teacher, the Math teacher -- and they tutored me.
And once I got past those Fs, I stopped doubting myself.
But learning became almost a spiteful activity to prove the teachers at the high school wrong.
And no matter what I did academically or athletically, I was never recognized at that school.
I never had a conversation with a counselor about going to college.
But during my senior year, I got a letter saying, "You've been awarded a scholarship."
So I ended up going to Howard University.
And 37 years after I left high school, I'm at my older brother's funeral, talking to Mr. Hill.
And I said, "You know, Mr. Hill, if I had not gotten that scholarship, I don't know what would have happened."
And I don't know how I got the scholarship because I never even applied for it.
And he said, "I know, because I filled in the application and sent it off for you."
So Mr. Hill stepped in and, I believe, saved my life.
And, at the time, I didn't realize how much I was being helped.
And that's the ignorance of youth and the wisdom of age when you look back on it you say, How did I get here?
How did I make it?
Because people helped you, whether you knew it or not.