Savanna GEAR UP Students Attend a Motivational Speaking Event

Sixty-five Savanna freshman and sophomore GEAR UP students recently attended a motivational presentation in Stringtown, Ok. The event was sponsored by Stringtown Public Schools. Stringtown Superintendent Tony Potts and other faculty members welcomed the Savanna students and encouraged them to listen and participate in the meeting. Students also were introduced to Shelomo Solson, a youth motivational speaker, author, and founder of Teenage Impact. His mission is to inspire teens to overcome adversity so they can make an impact on others. As a child, Solson was bullied for more than 15 years because other children thought he spoke funny, did not come from a wealthy family, failed every reading assessment, and encountered racism and prejudice. After high school, his goal was to become more confident and resilient in life, and share his story with others who may be experiencing similar struggles. Solson encouraged students to write their own underdog story and turn their insecurities into gifts. Using sailboats and sandbags as his examples, he discussed how to remove toxic individuals from their lives and how to surround themselves with uplifting people. Sailboats pull people forward and elicit positive change but sandbags drag people down and are destructive. He explained to students that they may not have control over their emotions but they do have control over their choices. Following the session, students enjoyed meeting and taking photos with Solson.  “This was an uplifting event for our students,” GEAR UP Education Coordinator Denise Lovell said. “Seeing how others overcome adversity is always encouraging.” The field trip was sponsored by Eastern Oklahoma State College’s GEAR UP program. Eastern received a $17 million federal GEAR UP grant in 2017, and will serve more than 3,000 students in 39 area schools for seven years.

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