MEMPHIS, TN (WMC) - Actress Elise Neal spoke at Shelby County Schools' The Parent Institute Saturday.
“I feel like the conversation has gotten down about public school systems and what people can achieve here in Memphis, Tennessee and it was important for me to come here and speak and let them know and see someone who has thrived and moved on and has a career and a passion,” said Neal.
The native Memphian said she left her hometown to pursue her dreams of dancing and acting, but her heart is always here.
She graduated from Overton High School and departed soon after.
Neal then went on to star in films like 'Paid In Full' and 'Hustle and Flow.'
"I love Memphis and when I left it wasn’t about not loving the city," said Neal.
Parents who attended the workshop received support on topics like juvenile justice, financial literacy, and leadership.
Neal also shared her journey with them.
“To have someone who has been as successful as she has but not to forget their roots, to be able to come back and say I started here, I was educated here and this was the platform that I stepped off of so the sky is the limit for those who choose to pursue it,” said SCS parent Sharonda Walker.
That is the exact message Neal passed off to the children.
"Kids follow your dreams and figure it out" said Neal.
She encouraged them to grow and be their best selves.