PTC speaker is huge hit
Skaneateles High School students and staff are still talking about the funny, lively and inspiring messages they heard Thursday, December 17, from inspirational speaker Matt Bellace.
A combination psychologist and stand-up comedian, Bellace urged students to make healthy life choices. He gave humorous examples and practical wisdom that everyone could benefit from hearing. Throughout the classrooms and hallways of the high school, people raved about the experience, calling it one of the best assemblies ever. Thanks go to the PTC.
Bellace used his background in neuropsychology (and his experiences with a brother who “made poor choices”) to tailor his program to the developmental stage of his audience. He promoted “natural highs” and delivered important messages about resilience, positive social support and making healthy choices.
The messages were told with factual and humorous stories that made them real and easy to relate to.
He started by selecting four girls and four boys to perform on stage. He asked them to lean on each other for support (one of his key messages). They started in chairs and leaned into each other. One by one the chairs were taken away … and with each other’s support they did not fall.
Weaving in his own personal stories, he gave realistic and funny examples of how to de-stress and how to achieve a natural high. He led the audience in a brief meditation exercise and also discussed the importance of exercise, laughter, and nature.
He talked about the importance of expressing emotions in a healthy way instead of turning to drugs and alcohol. Exercise and laughter, he said, can alter brain chemistry without doing the damage that comes from unhealthy choices.
He started by telling students that he wasn’t going to tell them not to drink or smoke or do drugs. Yelling doesn’t help, he said. Instead, he showed a different way, and gave facts about neurology (“your frontal lobe doesn’t fully develop until you are 24”).
The author of A Better High, Bellace has been positive and “natural” throughout his life. He started his healthy life mission at Bucknell University, where he created a popular club named Calvin & Hobbes. The university liked it so much “they gave us a house,” he said.
He stressed that some of the biggest personal accomplishments come from experiencing something difficult and painful. His path was sparked by the growing pains and poor choices made by his brother when they were growing up.
“Sometimes the most painful parts can lead to the best parts,” he said. “I ended up doing this.”