Motivational speaker Kevin Atlas came to speak to the freshmen class and all athletes on Oct. 21. The district athletic department arranged the speaker with the intention of giving motivation to the audience with the story of his life.
Atlas started off as a student who struggled with authority, parents, and a disability, one arm. He overcame his challenges by finding basketball. He was turned away by one coach but didn’t let that bring him down. A coach from a neighboring community inspired him to push forward with basketball. Atlas became the first one one-armed man to play in NCAA Division 1 basketball.
Students that attended the assembly said the speech was positive and eye-opening.
Throughout Atlas’s speech he added stories about his divorced parents, depression and suicide.
These issues are troubling teens today. According to teenhelp.com depression rates are 10.7% for 14 years old. 3.0% for 15 years old. 14.1% for 16 years old. 15.1% for 17 years old.
Atlas mentioned the common metaphor “take off the mask” when referencing depression and how people with mental disorders often pretend to be happy.
“Own your nubs”
Atlas was ashamed of it but he grew to love his disability. He compares this to imperfections by saying we try to hide them, but should own them because they make us who we are.
“Change someone’s life in very little time,” Atlas said. “Everyone deserves to be appreciated.”
He believes you truly never know what other people are going through, something as simple as a complement can help them get through the day.
“You deserve to be happy,” Atlas said.