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Thursday, September 27, 2012

Jeff Yalden, International Motivational Speaker, Speaking at Rockwood Area School District on October 26th

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Roaming the halls, you may have discovered posters of a man dressed in casual attire, tattoos revealed down his arms. At first glance, he appears much different than the usual formal speakers that we have had in the past, and that is a completely relevant assumption to make because he is much different than any speaker we have had in the past. His name is Jeff Yalden, and he is a motivational speaker that has travelled the globe and taken part in many national conventions. He has even made an appearance on MTV.

I was inspired to bring him to our school after attending the Pennsylvania Free Enterprise Week (PFEW) with Adam Sleasman, Brayden Kerr, and Sam Gary, courtesy of Wheeler Bros., Inc. Here, I heard some of the best speakers in my life. The highlight of these speakers was Jeff. We heard hours upon hours of speakers, but he still managed to connect with everyone in the audience and keep them alert and focused.

Jeff Yalden stressed the idea of living one’s life to the fullest by making good decisions with his slogan “Take Time To Think.” He told stories, both humorous and emotional, that engaged the whole audience and provided them with valuable lessons. He made each person see the value in his or her life and realize that he or she has it better than most people. He told us to live each day as if it was our last, and used the famous speech of Jimmy Valvano to support this. He showed us that everyone in the crowd could achieve success and happiness, even someone with the lowest SAT scores in a state like him. As part of his “Take Time To Think” slogan, he stressed that one should not make destructive decisions, such as using drugs and alcohol, in order to achieve happiness. He connected with teenagers in a way that no other speaker could and is recognized as one of the best youth speakers in the world.

After hearing him speak, I, along with my friends and everyone else in the auditorium, knew that he needed to come to my school. We believed that his visit would not only raise the level of spirit in our school but also affect the philosophy of every student on a personal level. We all agreed that it was a great idea and set forth to bring it to life.

After contacting him and receiving information, I found that Jeff carried a much heavier cost than any speaker that we have ever had at Rockwood; it came as no surprise, however, after witnessing his speaking skills and reading about all of the events and places that he has spoken at. This did not discourage my friends and I, however, because we knew that the benefits experienced by the student body would greatly supersede the cost.

After much research and planning, we finally put together the money within the first month of school. Because of the level of determination exhibited, the district has committed this year's assembly funds towards Jeff Yalden. This was much less than we needed but was matched with more funding from the Communities in Schools of Pennsylvania. We were nearing the cost and after a visit to the Somerset Drug and Alcohol Commission, they agreed to help fund our event. We now had enough to host one show but had an even better idea; we would invite the students of Turkeyfoot to enjoy this great event at a highly reduced cost and gain enough money to host two shows.

Jeff Yalden will be visiting us on Friday, October 26, and his appearance will be the grand finale of Red Ribbon week. There will be two shows in the morning, one for junior high and another for senior high. I am confident that the student body will be greatly impacted by his visit and cannot thank Mr. Bower and the community enough for the hard work that has gone into making this happen. 

Published on the official Rockwood Area School District Web Site:

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