By David Lindenmuth
SHENANDOAH - "We came here because we were hoping to empower students to dream big" Marc Mero, former WWE Wrestling Champion and founder of the "Champion of Choices" program, said of his visit to Shenandoah Valley High School on Tuesday.
Mero presented the program, which aims to address "the issues of bullying, suicide prevention, substance abuse, goal setting, dreaming big, making positive choices and achieving your highest potential", to students in grades 7-12.
"Shenandoah Valley was an absolutely amazing audience, the students were really captivated, they really listened well, and I think I touched a lot of hearts today, and made some changes in people's lives today" Mero said after the event.
"He was brought to us by a parent in our district who thought that his message would be inspirational to us here at Shenandoah Valley. The parent actually had some research and noticed Marc Mero and his work, and brought it to our attention here in the district, and the parent thought it would be a valuable lesson for our students here at Shenandoah Valley, and rightfully so." Waite said after the program.
Mero spoke to the students about his life experiences, how he dealt with them and the effects they had. The issues outlined included childhood bullying and harassment, issues with drugs and alcohol, career rises and falls, and the loss of close relatives.
"He mentioned throughout his presentation today that, you have decisions that, you might look back on and say 'I wish I could've done this over' and now is a time for young students grades 7-12, they can make the right decisions going forward so you don't have to live by the example of what he's been through personally through his life." Waite said.
Mero had advice for students moving forward, as well.
"First of all, if there are any students that are going through adversity, we all go through adversity in life, but if there's some students going through some things in life that, maybe they haven't talked to someone about, maybe they're holding something inside that could be very detrimental like self harm or suicidal thoughts, I'm really hoping they get to the open and talk to someone, talk to a counselor, talk to their parents, talk to a teacher, but not hold it in anymore" said Mero.
"Don't ever give up on your dreams and goals. Life is precious, and so are you." Mero concluded.