District attorney shares his Memphis success story - Action News 5 - Memphis, Tennessee

Memphis graduates attribute success to public education

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Stanton remembers that the teachers who were the toughest had the most impact. Stanton remembers that the teachers who were the toughest had the most impact.
Stanton shares that ethic with students enrolled in the now unified Shelby County Schools; he offers kids at Lanier Middle School advice on making the right choices and choosing friends wisely. Stanton shares that ethic with students enrolled in the now unified Shelby County Schools; he offers kids at Lanier Middle School advice on making the right choices and choosing friends wisely.
Stanton says learning is important, but he also puts emphasis on character, especially after being vetted by the White House before becoming a U.S. Attorney. Stanton says learning is important, but he also puts emphasis on character, especially after being vetted by the White House before becoming a U.S. Attorney.
She is a regular on NBC's Today Show and an expert on all things Hollywood, but Arienne Thompson is about much more than just celebrities and award shows. She is a regular on NBC's Today Show and an expert on all things Hollywood, but Arienne Thompson is about much more than just celebrities and award shows.
Arienne learned how to work hard while growing up in Frayser. Arienne learned how to work hard while growing up in Frayser.

(WMC-TV) - Success, as reminded during the Olympic games, serves as an idea that no matter where you come from hard work and determination can take you anywhere. Many Memphis City School graduates fit into this category, but two specifically talked to Action News 5 about achieving their aspirations.

For one attorney, anywhere was back at home in Memphis.

In his corner office with a spectacular view of the Bluff City, native Memphian Ed Stanton, III credits his success to a loving family and the former Memphis City School system. For him, anywhere was back at home in Memphis.

"Education was always a priority in the Stanton household, and subpar work was not an option. While grades were enforced and important, conduct was equally important," said Stanton, who grew up in Whitehaven and attended Alton and Idelwilde Elementary schools, Bellevue Jr. High, and Central High School.

"I look at many of my classmates and the things they're doing now, and I believe we got a top flight education. It was actually cool to be smart," he said.

Stanton remembers the teachers who were the toughest had the most impact. They always pushed the future attorney to do better.

"Pat Strike at Idewilde. My fifth grade teacher. She was one of the meanest, at that time, toughest teachers, but it made a tremendous difference in the work and work ethic she instilled," he said.

Stanton shares that ethic with students enrolled in the now unified Shelby County Schools; he offers kids at Lanier Middle School advice on making the right choices and choosing friends wisely.

"I can't tell you how many times we have charges, and we bring an indictment and we go to trial on an individual just a few years older than you. They were at the wrong place, at the wrong time, wrong group, wrong house, wrong party, and they're serving time all because of one poor decision," said Stanton. "It's unfortunate when I see former classmate or neighbor or friend, that did not take advantage of the resources at school and began to run with the wrong crowd, and that unfortunately is the result."

Stanton says learning is important, but he also puts emphasis on character, especially after being vetted by the White House before becoming a U.S. Attorney.

In addition to having a wife and two kids, Stanton also mentors students in whatever free time he can find.

Woman follows her dream from Frayser to front page of USA TODAY

She is a regular on NBC's Today Show and an expert on all things Hollywood, but Arienne Thompson is about much more than just celebrities and award shows.

"Everyone thinks I have this really fabulous life, and yes, I do a lot of fun things, and I've had some amazing, amazing opportunities, but really what it comes down to is a lot of really hard work," she said.

The former Memphis City Schools student now lives in New York and works as an entertainment reporter for USA TODAY's Life section.

"I would say it's about 80 percent hard work and 20 percent 'fabulosity.' So, don't be fooled by the sheen or glamour. I really do work very, very hard," she said.

Arienne learned how to work hard while growing up in Frayser. Her parents are educators, so doing well in school, was the only option.

She went to Campus School at the University of Memphis, White Station Middle then White Station High School before graduating from the University of Notre Dame and grad school in D.C.

"I'm fortunate enough to come from a family of educators, so it was sort of a no brainer about excelling in school, being academically gifted and wanting to learn, so for me it was sort of in my DNA. So I can recognize that not everyone has that," said Thompson. "I think that sometimes with parenting, if the kid is the first in their family to go to college or sort of has that potential, some families don't know what to do with that. So you need to ask for help. If there is someone at your church or someone in your community who is a teacher ask them how you get to that next step."

Thompson says education should not be a mystery to people because they do not have influence or access.

"I think I would advise kids these days, you know there still are bright kids out there, and there are still a lot of opportunities," said Thompson.

Her opportunities started in North Memphis.

Read some of Thompson's stories here.

Who or what inspired you to be successful? Share your success by emailing Ursula Madden at umadden@wmctv.com. Be sure to give enough information for her to contact you.

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