On Super Tuesday, the Georgia Presidential Primary was not the only buzz around the Wesleyan campus. During program time on March 1st, the student body got the privilege of hearing from a unique speaker. HK Derryberry is a motivational speaker who encourages all to live life to the fullest. Derryberry has cerebral palsy, which is a disease that affects body movement and muscle coordination and is blind, but he has overcome a tremendous amount of adversity to become a successful public speaker.
Derryberry and Jim Bradford, his mentor and friend, inspire people across the world. They have made over 50 appearances and have talked to over 8,000 people since 2011. Derryberry’s story is one of overcoming tremendous odds. He was born weighing two pounds and three months prematurely causing a number of health issues. He was able to fight for his life for 96 days at the University of Vanderbilt’s medical center.
Derryberry provides a shining example of how thinking positive and having optimism can get you far in life. His relentlessly positive attitude and uplifting spirit, despite his condition, should inspire all of us to continue to believe in the impossible. He blended humor and funny stories to help the audience understand that his life can be used to help others.
Principal, Jeff Plunk, told the Green & Gold about the first time he heard about Derryberry. He said, “I heard about HK through a vendor at the Artist Market last year. I was walking through Yancey looking at the art and struck up a conversation with one of the artist. He had recently heard HK speak and asked me if we ever hosted guest speakers. He told me about his amazing story and I was intrigued enough to visit his website and reach out to HK and Jim.”
When asked why he wanted HK to speak to the high school, Plunk said, “I didn’t have a set goal in mind because I had never heard him speak. I simply thought this young man had an amazing story and I thought we could all (faculty included) benefit from hearing his testimony. I thought he was a huge blessing and encouragement to all of us.”
Sophomore, Kelsey Rappe said “I thought it was really inspiring how he overcame all the adversity. I also thought his meeting and following relationship with Jim was really cool.” Derryberry inspired the whole high school to have a different view of life.