by Michaela Winberg
Mike Smith, motivational speaker and founder of charities Skate for Change and The Bay in Lincoln, Nebraska, performed in an assembly at WHS on May 20.
Said Drew Newlin, Mike Smith’s event coordinator, “The Bay is an indoor skatepark and youth outreach center that serves as a second home for me and a huge portion of Lincoln's youth.... Skate For Change is the part of Bay that focuses on using skateboarding as a vessel for homeless outreach and community involvement.”
Smith said that he was a bully in high school. “We all have that bully inside of us,” said Smith in a video on mikesmithlive.com. “Every one of us has done something to hurt another person.” Smith added that the inner bully is what inspires him to speak in high schools.
Said junior Alexandra Palatucci: “His story as a whole was very inspiring. His cause is amazing and the journey to get where [he] is today is unbelievable. It's not everyday that you hear about someone going from nobody to popular to the guy who stands up for all the nobodies.”
The assembly concluded with a video of one of Smith’s best friends, Calvin, who was bullied in high school. Smith then mentioned his “Find your Calvin” campaign, in which one apologizes to and befriends someone who feels excluded and bullied.
“Once I saw Calvin's face up there on the screen...I definitely teared up. I was completely speechless and it was incredible to see how much Mike did for Calvin,” said junior Amanda Womelsdorf.
“Mike uses a lot of his own life experiences to mold his talks, but he does an amazing job at crafting his stories into a well-thought-out and comprehensible speech that most students can learn from and appreciate,” said Newlin.
Said Principal Mr. Peter Renwick, “I think [Smith] speaks from the heart and his message is one of positive and responsible choices.”
Renwick added that he plans to continue his communication with Smith and hopes to incorporate Smith’s ideas into WHS’ Transition Project in the future.
Said Renwick, “Ultimately, [the goal is] to change attitudes and have people look at the world differently.