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Student Comments

Below are West Virginia University Students' comments about the Spring presentation of Student Athletes Speak Out held on March 19, 2013. 
Speakers Sports Speech Titles
Will Clarke Football Neither an Anchor nor a Sail
Averee Fields Basketball Enough
Bryanna McCarthy Soccer Halfway There
Kevin (KJ) Myers Football G...O...A...L...S
Brandon Napoleon Football A Man of Value

On March 19, 2013, I attended a presentation named “Student Athletes Speak Out”. This event, involving five WVU student athletes, was surprisingly insightful and enjoyable. They shared their journeys to becoming great athletes, the challenges they faced, and how they’ve grown into better people because of their experiences. Before arriving to watch these motivational speeches, I had no idea what to expect because I had never attended them before. I was elated to hear that the athletes had been to several Morgantown area schools to speak to young students. Once I learned that the speakers were actually very nervous, despite the fact that they had shared their speeches many times by then, I felt as though I could relate to their on edge feeling about public speaking. Especially since, I guess, I have always put college athletes on a pedestal, believing that they are all perfect in their abilities. I quickly learned that they are anything but perfect and that they struggle, just like other students, with pressure and stress to succeed. 

I enjoyed all of the speeches, but two of them stood out as my favorites. One of them was entitled “A Man of Value” by Brandon Napolean and the other, “Lacking Self Confidence” by Bryanna McCarthy. Brandon spoke of his father and all of his accomplishments. I appreciated his message because, despite his father’s success, he still saw the importance of a good education and working hard for what you want in life. Brandon didn’t expect to have things handed to him. One thing about his speech that stood out to me, was a lesson his father taught him while growing up, “Success starts with a good foundation in education.” Bryanna spoke of her struggle with low self-confidence throughout her life. She is a soccer player, and when she was younger she was the shortest on the team, which put her at a disadvantage height wise. I enjoyed her speech because she openly shared how she still struggles with confidence despite her success in her sport. She has played as a professional on the Canadian national women’s soccer team, and is a current member of the NWSL on the Western New York Flash team. Her story is inspirational for younger students because she sends the message that even people who have lots of talent face low self-confidence and struggle with feeling like they’re never good enough. The student athletes were professional and motivational. I could especially see how young children could be positively influenced by listening and looking up to role models such as these.

Two presentations that really caught my eye were presented by two young men on our football team. Will Clarke and Brandon Napoleon’s stories were the two that really spoke to me. The commonality between these two young men was that their fathers were present in their lives and helped raised them. Both mentioned how thankful they were for having their dads in their lives, and how they helped them reach their goals.

Even though they didn’t mention it directly, a mature audience could figure out they were addressing racial stereotypes. The stereotype that African American fathers aren’t present in their child’s life. Both mentioned how they had friends whose fathers weren’t involved in their lives, and they felt blessed when they looked up in the stands and saw their dads. Even though both of these young men had their fathers in their lives, they remind us that many kids grow up without a father. I believe that is the message they want us to take away from their speeches.

Today, both of these young men are a part of our football team. They both earned college scholarships and in Will Clarke’s case, he is the only family member who will graduate from college. Both worked hard to get to where they are now. Both had to move from public schools and get into private schools to focus on school and football. Private schools gave them the opportunity to stay out of trouble and in the end reach their goals. But, without their fathers it is almost impossible to predict if their lives would of turned out differently. If they grew up in a single mother household, would they be as passionate in sports? Would they have the drive and support to make something of themselves?

Will Clarke and Brandon Napoleon are very lucky to be where they are now. They are both lucky to have fathers who wanted the best for them and pushed them to do their best. I believe they are very successful in sports because they had a male role model in their lives. Will and Brandon grew up in different areas and although their message is similar their stories were very different. Both did a great job with public speaking and with their speeches. They both included jokes into their speeches which helped the audience really connect with them and want to listen to their stories. From all the speeches we heard that day, Will and Brandon’s are the only ones I really remember, and I think that shows that they both had great speeches. A great speech should leave a memorable impression with their audience.

Student Athletes Speak Out is something that I look forward to attending every year. When I was asked to attend this year I immediately got excited. The speeches that these young adults deliver teach you a story and a life lesson. Some of the speeches reach out and pull at your heart-strings. They give you motivation to improve yourself and to work to achieve your dreams. Hearing athletes, who are always in the public eye, talk about their problems helps you realize that you are not alone. Everyone goes through problems. The way we fix that problem is what counts. 

The first speech that I would like to talk about is Bry McCarthy’s speech “Halfway There.” The topic of her speech was self-confidence. Even though I am not an athlete I can relate to this speech because I have problems with this. At times I get discouraged and feel like I am not doing good enough to achieve my dreams. Bry’s speech showed me that even people who are the best at something still struggle. She also taught me not to give up and to work hard. If I work hard and do the best I can I will accomplish my goals. 

Second, I would like to talk about Averee Fields’ speech “Enough.” Averee’s speech was about how she before college she never felt like she was good enough. After coming to college she realized that she was good enough. She had to go through a rough time to realize that she was working as hard as she could to reach her goals. This speech stood out to me because I can relate to Averee. My competitive major makes me feel like I am never working hard enough or good enough. This speech taught me that if I put hard work into something and do the best that I can do then I am working hard enough. 

Third, is Brandon Napoleon’s speech “The Value of a Man.” This stood out to me because he was talking about the keys to success. In this speech he talked about what you have to do to be successful. He also talked about the success of his father. I can relate to this speech because I have had to give up things to achieve my goals in college. Like Brandon, my friends were not being a positive influence in my life. Also, I relate to this speech because my father is my biggest supporter. His accomplishments make me want to work hard and achieve my goals. 

Lastly, I would like to talk about Kenneth Myers’ speech “G.O.A.L.S.” This stood out to me because it was about the steps you take to achieve your goals. The letters that helped me the most were “A” and “L.” The letter “A” stood for overcoming adversity. Throughout my life people have told me that I couldn’t achieve my goals. This helped me realize that I can despite what people think about me. The letter “L” stood for letting go. I have had to deal with this in my life because I have had to let go of negative people. During my first year at school I had to distance myself from friends because they were bringing me down emotionally and educationally. Once this happened I was able to focus and work to achieve my goals. 

All of the speeches at this function helped me realize that I can succeed. I may not be doing the best, but I am working my hardest and being the best that I can be. These speeches give me the drive to achieve my goals and overcome any obstacle that gets in my way. Seeing athletes, who are always in the public eye, have troubles gives me hope that I can also succeed just like they have.

This year’s athlete presentations were very motivational and I can see how they could especially make an impact on middle school students throughout the community. Each athlete brought a unique perspective to the audience, but all remained positive and inspiring.

First, Kenneth Myers from the football team talked about G.O.A.L.S. and how to achieve what you want in life. His acronym stood for “go, objectives, adversity, letting go, and sacrifice. He emphasized the need to find positive friends and also leave bad friendships to be better off and do the right thing. 

Next, Brandon Napoleon from the football team talked about “A Man of Value” and being a successful person. He stated that “success starts with a foundation of a good education” and that staying in school is very important. He gave the astonishing statistic that 19,000 students drop out of high school and that the average annual salary for this population is $27,000. This lead him into his discussion of “learn more, earn more” where he discussed going to college to earn more money with your degree. His dad’s accomplishments of getting a full football scholarship, joining the NFL, writing a book, being a teacher, and owning a record label inspired him to be a hard worker. This was my favorite speaker for many reasons. For one, I think it would have been extremely beneficial for students in the middle schools to hear the statistics about dropping out and how little money they would make if they did so. I also thought that Brandon was very thankful and proud of his father for being so accomplished. It was nice to see how much he admired him and aspired to be like him. 
Bryanna McCarthy then spoke about self-confidence in her speech entitled “Halfway There”. Bryanna is from the women’s soccer team. She discussed her lack of self-confidence throughout her life and how she was afraid of failure. When she was recruited, she didn’t feel like she would measure up. Now that she’s a part of the NWSL and is moving to Buffalo, NY she finally feels like she’s good enough. At the end of her speech she quoted Eleanor Roosevelt who said, “Believe you can and you’re halfway there”. 

Will Clarke from the football team then spoke about his family in his speech entitled “Neither an Anchor nor a Sail”. Will spoke about how he was the only one in his group of friends who had a supportive father. Will is also the only family member to graduate with a four year degree. He told a funny story about how his dad made him wear vision goggles when he was playing football and how firm his father was about not letting him wear contacts. 

Lastly, Averee Fields from the basketball team spoke about striving for perfection in her speech “Enough”. She was homecoming queen, prom queen, and had straight A’s in high school. When she came to college, she realized she didn’t need to be perfect and only had to do the best she could. She ended with “I am not perfect, but I am enough.”

The next speaker was football player Brandon Napoleon. The title of his speech was called ‘A man of Value’. The one thing Brandon strived to accomplish was to be successful. Brandon struggled in his early years of school. He faced alcohol and drugs in middle school. During those years, Brandon was hanging out with the wrong people. They were creating a negative atmosphere for him. Following his gut feeling, Brandon stepped away from that crowd and became a great student in high school. He focused hard on making good grades and becoming the best football player he could be. His dream was to play football for West Virginia University. Not only was that his dream, but he ended up following that dream. Brandon described his father as his hero and idol. He wanted to be successful just like him, but most importantly he wanted his dad to be proud. Hard work and dedication led him to be the person he is today. The advice Brandon gives to young teenagers is to not drop out of high school. Brandon’s message was clear. Do not let your friends pressure you into being someone you are not. Follow your dreams and you can be whoever you want to be in life. 
Bryanna McCarthy, or better known as ‘Bry Mac’, is West Virginia University’s soccer star. The title of her speech was ‘Halfway There’. Bryanna began by saying most people see her as a strong, competitive woman. Her success at this university on and off the field has taken her to where she is today. Not only was she a soccer standout at this university, but she is currently playing professional soccer. Even though Bryanna has all this success, many people do not know what she hides emotionally. Surprisingly, Bryanna lacks self-confidence. She has always been insecure of her height since she was a young girl. As Bryanna goes on the field for a game, she notices how much bigger her opponents are. She asks herself, “How am I going to be able to get passed these girls?” Even though Bryanna is one of the best players on the team, she still has insecurities like everyone else does. She describes herself as a normal human being. Bryanna would talk about how she is afraid of her future and what will happen. She was not sure if her athletic abilities were good enough and her negative thoughts started taking over. Bryanna soon realized how talented and successful she really is. She stressed that it is important to believe in yourself and to know that everything will turn out fine. 

Averee Fields is part of the West Virginia’s Women’s Basketball program. The title of her speech was ‘Enough’. Averee started off by describing the type of person she is. She was the valedictorian of her high school and made a perfect 4.0 grade point average. She was captain of her basketball team and also ran track. Averee was also named Homecoming Queen at her high school. Not only did Averee strive to be perfect, but she was never sure if perfect would ever be enough. Averee’s first year at West Virginia University opened her eyes. She was in a new environment and surrounded by people she did not know. Also, it was a shock to her when she experienced being yelled at for the first time by her basketball coach and conditioning coach. Everything changed in a blink of an eye. Averee had to learn to deal with the obstacles of being a student-athlete and not being perfect. She always wondered if being perfect was ever enough. Averee soon realized that life is not about being perfect. There will always be obstacles in your way, but it is important to stay positive and focused on the important things in life. You may get yelled at or get a bad grade, but no one is perfect in this world. Positivity is what will keep you going in life and surrounding yourself with people that care. 
6. Averee Fields delivered a well-crafted, personal, and interesting speech. Her introduction was impressive. She started by listing her numerous accomplished and difficult goals she had reached. Elements of humor, hardship, and triumph followed as she shaped her direction and purpose. She used humor to connect and engage her audience in an effective way. This also helped diffuse the serious nature of what she was speaking about. Her speech was an account of how coming to college and striving for perfection made her realize her true purpose and desire to reach people spiritually. Pressures from moving to an unfamiliar place combined with harder athletics and academics brought her to this conclusion. The hardship of moving to an unfamiliar place is something many students at WVU have to deal with. I think that many students who are used to being the best at their sport can go through a stage of shock when they arrive at a large school. There are so many more people to compete with and Averee talked about this effectively. She used examples about her new coaches and practices were much more demanding and difficult than ever before. This speech was such that anyone could take away something from it. Incoming freshmen could gain motivation and student athletes might be inspired. 

The subject matter of Will Clarke’s speech was serious, but also balanced with humor and personal anecdotes. He discussed the importance of having an involved and caring father. He was able to support this idea with stories about attending a rough high school, excelling in sports, and finally about how he will be the first male in his family to graduate college. In addition to his own experiences he included a variety of facts and statistics to back up his claim. I felt that his topic was one of importance and that it would be great for students as well as parents to hear his speech. He also wove in an entertaining story about sports goggles and how embarrassing they were for him. In addition to being funny it helped illustrate the level of care his father showed towards his well-being. 
I am not very interested in sports, but I was able to relate when the athletes discussed how hard it was to do well in school and maintain her level of performance. Putting my best effort into music and school can be challenging when I have performances three nights a week, practices, and work. From their speeches I realized that I am not alone in facing this type of challenge and that many other students are going through this to even greater extents. It gives me strength knowing that student athletes like Averee Fields are striving for perfection and reaching their full potential. 

Watching these speeches also reminded me how important presentation, appearance, and demeanor can be. While I don’t know any of the people who spoke, their speeches each left me with an impression of who they were. Averee’s speech showed that she was confident and also humble. Will came across as grateful and caring from his content and delivery. The ability to show who I am as a person will be very important in my future career. I will need to make a good impression on my clients in order for them to be comfortable and receptive to treatment. I want to make sure that I present information on disorders, assistive devices, and procedures in a way that is clear and memorable. Having seen the athletes’ speeches will be helpful towards my future presentations at schools, conferences, or at places of employment.

On March 19th five West Virginia University student athletes presented motivational speeches. I really enjoyed all five of the speeches. Every speech was different, and unique to the student athletes, and yet I could relate to each and every one of them. As the athletes presented their speeches I would scan the room and see how everyone seemed to be nodding their head in agreement, shedding a tear, jotting down inspirational quotes or smiling. I think it’s great that these athletes share their stories with the adult community, fellow college students, and especially the younger students. I think that everyone can take something away from their stories and apply it to their lives. Strive to succeed, be the best you can be, have confidence, get a good education, and be thankful for the people whom support you. 

The first student athlete that spoke is football player here at West Virginia University, Kenneth (KJ) Myers. The title of his speech was G…O…A…L…S. He chose this as an acronym for: go, objective, adversities, letting go, and sacrifice. Kenneth then went on to explain what each of those words mean to him, and how he has set goals for himself, and achieved them by acting on the words.
The second speaker, Bandon Napoleon, is another football player here at WVU. The title of his speech was “A Man of Value.” Brandon spoke about what he thinks the key to successes are to lead to a being a man of value. He started out with saying that success starts with a good education. He said, “People who learn more, earn more.” Although that quote could be talking about money, Brandon thinks that it’s not about making money, it’s about following your dreams. I thought that was a unique way to think about being a man of “value.” He thanks his father for setting that example for him, and showing him how to be a man of value. He closed his speech with saying that you should want to succeed as much as you want to breathe. 

The third speaker Bryanna McCarthy, a soccer player, presented her speech entitled Halfway There. Although Bryanna is a terrific soccer player, she used to, and still does struggle with her self- confidence. I think a lot of people could relate to her story, including myself. Bryanna has had difficulty really believing in her athletic ability. She talked about how she was self-conscious about her height and weight, despite the fact that she was offered to play on the National Women’s Soccer League. She thanked her family and coaches for never giving up on her, and for trying to boost her self- confidence. She explained how important self- confidence is and closed by quoting Theodore Roosevelt: “Believe you can, and you’re halfway there.” 

The fourth speaker, Will a football player here at WVU presented his speech “Neither an Anchor nor a Sail.” Will told everyone how he was the only one of his friends growing up with a real father. He is also the only one who is going to graduate from a four -year university. Will stressed how a good education is important and that gangs will be the anchor that sink you.

The final student athlete who spoke about being “Enough” was Averee Fields player on the woman’s basketball team. She told everyone how she used to strive to be perfect, but soon found out that there was no such thing. She could only try to do her best, and that would be enough. She said that she realized there is more to her, and life than just basketball. She had said her true purpose in life was to make people smile, and allow people to see God’s light shining within her.

During the Athlete’s Presentation, I was extremely impressed with all of the speakers. Not only is it difficult to give a speech; but also, to be videotaped and present in front of respected members of West Virginia University’s staff. This was my first time viewing the Student Athlete’s Speak Out program; therefore, I wasn’t sure what to except. However, the speakers and their stories moved me. 

Although, the entire athlete’s group did a great job, one stood out from all the rest. I’m not sure if this could be due to the fact that he might be a small giant or how well he captured his story. William Clarke, also known as Will, is a defensive end for West Virginia University’s football team; however, Will is much more than a football player. The title of his speech is Neither an Anchor Nor a Sail. He begins by describing the area in which he grew up and attended high school. Taylor Allderdice High School, near Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, is not only where Will attended high school, but rappers like Wiz Khalifa and Mac Miller. This area is known for violence, drugs, and other illegal crimes. William describes sharing similar life characteristics, but one thing set him apart from many of his fellow classmates. Will had a strong father that stood beside him and his sibling throughout their lives. My favorite quote from Will’s speech is, “My father didn’t teach me how to live, instead he lived and I watched him do it.” Will’s father provided him with a real role model, giving him someone to rely on and learn from. 

A good father can be hard to find. I’m able to relate to this story because I also have a father who taught me many important life lessons, unlike many of my close friends. Nothing could be more important than teaching children to succeed but by showing them how to through a parent’s example. William describes his father as someone to be proud of. His father encouraged him to excel in multiple athletics. In high school, Will played football, basketball, and ran track. Will believed that if he could beat the olds and be the best he could be within athletics, his father would be proud of him. He also knew that during the many events Will performed in, his father would always be present. 

Will’s father provided an example to his children, just as my father did with me. His father taught Will and his sister what was right and wrong. He taught Will how important it was to receive and education. These two important lessons have resulted in Will never being in trouble with the law and becoming the first male to graduate from a four-year university in his family. The influence of William’s father taught him how to live a happy and successful life.

Attending the Student Athletes Speak Out event at the coliseum was a great learning experience. The athletes who came to give speeches were all quite impressive. They discussed topics that were relatable to anyone and also inspirational. I thought it was so nice that there is a program like this where athletes who children look up to come to their schools and talk about issues that the kids can really relate to and take something from what the athletes speak out about. I could tell that the speakers had put forth a lot of thought into the content they included in their speeches and the messages they wanted to convey.

One of the speakers, football player Brandon Napoleon, focused on the keys to success in his speech. He began his speech by touching on points like running with the right crowd in school and making friends who have similar positive goals as you do. Brandon said that by having friends that have similar positive goals as you do you could cheer each other on. He also told us that we should take our education seriously and that hard work does pay off. He spoke of his father being his role model and how his strong work ethic rubbed off on him. He ended his speech with telling us to follow our own personal dreams.

Another speaker I found entertaining and inspirational was professional soccer player Bryanna McCarthy. She talked about how she struggled with her self-confidence due to her height. This was surprising to me because she is such a successful soccer player. Bryanna then talked about how at times she didn’t believe in her athletic abilities, but then went on to say that she now feels that she is good enough. She also discussed how her parents were a positive influence in her life because they always supported her and her choices. She ended her speech by telling us that she had been recruited to play soccer in Buffalo and how she is now living her dream of playing soccer at the professional level.

The last speaker I found memorable was football player Will Clarke. The main focus of his speech was on the fact that he had a positive male figure throughout his life (his father). Will talked about the fact that many of his peers didn’t have a father in their lives and how that negatively affected them in different aspects of their lives. He said he always knew his father was there for him and didn’t have any problem with saying no to being involved in gangs or doing drugs because of his father’s influence on his life. 

This experience has contributed to my professional growth because it has shed a light on ways to move forward and succeed in life even when you feel like you’re not good enough or others try to distract you from your goals. It was uplifting to hear these well-known athletes talk about their own insecurities. They were good role models for me and I’m sure the young students they spoke to in front of different schools. Brandon’s speech taught me that I should take my education seriously and make goals for myself. Bryanna’s speech taught me that even when my confidence is low and I feel like it is impossible to reach my goal; I should push through that feeling and always try my hardest. Will’s speech helped my professional growth by making me think about my own upbringing and how that has contributed to who I am today, and why I make the choices I make when faced with other options that would in some cases hinder my growth.

I really enjoyed the athlete’s speeches. This was my first time watching the athlete’s speeches and it’s something I will never forget. When you think of the athletes at WVU, you think that that’s all they do. They were really good at sports and that’s their whole life. Hearing these speeches, however, you see a different side of these athletes and I liked it. This is the side that many people can relate to. It shows that they are only human too. 

There are two speeches that stuck in my head the most. The first was by Bryanna McCarthy, titled Halfway There. Bryanna talked about how she always had a low self-confidence; whether it was sports or the fact she was very petite. She talked about how she didn’t believe in her athletic abilities but she loved the game. She actually got recruited by WVU while she was in an Alabama training camp. After all of Bryanna’s success, she finally started believing in herself. She was a hard worker and was completely dedicated in whatever she was doing. She is now graduating WVU and has been signing by a Canadian professional soccer team. Bryanna finally has the confidence she’s always wanted. 

I really liked Bryanna’s story. I remember going to the WVU Women’s Soccer games and watching her play. In my opinion, she was the best one out there and I admired her. When I saw she was one of the speakers, I was excited. Once she started talking, I admired her even more. We actually had something in common. I played soccer all of my life as well and one thing my coaches always got on me about was how low my confidence was about my abilities. I thought this was really cool, not only did I admire her on the soccer field, but we had one huge thing in common- the low self-confidence. 
The other speech that stuck in my mind was the one by Will Clarke called Neither an Anchor nor a Sail. Will’s speech started off by explaining about the place he grew up in. Most of his friends didn’t have a father figure. In fact, he was the only one in his group of friends who had a supportive father. He recalled how his dad was always there for him. His dad never missed a football game, basketball game, or track meet. He felt very lucky to have his dad always there for him. He was also proud to follow in his father’s footsteps and play college football. He ended with saying his dad’s love was what guided him. 

Will’s story was touching. I thought it was really nice how he credited all of his success to his dad’s love. It was something to see a big, tall guy, like Will, stand up in front of everyone and express just how much his dad meant to him and how big of a role he played in his life. Will was a soft-spoken guy too, which I wasn’t expecting. This added even more to his story.
One thing I learned from these speeches was that you can’t judge a book by its cover. These people, who just happen to be athletes, all have a story to tell. I thought each speech was good. They gave me an insight into their lives and that’s something you don’t get to experience every day. I also thought it was really neat to be able to see that these athletes were just like the rest of us. I would go to see these speeches again.

I really enjoyed listening to the athletes’ speeches. There was a variety of different topics and each one had a good message. The speakers included Kenneth (KJ) Meyers, Brandon Napoleon, Will Clarke, Bryanna McCarthy, and Averee Fields. The speeches talked about the athletes’ internal struggles and life lessons they learned. 

Kenneth Meyers’ speech was entitled “GOALS”. He said that GOALS was an acronym for go, objectives, adversity, letting go, and sacrifice. He talked about how his experiences taught him what it takes to reach goals. He identified each part of the acronym and gave and personal example of what he had to do to achieve that part of the goal.

Brandon Napoleon was the next speaker. His speech was about being successful. He talked about how watching his father work hard taught him good work ethic. He explained that in order to be successful you have to put in the work and make sacrifices. It may not be easy, but to get where you want to be you have to do what is necessary.

Will Clarke’s speech was “Neither an Anchor nor a Sail”. He talked about how lucky he was to have his father in his life. His father was an active parent and served as a great role model. He also spoke about how he his father showed him how to live rather than telling him. This taught him to make his own decisions and do what he knows is right.

Bryanna McCarthy spoke about her lack of confidence. She talked about how she overcame her self-esteem issues by working hard and dedicating herself to her sport. Her story is a good example for younger girls that everyone has things they are self-conscious about, even athletes. She shared her own personal struggle and told how she learned that her value was not found in her physical qualities like height, but in her abilities and dedication.

Averee Fields talked about her struggle with trying to reach perfection. She was on top of everything in high school and then when she went to college she was no longer the best. She had to realize that perfection is unattainable, but your best is good enough. This was a great message for everyone; people often feel the stress or need to be perfect, when they should be happy with their best.
All of the athletes had positive messages and did a really good job with their speeches. They spoke about topics and issues that many people can relate to. These athletes are great role models because they overcame their struggles and learned from them.

I was very happy to receive the privilege of being able to attend the athletes’ speech for his spring semester. There were five student athletes, three boys and two girls, all who proved to be successful in their sport careers. It was great to see and hear about such motivated people. These students weren’t slackers or just people who got lucky at being talented at the sports they played all five of these athletes worked very hard to get themselves where they are today and are truly dedicated to being the best they can be. Besides the students dedication I noticed that they all were very well spoken and did a great job with presenting their speeches. It didn’t look like any of them were nervous in the least bit, which is often rare to see with these sorts of events especially with all the camera flashes in front of your face.

One athlete I took note more to what she was saying was Averee Fields, who is a member on the women’s basketball team. Her speech was titled Enough and I thought it was great. Most athletes you know are perfectionist especially at the college and professional levels because they are always striving to be the best because of such high competition. She said how she always had the mentality like she was never good enough even when people would tell her how good she was and mention her in the media. It got to the point where it was too exhausting and too much and she said what it all comes down to is that you have to realize you can only do so much and you have to learn to realize that you are enough and that you will never reach perfection. I completely agree with that statement because we are all our own biggest critic. I thought it was nice to see an athlete actually realize when too much is just too much. 

Another athlete that I enjoyed hearing speak was Brandon Napoleon. Brandon based success off of his dad who was a former WVU football player in the 1980s. By living and seeing the life his father made for himself it helped him realize that anything is possible. Hearing about his father’s success story and how he is so inspired by him was really nice to hear and see because you can truly tell his father was his hero and that he doesn’t take things for granted. I think what I enjoyed about his speech most was how happy and a comedic he was in telling his story. He wanted the audience to have a good time and laugh a long with him and feel like they were just having a one on one conversation with him. 

I do think this experience has contributed to my professional growth because it proved to me more that you only can do so much and that is something you really need to come to terms with in your profession. Not many people can and are always striving for perfection but nothing is perfect and you can only do so much. I also found that it is very important to stay professional at all times but you also need to have a sense of humor so that you don’t always take things so seriously. I believe this can create a more comfortable environment and help reduce stress. Most of all this experience really showed me how much hard work, dedication, and motivation are really important and you just need to keep going after your goals because one day you will reach them all if you put your best effort into it.

The speeches presented at the Student Athletes Speak Out were all very inspiring. There were five students who presented personal, motivational speeches about events that happened in their life. Each student’s speech was unique and told the story of what inspired them to become a successful student athlete. 

The first student that spoke was Kenneth Myers, also known as KJ. He currently plays football here at WVU. The title of Myers speech was “G…O…A…L…S.” He talked about why it is important to set goals if you want to be successful in the future. Each letter in the word “goals” stood for a word or phrase that helps you accomplish your goals. The letter “G” stood for the word “go.” Myers said that you need to go accomplish your dreams; go do the things you have to do to succeed. The letter “O” stood for the word “objectives.” Myers said you need to be aware of what your objectives are, and make sure you complete each objective along the way. The letter “A” in goals stands for “adversity.” You need to be aware that there are times that are going to be hard along the way, but you have to keep pushing towards your goals. Myers had to overcome many forms of adversity throughout his life, but now he is a successful college athlete. The letter “L” in the words goals stand for “letting go.” Myers talked about having to let go if you want to succeed. He said you have to be willing to give whatever it takes to accomplish your dreams, even if it means letting go of friends that are bad influences or activities that could keep you from succeeding. Finally, the letter “S” stood for “sacrifice.” Most of the time, accomplishing your goals requires you to make sacrifices. Myers had to sacrifice time spent with his friends and family to practice football so he could achieve his long term goal. 

The next athlete that spoke was another football player named Brandon Napoleon. His speech was titled “A Man of Value.” Napoleon looked up to his father very much and strived to make him proud. He talked about his journey to where he is today. In middle school, Napoleon’s friends started getting into trouble and were a bad influence. They gave him a bad reputation. Napoleon knew that if he wanted to be successful, he had to clean up his act. In high school, he transferred to a private school. He made new friends that were encouraging and also had dreams. Napoleon worked hard every day and now sees hard work does pay off. He thanked his dad for being such a good role model and being a man of value.

Bryanna McCarthy, a female soccer player, was the next athlete to speak. The title of her speech was “Halfway There.” During her speech, she talked about her struggle with self-confidence. She had many things that contributed to her lack of self-confidence. She worried about her height, whether or not her athletic abilities were good enough, and what her future consisted of. The support from her family is what gave her the courage to keep trying. Everyone believed in her except herself. Bryanna went to many camps and played on a travel team. She practiced many hours and worked hard to achieve her goals. She has signed to play on a professional women’s soccer team. Finally, she feels like she is good enough.

The next athlete to speak was Will Clarke, a football player for WVU. “Neither an Anchor nor a Sail” was the title of Clarke’s speech. He talked about the important role his father played in his life. His father was very involved and active in his life, unlike most of his friends. Clarke’s father attended all of his sporting events, whether it was football, basketball, or track. He was always there. Clarke’s father taught him the difference between right and wrong, the importance of a good education, and the difference between what you want and what you need. Clarke thanked his father for making him the man he is today and for pushing him to accomplish his dreams.

The last athlete to speak was Averee Fields. She plays on the WVU women’s basketball team. The title of her speech was “Enough.” Fields has always strived for perfection. She received many awards in high school, was prom queen, home coming queen, and made great grades. She never settles for anything than the absolute best. When Fields came to college, she realized that she was no longer the shining star like she was in high school. She had to work to earn her spot on the team. She realized fast that perfection was impossible. She didn’t know how to handle not being the best. Eventually, Fields realized, with the help of family, coaches, and teammates, that as long as you give one hundred percent, you won’t have any regrets. She realized that giving it her all was finally enough.