It’s okay to be different

By Kimberly Jenkins -

Jordon Rooney, motivational speaker.

Jordon Rooney, motivational speaker.

Student Hannah Sexton working with Jordon Rooney.

Blaine Scott, Rachel Stone, Grace, and Abigail Puckett working with Ronney.

Fear, everyone has some fear of something. However, personal fear of what is inside of them, may be the most difficult to deal with. On Friday, the East High and Middle School students were given a motivation speech from Jordon Rooney, on how to face and overcome some of these fears.

Hannah Sexton, a student of East Community School, asked her principal, Jim Mahlmeister, if he would try to get Jordon Rooney to speak to their student body during the school year. Mahlmeister said that had had told the kids at the beginning of the year, “if there is someone out there you want to speak to or want to have speak, let me know and we’ll see what we can do.”

Sexton said she found Rooney on Instagram. “I usually don’t like listening to speakers, but I watched his video and it really intrigued me, so I wanted others to hear him.”

Rooney has his motivational speeches on YouTube and uses NFBD-Never Fear Being Different as his slogan. On YouTube, he has this as his Mission: To educate and empower the social media generation by providing thoughtful, socially-relevant content to inspire positive change in our society.

With the help of SOMC, Mahlmeister said he was able to secure Rooney to speak to both East high school and then the middle school also.

Rooney began speaking about himself first, he went to a small school that graduated 48 his senior year, came from a single parent household, and that he started NFBD about two and half years ago. He stated that he had been to about 70 schools. He told the high school student body that he had just been at Mt. Union University to speak. He said that he had played professional football Serbia, Poland, and then Brazil.

Stating that understanding yourself is important, and a big part of that is environment and that is the people around you and the effect they have on you. Rooney told the students that every school is different, “I don’t give the same speech every time, because I think that would be boring.”

Rooney says that there are things you want to do, you have goals, and everything he talks about is things within yourself.

“I started this because sometimes people around me, didn’t understand me, so I started making videos on YouTube have had 16 million viewers in the past month with over 200,000 followers.”

Rooney proceeded to ask the students a question, “Where do you see yourself in 10 years from now? Some answers were, culinary chef, veterinarian, law school, architect, and someone even said, “I want to be a millionaire.”

He mentioned that most kids said they want this certain stuff for their future and that they allow people to get in their way. This he says to the students, “is extremely frustrating to me to see you go through that, because 10 years from now, you’re gonna look back and say ‘I wish I could change things’.”

“People who say they don’t care about anything, usually care the most. Everyone has struggled ,everyone has insecurities, so you can see right through someone who seems too cool and nothing ever bothers them.”

When asking what was the best sports team, the students said Football, as East has won the SOC, two years in a row. He then asked for a volunteer from the football team, and Blaine Scott, a senior came up and who when asked to speak, said he was the president of the class and that they had two championships in football and basketball and he, got the student body to clap then.

Rooney then asked for someone in music and Rachel Stone volunteered. She said what she liked about her school, “I love that we are like a family.” One of the others up front, said that she liked it they didn’t promote negativity. Rooney said, “Each one of you thinks in a different way and are going to face different struggles in your lives.

He spoke to them about when he wanted to do this public speaking, he had people around him who said, you shouldn’t do that, you’re too young to do that. He realized, no one knew what was inside of him and he said that no one has any idea what’s inside of you, no matter where you come from, no matter who you around, no matter what circumstances you deal with, no one has any idea what you are capable of. There is never gonna be an excuse that is gonna make you okay with where you want to be. He also spoke that there are a lot of miserable people they each knew and how it scares him and they don’t want to be that.

He added, “When you are happy, you are more likely to succeed.”

He said as he was speaking at Mt. Union, he used to always feel sorry for himself, “I really had to change, because if I was struggling with something, you could see it on my face. If there was something going on, I could tell, everyone could tell and it left me unhappy a lot and I realized, I can’t control what happens to me, but I can control how I respond to it. Anytime I face a struggle, I think, this is something that is going to build me up, it will make it that much easier than what is coming up next.”

He told the group that people who have dealt with the most, are the most prepared for what is coming up next. “Everything you face will make you smarter and stronger if you face it in the right way. When I graduated college, I sent out, over 5,000 emails to play professional football and ended up playing in Serbia, making less than minimum wage. I ended up getting a contract in Poland, and then in Brazil and I got to travel around the world. I realized every time you conquer a fear, it becomes a strength.”

Rooney finally called Sexton down and had her speak to the audience to overcome her fear of speaking in public. In jest, she couldn’t think of what to say, so she gave a thing she didn’t like about herself and the audience laughed. He said that she bought up something funny to help overcome her fear and that the next time she had to speak it would be easier for her.

Rooney left the group with the following statement: “Don’t get in your own way and don’t let others get in your way.” His short speech gave the attentive students a lot to ponder and think about for some time. He gave them the idea that some fears can be overcome, it is not easy, but is able to be reached, if only they want.

Jordon Rooney, motivational speaker. Rooney, motivational speaker.

Student Hannah Sexton working with Jordon Rooney. Hannah Sexton working with Jordon Rooney.

Blaine Scott, Rachel Stone, Grace, and Abigail Puckett working with Ronney. Scott, Rachel Stone, Grace, and Abigail Puckett working with Ronney.

By Kimberly Jenkins

Reach Kimberly Jenkins 740-353-3101 ext. 1928

Reach Kimberly Jenkins 740-353-3101 ext. 1928