;

Motivational speaker inspires Hannibal students

Former professional wrestler-turned-motivational speaker Marc Mero used his wealth of life experience to inspire Dennis M. Kenney Middle School students during an assembly Friday morning.

Kenney Middle School student Alivia Diefenbacher meets with motivational speaker Marc Mero after a Champion of Choices assembly held Friday in the school cafetorium.
Kenney Middle School student Alivia Diefenbacher meets with motivational speaker Marc Mero after a Champion of Choices assembly held Friday in the school cafetorium.

Mero, who gained notoriety as a wrestler with the World Wrestling Federation in the early 1990s and later struggled with addiction and adversity, brought his message of hope to Hannibal students.

He recounted his years of fame and fortune and detailed how his life went from happiness to heartbreak to happiness again.

“Happiness is the key to success and it’s a choice we have to make,” Mero said. “We are defined by the choices we make.”

Each student has the ability to make his or her own decision, which can be difficult to do when it comes to peer pressure, Mero said.

“We all have an impact on each other’s lives. Your friends are like elevators, they can either take you up or they’re going to bring you down,” he said.

Although Mero had negative influences that brought him down, he said he never lost hope or belief in himself. That message resonated with students, as each received a goal-setting card to fill out and write down their aspirations.

“Put the cards in a visible spot,” Mero said. “If you see the goals in writing every day, the more likely you are to take action toward them. When you stop dreaming, you really stop living. I want to empower you to dream bigger than you have ever dreamed before. Unlock the champion you are destined to be.”

With a strong message of self-belief and anti-bullying, DMK counselor Meg Jaworski said the assembly functioned as an important tool to inspire students.

“It’s essential for these kids to see somebody with challenging life circumstances who was able to overcome those challenges and share those experiences to motivate others,” Jaworski said.