DJ Ray Ray Life Story... Updated Sept. 2013 Be the inspiration behind a smile! I was born into this world with a condition known as cerebral palsy. My parents were told that I would never be able to walk
or talk plainly and would always be severely handicapped. As far back as I can remember, my parents have never treated me
as a handicap, even though the world had already given me that label.
At the age of two, my parents were encouraged to enroll me in a school called the Children's Learning Center. There, I was
surrounded by other children with severe disabilities. Chris Woods was a class mate there and we became life long close
friends and we attended college together. What I remember most about my school days was the love I received from the
teachers and staff at the Center. School days at the Center were kind of like kindergarten, I guess. We had many activities,
including exercise and physical therapy.
At the age of four, I got my first electric wheelchair. Finally, I gained new independence. Now I could go -- and go I did,
hitting anything in my way. After much practice, I became a pretty good driver, even though I still occasionally make a few
scratches and dents here and there.
I spent four years going to school getting ready for what we called “Big School” – that was the name we had for public
school. After much preparation for Big School, the day finally arrived for me to start. To gradually work me into the
system, I went to the Learning Center for a half-day and Big School for a half-day. Each day after lunch, I would head out in
my wheelchair to Big School which was located next door to the Children's Learning Center. I was ready for Big School,
but they sure were not ready for me!
At Big School, my teacher was not prepared for the challenges that laid ahead. My teacher had no expectations at all for me.
I was placed in an area of the classroom where I was unable to see the chalk board. People could not understand why I was
not grasping the information placed on the board -- and they call themselves normal! My dad had to educate the teachers so
they could educate me.
Well, my first year in Big School came and went with me being promoted to the second grade, having learned very little. In
second grade, I went to Big School full-time. My second grade teacher had been told that my I.Q. was normal, so she
thought I was a genius. Her expectations were entirely opposite of my first grade teacher.
Many were the struggles for me trying to keep up the pace. This was a new experience for the Person County School
System. They were trying their very best to educate a handicapped child...we all were learning as we went along. My first
week in second grade, I was not allowed to go outside at recess because the teacher was afraid that I might overturn my
wheelchair. I was placed at the door where I could watch the other children play. I told my dad what was happening, and he
got that straightened out pretty quickly.
Classrooms were hard for me to get into and out of because there were no ramps in those days. Everywhere I went, there
seemed to be a physical barrier to stop me. Sometimes there were simple solutions to correct the problems, but there was
always the question: "Who is going to pay for it?" Fortunately, I have seen many improvements in this area, but there is
much more to be done.
Well, second grade came and went with me learning very little. It was decided that the next fall I would attend North End
Elementary School, since it was in the school district where I lived. My parents thought that I should repeat the second
grade since my grades had been so poor the first time around. I started to North End that fall and was placed in Mrs. Joan
Rogers' second grade class. I did not particular enjoy the idea of repeating second grade, but it proved to be a smart move.
Mrs. Rogers was very concerned with my achievements and sought ways to improvise so I could complete my work. She
did a lot of simple things to find ways that I could complete my work, like taping my paper to the desk so I would not knock
it off. Some things took me a little longer, but she looked for quality rather than quantity.
Now things were beginning to look better! I was getting smarter and so was my teacher. My “second,” second grade was a
big success. Since at North End everybody knew everybody else, my next four teachers knew sooner or later that I would
be in their classes. I guess they began to talk among themselves, getting tips on what to do with me. Whatever the case, it
seemed to be working out; however, there were still many obstacles to overcome. Without the ability to write, and me
speaking a foreign language that the teachers did not understand, it was difficult for me to express to them what I knew.
Sometimes my dad would come to class and interpret for me when I would take a spelling test. Later I got my first computer
it was called Speak and Spell. As computers improved and new software was developed it opened new doors for me. Finally
I could strut my IQ. I had two wonderful aids named Sherry Whitt and Linda Tippet all the way through grammar school
and we made many fond memories.
As I completed elementary school, I made many friends who were always there to help me in any way they possibly could.
Improvements were made at North End so I could now go almost anywhere in the School. Even though there are still many
physical barriers that prevent me from going places, people are the ones who cause the greatest pain. Sometimes people act
like they are afraid to talk to me. Handicapped people are not looking for your sympathy; we desire your kindness and
friendship just like everyone else. If you believe that making buildings and other places handicap assessable is the right
thing to do, then I challenge you to begin by making yourself handicap accessible. Be a friend, educate yourself, understand
that we may do things a little differently than you, but our hearts are the same.
As I continued through junior high school, many of the physical barriers had already been corrected. Since I was now firmly
planted in the public school system, they had time to prepare for my arrival on the scene. I enjoyed the challenges that were
placed before me, and I took great pride in my accomplishments. My junior high school years seemed to pass by in a flash.
As I began high school at Person Senior High, I was excited to be there.. But guess what -- it was a multi-level school with
no elevator. I spent a lot of time riding around and around the building getting to classes. I have many fond memories of my
high school days, but the greatest day was my graduation. I had many mixed emotions – I was proud of this
accomplishment, but I knew I was going to miss the many friends that I had made over the years. I was right...I still do miss
them. Through out high school I had two wonderful aids, Tim Lewis and Wayne Gadison who were my best buddies.
After graduation, I enrolled at PCC (Piedmont Community College) and took many general classes. Later, I began taking
courses that led to a degree in computers. In June of 1997, I graduated with an Associate Degree in Microcomputer Systems
Technology. While at PCC, I decided to run for Parliamentarian of the Student Government. I put my name in the hat;
however, when the Dean of students hear about it, he did not think I was capable of doing the job and discouraged me from
running. The Dean met with my dad, and it was decided that it would be best if I withdrew my name as a candidate in the
election. Meanwhile, the word got out at school that I had withdrawn from the election and my name was removed from the
ballots. My friends were a little hot under the collar about the situation. On election day, the students wrote in my name on
the ballots...I won by a landslide. I thought to myself, “YES! YES!, NICE GUYS DO WIN SOMETIMES!”
A week after my graduation, my dad and I were in a head-on collision which totaled our van. I was thrown from my
wheelchair in the rear of the van, and I landed on the dashboard. My wheelchair was totally destroyed. If I had not been
thrown out of it, I probably would have been killed. The lady that hit us was killed instantly...my dad and I were pretty
banged up. Thank God that He kept us through it all! Now, I have a different outlook on life. I do not take life for granted
anymore, because I realize that you can lose it in a heartbeat.
In 2000, I started a DJ business called Ray Melton's DJ and Promotion . It was very hard that first year trying to buy my DJ
equipment all by myself, but I brought one piece at a time. Today, I can proudly say that I am one of the top DJ in North Carolina.
One Sunday afternoon in 2005, I was listening to US98.3. radio station “Carolina Ocean Drive” with Mike Brooks and Big Allen D.
They were having a fundraiser to help a mother buy a van for her handicap son. After I had collected money from
my friends and family, we were able to make a nice donation to the cause, so I finally got to meet Mike and Allen in person.
I thought to myself that these guys are pretty cool and I would like to become a member of the beach music family. Now
looking back, I have met a lot of good people in the industry. My dad still finds it awesome how the artist always encourage
me and take the time to socialize with me. Jay Jenkins with “Shagging on the Beach” and Steve Owens with “Steve Owens & Summertime”
are prime examples, of those who allow me to be a part of Friday Night Live, a monthly event during the Fall and Spring.
I moved to Roanoke Rapids, NC in 2006, due to my mom's new job. It was hard at first moving to a new town and not
knowing anyone. After a few years of living here, I have adjusted well and now I love it. I live in an awesome
neighborhood. Although I have made a lot of new friends, I miss seeing my family and friends back home, but I stay in
touch with them through email, facebook, and I visit them often.
In 2007, I was placed on the Cammy’s website in North Myrtle Beach, SC as one of their preferred DJ's. I am one of the
DJ's who has the privilege of rating the beach music songs that go on the beachmusic45.com monthly chart. This website is
the biggest beach music chart in the USA. Beach music is my favorite type of music – I enjoy visiting Duck's, Fat Harold’s
and other beach club in N. Myrtle Beach and cruising Carolina Ocean Drive where shagging got its start many years ago.
I started an online internet radio show called “On the Beach with DJ Ray Ray” in 2008. This show has gained me listeners
from all around the world in 38 States and 18 Countries.
With the help of KHP Record Company, in 2009 I opened up an online music store. Keith Houston, Julian B. Flowers and
Jay Jenkins of Shagging On the Beach, have become very specials friends of mine. Occasionally, Keith even lets me sing
on stage with the Band of Oz.
My radio show was nominated for Internet Beach Music Radio Show of the Year in 2010.
I was featured in the North Carolina Eastern Living Magazine in 2011. Thanks to Jay Jenkins for doing a wonderful job on
the article. My radio show was nominated for a second time Internet Beach Music Radio Show of the Year.
In 2012, for a third time, my radio show was nominated Internet Beach Music Radio Show of the Year. Also that year, I was
the recipient of the prestigious 2012 Carolina Beach Music Association Industry Appreciation Award. In addition, I
started a new adventure, “Ray Melton's DJ and Promotions” along with “Beach Music Events” on facebook which
is growing daily.
I am very humbled and honored that “On the Beach with DJ Ray Ray” received its fourth nomination in 2013 for Internet
Beach Music Radio Show of the Year. Also, I am currently helping The Royal Palace Theatre promote their events.
Thanks to a great number of people who have always been there to encourage me along the way, especially my mom and dad who
knows that I am high maintenance, but meets the challenges every day, I press on to higher heights.