Mt. Vernon Middle School (MVMS) students received a motivational and fun afternoon as they prepared for the ISTEP test to take place. The afternoon consisted of an inspirational speaker, Josh Bleill, a $1,500 check presentation to the Wounded Warriors, followed by an ISTEP pep rally with raffle giveaways and teacher vs. student games.
Principal Ben Williams shared with the students, "Tests are a part of life. You will be tested sometimes with paper and pen, but you will also be tested throughout life, whether that be through various challenges or a career certification later in life. We are preparing you for the future, and all we ask is that you do your best. Give 100% effort and you will be fine."
U.S. Marine Josh Bleill carried a similar message for the middle school students. When his Humvee was hit by a bomb in Iraq, he lost both of his legs above his knees along with sustaining multiple other broken bones and injuries. As he walked across the gym with two prosthetic legs, he shared that teachers are preparing you for tests, but also for later in life. He told the audience he has seven pair of prosthetic legs, including water ski legs and scuba diving legs. His disability has not stopped him from missing any of life's adventures; he has chosen to move forward and greet life with a smile.
Bleill grew up in Greenfield and said it is a blessing to be from such a small community.. When he finally made it home after a few years of rehabilitation, he learned what a caring community we live in. He reminded the students that the principals and teachers really care about them. He encouraged the students to give 100% on the ISTEP test. He said to live their lives with a smile and that attitude is everything.
Bleill said, "I know I'm going to fall. But I know I'm going to keep getting up, and I'm going to do it with a smile and a good attitude. Push each other to do your best. I had to make the choice to keep moving forward during some pretty difficult challenges. You can too!"
After his motivational speech, Assistant Superintendent Dr. Tim Long had the entire convocation shouting, "thank you for your service," and then "U.S.A." Mr. Williams then presented Josh with a $1,500 check for the Wounded Warriors Organization that the MVMS students raised.
Following this motivational presentation, students and staff worked together as teams to help students get energized for next week through fun games and raffles. MVMS staff and students have worked hard throughout this year in order to improve student achievement. This pep rally was a way to inspire and motivate the students to do their best.
The ISTEP pep rally proved to be a fun afternoon full of inspiration for the students. Thank you Josh Bleill for your service, and for providing an amazing role model for the MVMS students.