Every year, the high school invites someone to speak to the students. In past years, motivational speakers have included men like Marc Elliot and Jeff Yalden, but this year was like no other.
Self-taught musician, Elec Simon, spent his morning at the high school on Thurs., Oct 16.
Simon began his journey on Broadway, performing with STOMP, a music and theatrical performance combination, when he was just at the age of 22. Simon still occasionally performs with STOMP, marking 2014 as his tenth year working with the musical program. Since then, he has branched out.
Simon travels to schools to send a message to students. He talks less about an “anti-bullying” message and more about life itself.
“[Elec] really had a great message. He made us all think about how grateful we should be for the things in our lives and made us all realize that we don’t know what a person’s situation until you really get to know them,” junior Taylor Calvert said.
Simon was inspired by tragedy. When he was 16, he received the news of his best friend’s death. While his name was unmentioned, Simon says he does these presentations in honor of his friend who was bullied into taking his own life.
“Kids are mean nowadays, and respect is the number one issue,” Simon said. “Kids are dying and committing suicide, and the kids might get picked on, and they don’t tell the teacher and the next morning they wake up and hear about that kid blowing their brains out. Treat people right. It’s that simple.”
After working with STOMP full time, Simon made a decision while at a hotel in Lima, Peru.
“I left [STOMP] on my own,” Simon said. “I was like it’s time for me to go to schools and stuff like that so that’s when I left the show because I felt I had to give back and do something to help these kids.”
Simon reaches out to students with music. It is a way to get people involved and interested in what he is saying.
“I use music as bait to pull the kids in,” Simon said. “Like with the elementary kids, it’s tough…. A lot of people can come in and do assemblies, but… how can you get the kids attention?”
People were definitely intrigued by Simon’s association with music.
“[Elec] was different than any other speaker, which made him entertaining,” sophomore Gianna Flasco said.
Simon spoke about his life, telling stories and playing music. He says everyone should smile and speak nicely to others because kindness could change their mood completely.
“There’s always going to be someone mad at the world because they’re mad at their life,” Simon said.
Most students were very pleased by the show Simon put on.
“[Elec was] by far the best speak Stow has had since I have been here,” junior Taylor Calvert said.
Listening to Simon’s message inspired many of the students in several different ways.
“I think he taught us that believing in ourselves gets us extremely far and that you need to not worry about what other people think and just be yourself,” Calvert said.
Simon hopes students will remember not to “let anyone tell you can’t do anything. You want something? Go get it.”