Alvina Alston and Terrell Owens return to WNY to inspire Bennett seniors

Posted at 4:54 PM, Jun 23, 2016
and last updated 2016-06-25 10:19:19-04

It's been 27 years since Alvina Alston last walked the halls of Bennett High School.

"The hallways haven't changed much. The spirit is still here. The spirit is still alive," Alvina said.  "The only difference is the passion has increased and I'm honored to come back and give back."

A graduate of Bennett, after walking across the stage in 1989, the media mogul who has worked at FOX, CBS and ABC and now owns her own PR firm, was back where she once stood as a high school senior, but this time behind the mic.

"What you graduates did today, you have opened a gate, a floodgate of opportunity because of your education," she said. "That is the single most important reason why I am here today is because of my education."

Just a year ago, the Queen City was ranked one of the 100 most dangerous cities in America.  It's also listed as the fourth poorest, facts not lost on the Buffalo native.

"You gave a blow to these statistics. You're proving everyone wrong by you graduation today," she continued.

For the top three graduating seniors, Alston gifted an undisclosed amount of money to the students, to help jump start their future endeavors.

"I want you to plant this seed and open a bank account for your future and invest in you," she told the seniors.

But that wasn’t not the only surprise she had in store for the Class of 2016.

Terrell Owens, the former Bills wide receiver and Future Hall of Famer, who played in Buffalo during the 2009 season, took the stage to and shared words of advice to the future of Buffalo.

"Don't be afraid to make a mistake.  That's part of life," he said.  "You'll have obstacles, but what you've learned here in high school has prepared you for a lot of that."

"Strive to be the best you can be. No one is you and that is your power,” he continued. “Dare to be different. Different is not a bad thing.  Be original be yourself.  That is what makes you unique and no one can ever take that away from you."