Leigh Anne from ‘Blind Side’ inspires students

Raquel Tuohy

Leigh Anne Tuohy from the movie “The Blind Side,” encouraged students to take risks when she spoke via Skype at a National Society of Leadership and Success event on Tuesday.
Tuohy and her family is the inspiration behind the film, which tells the true story of their family adopting Michael Oher, an African American boy who eventually went on to play football for the Baltimore Ravens.
Besides being known from the film, Tuohy is also a philanthropist, interior designer and a highly sought after motivational speaker.
The Skype broadcast featuring Tuohy is part of a broadcasting series the NSLS puts on, which started on Oct. 4 with Dolvett Quince, a celebrity trainer from the NBC show, “The Biggest Loser.”
NSLS member and junior Paige Krieck said she believes the students enjoy the speakers the club puts on for them.
“Students find that everyone featured in these give good advice,” Krieck said. “It’s a good insight to life and what they learn here, they can apply to the real world.”
Tuohy started out the 45 minute presentation by saying adopting Oher was not part of her plan because she was content with her two children.
“I did not put ‘adopt an African American child’ and put him into the NFL on our list,” Tuohy said. “However, when I saw him, as a mother, every warning bell in my head went off.”
Tuohy insisted that her story was never intended to become a movie and that her family didn’t offer any guidance or direction as to how it should be directed.
“The movie was scarily accurate,” Tuohy said. “After watching the film, my daughter said ‘oh Lord, there’s two of you running around. [However,] his story has the opportunity to make a difference in people’s lives, which is why I have to tell it.”
During the presentation, there was a chance for the audience to interact with Tuohy through trivia, polls on Facebook and the ability to tweet in questions for her to answer.
NSLS member and junior Chelsey McCoy explains how the club went about choosing Tuohy for the broadcast.
“The state [chapter] chooses the speaker,” McCoy said. “They try to choose people that are inspirational to others.”
According to Tuohy, everyone in their Memphis community had an opinion on her family adopting Oher including the school principal.
“He [the principal] told me to leave it alone,” Tuohy said. “I remember him telling me Michael Oher is not going to make it. I thought he was talking about the varsity basketball team or the debate team, but he was talking about in life.”
Senior Leah Preston said she liked how Tuohy used the movie as a basis to tell her story.
“I really liked how she replayed her story and incorporated her own personal spin and life goals,” Preston said. “She really inspired me to keep going in life and in school.”
NSLS club president Katrina Krutzik said what she would like to see from the club in the future.
“We plan to expand our broadcasts by having discussion sessions about each speaker after the broadcast is viewed,” Krutzik said. “I believe this will enhance the goals of broadcasts and be more beneficial and useful to students viewing the broadcasts.
Tuohy concluded the broadcast by leaving the audience with a simple message she hopes everyone will follow.
“If there is anything you remember when you get up and leave here tonight, it’s this: we all value people so incorrectly,” Tuohy said. “Society deemed Michael valueless, but there are Michael Oher’s in every nook and cranny of this world. They just need a chance to live up to their full potential.”