Select high schoolers speak to seventh graders regarding obstacles, success

Junior Matthew Lewis shares his story on obstacles he’s overcome throughout his life. Lewis admitted to being a “momma’s boy” and that he just wants to make his parents proud in everything he does.

Nicole Buntgen, Co-Editor

Choice high school students were nominated by coaches and sponsors to speak to Middle School Social Studies Teacher Lisa Bales’s Skills for Success class March 4 through March 6.

Students chosen included sophomores Brooke Bell and Cole Martinez; juniors Kylie Hascall, Ross Kirby, and Matthew Lewis; and seniors Ruth Behrens, Nicole Buntgen, Trent Daro, Macy Grotelueschen, Trisha Hruska, Maya Peirce, Sabra Moore, and Morgen Valentine.

Coaches and sponsors looked for leaders in their sports and activities who may be interested in sharing their stories and the obstacles they’ve overcome. Bales said the goal of this whole experience was to make sure students know that success doesn’t come easily.

“Often we only see the glory, but not the story,” Bales said. “As we hear scenarios of others who have overcome challenges to find success, I felt it was important for them [seventh graders] to hear the stories of the kids in our own school.”

According to Bales, Skills for Success is a semester-long class that rotates with Music class every other day throughout the year for seventh graders. She said the focus of the class is to study social and life skills.

“I wish back in seventh grade I knew what I know now,” Bales said. “I can’t go back and do those days over, but hopefully Skills for Success can smooth the path for these students. I’m excited about the opportunities this class has as it continues to develop.”

There was a wide variety of topics discussed in those three days. Behrens, Kirby, and Lewis thanked their parents for helping them along the way through their obstacles. Hruska admitted she thought she would have too many sibling expectations to live up to if she went out for Speech, and thought she wouldn’t be as good as them. Valentine opened up about his wrestling career and how he wasn’t always a great wrestler, despite the high levels of success he’s reached. Bell encouraged students to find a passion and follow it, even if things seem difficult now.

“I think it’s a good thing for kids to understand that success doesn’t come easily,” Valentine said. “They should know that hard work really does pay off in the end.”

Bales said she wants her seventh graders see the value and necessity of hard work to reach goals. She also said that because they’ve been exposed to real-life stories, hopefully the seventh graders will be inspired to keep working toward those goals.

“A strong message was sent to students to get involved early and often. I hear kids say, ‘Maybe next year,’ or ‘Maybe when I’m in high school,’ and the panelists strongly discouraged this,” Bales said. “I hope our students will take their advice and find something here they can be passionate about.”