Eric Elders, administrator at Belair Academy in the Pine Bluff School District, and students welcomed special guest, Student Minister Abdullah Muhammad, a native of Chicago, Ill., as a guest speaker April 26.


Muhammad speaks to youth and those incarcerated.


“He serves as a motivator, disciplinarian and assistant of (Nation of Islam) Minister Louis Farrakhan in transforming the lives of formerly troubled persons into productive and respectful ones,” according to a news release.


Muhammad visited Belair Academy to motivate and encourage students. As an illustration, he shared some of his personal life experiences and helped students to understand that their daily actions impact themselves and others, according to a news release.


“Several inspiring speakers accompanied him to communicate to scholars that they must pay attention to their conduct in addition to having goals and life plans,” according to the release.


The speakers also asked students to pay attention to the fact that the young version of themselves will be responsible for taking care of the older versions.


“Sadly, too many times young people end up becoming something they never thought they would be, not realizing that the school to prison pipeline is real, echoed some of the speakers. With that being said, scholars were challenged to become leaders and not followers,” according to the release.


According to school social worker, Deborah Thomas, Belair Academy challenges students in a non-traditional school environment to reach success by providing them with opportunities that inspire them to become successful students and citizens within the community.