“You matter” was the theme of motivational speaker Blake Fly’s powerful and inspirational presentation to SAC’s student body.
Entering Ketchum Auditorium Friday morning, the boys had no idea what to expect. Sitting in the middle of Wirth Theatre was a simple-looking box and a guitar on a stand. Standing stage right was a young man, who appeared to be not much older than our graduates.
At the outset, Blake guided them through a rhythmic exercise, which had them hissing and clapping their hands. Following that, he led them through an intense staring contest with their neighbour. The students were hooked!
Blake went on to speak about his high school friend, “Mallon,” who was teased for “being obsessed” with FM radio. The two of them created incredible morning announcements, but Mallon was judged for being obsessed with radio. Mallon didn’t let his peers strip away his dream and looked forward to someday winning a prize through his favourite station, maybe getting a lanyard, going on a tour, or even landing an internship.
One day, as Blake was sitting in his dorm room, he received an email:
It’s Mallon. Check out this announcement I just made, it’s pretty cool.
Let me know what you think. I couldn’t have done it without you.
Have a good one.
When Blake hit play and a Z103 commercial sounded through his speakers, he knew that his friend had made it – Mallon was a DJ for Z103. His dream had come true.
Blake used this story to impart an important message: be a nudger, not a judger. “When you put yourself out there,” he said, “you don’t know what’s going to happen…focus on the people that build you up because they are the ones you want to surround yourself with.”
The boys were asked to consider their current circle of friends. “Are you hanging out with people who go out of their way to take someone down,” Blake asked, “or are you hanging out with people who go out of their way to build someone up?”
Blake encouraged the boys to brighten someone’s day – say hi, smile, share your talents with those around you. Build people’s self-esteem, encourage them to follow their dreams, and generally be positive toward others. He told them to be inclusive – if you are a person who has the capacity to include others in a group or activity, do so. And lastly, say thank you – it only takes a few seconds, but it will have a huge impact on the recipient.
“Remember to create some space for the things you love the most,” Blake stressed, reminding them to not always be buried in their studies. “It’s the things you love the most that might very well combine with the school work, that combines to be your future career, or the legacy you leave behind here.”
Blake Fly is a TEDx conference host and speaker, author of The Campus Life, and has been featured on City TV, CBC, and national news. He has spent the past six years travelling to schools, mostly speaking to graduating high school students, university students, and parents. See how Blake spreads cheer with his friends on the subway by searching #trainreaction on Twitter.
Story by Nicolette Fleming