Shortly after Arron Prather won the U.S. Track and Field Masters 60m title in 2006, he began pursuing another dream – creating a track club centered around the Gospel. With a similar diligence that had taken him from an impoverished upbringing in Jersey City, New Jersey to an Olympic hopeful, Prather teamed up with his wife, Anita, an alternate on the 1992 U.S. Olympic 4×400 relay team, to found the Wings of an Eagle Ministry Track Club.
“It was time to change from focusing on me to devoting my life to others,” said Prather, who was recently hired as the new track and field coach at Farragut. “I wanted to share my story with others and help them achieve greatness.”
On Tuesday, January 19, Prather discussed his dream while weaving it into the discussion of Martin Luther King, Jr. in a special event organized by Farragut’s Student Government Association. Speaking to the Upper School students at the DeSeta Chapel, Prather emphasized the manifestation of the dream through hard work and the theme of “never giving up.”
“It’s so important for kids of all backgrounds to understand the notion of staying focused on their respective dream,” said Prather, who trained at the University of South Florida for the 1996 Olympics for the 200-meter event until a torn hamstring derailed his initial plans. “They also need to understand that failure of some sort will come their way, but it is through adversity where they strengthen their character.”
Prather preaches to his students that “obstacles cause some men to break and others to break records.” He reiterated that message to the students during his speech on Tuesday.
He also illustrated how King’s vision of children of different ethnic and racial backgrounds “sitting together at the table of brotherhood” is clearly evident at a place like Farragut, where kids from right down the road interact with kids from the other side of the world on a daily basis.
“I’ve only been here a short time but it’s been a beautiful thing to see kids from a multitude of backgrounds taking class together, eating lunch together, playing sports together, conversing with each other, learning from each other,” said Prather, who previously coached at Tampa Catholic High School.
Ashaunti Brown ’16, who serves as the secretary for the SGA, said Prather’s speech was important both for helping kids understand the value of King’s message and to appreciate the theme of pursuing whatever path is ahead of them.
“It really hit home when he mentioned the fact that Farragut is a place where so many different people come together in a way Martin Luther King envisioned,” said Brown, who had attended middle school in St. Petersburg before transferring to Farragut for high school. “I remember going to a school where there were maybe two people in the student body that were a different race, a majority African-American. It’s been amazing to be here where my view of the world has been enlightened. Where you can learn different languages, meet different people from all over the world, and learn about different cultures and foods. So, Coach Prather’s message about us all coming together really struck a chord.”