As he watched Marc Mero’s viral video Tyler Stewart thought to himself; “we’ve got to get this guy.” Stewart, a social studies teacher at Berg Middle School knew if Mero could bring the same emotion in the video to Berg he’d be a can’t miss opportunity for students. Yesterday Mero’s presentation to the students at Berg was everything Stewart was hoping for.
“I saw a lot of emotion out there, which is exactly what I wanted to see,” Stewart said. “Years down the road they’ll remember this day.”
Making those memories is what Mero does best. A former amateur boxer and professional wrestler, Mero’s biggest matches came against drugs and alcohol. Mero walked away from a career in professional wrestling, and with 14 years of sobriety under his championship belt, he’s excited to share his story with others even though it’s not easy to talk about.
“It’s tough to relive these painful memories, but the reward that I get out it is worth it, to see them learn the importance of treating others with respect,” Mero said.
Mero’s program for kids is simple; be positive, treat others with respect, set goals and be the light in the darkness for others. It’s the little things that can create big changes Mero said, and there’s no reward more gratifying to him than hearing that he’s made a difference.
“I’ve gotten letters from kids that told me they wanted to kill themselves, but our program changed their lives, it’s the most beautiful thing I’ve ever seen,” Mero said.
As he watched Mero’s presentation Tuesday afternoon, Stewart said it was easy to see the message resonate with students at Berg. Students cheered with Mero, and they cried with him as well, which was the result Stewart was hoping for.
“You need to make kids feel something, tears, excitement, whatever, and they’ll remember that day,” Stewart said.
Student council members at Berg fundraised for a year in order to cover the $5,000 appearance fee, but student council president Maggie Garrett said the experience was worth it.
“He touched base on everything, and I think this is something that’ll motivate others not to do drugs. It was a good reminder of our purpose in life,” Garrett said.
Setting goals is a big part of Mero’s vision, and on Tuesday he urged students to write down their goals to give themselves a visual reminder. For Garrett, that really resonated.
“It was very eye-opening. I’m so glad that he covered everything,” Garrett said.
After Mero publicly admitted using anabolic steroids as a professional wrestler he started appearing on television, speaking out against the dangers of drug abuse. Mero has a “death list” with the names of 31 professional wrestlers that have since died and has been insistent the business needs greater regulation. It wasn’t long before he was invited to speak to kids and high schools in Florida, and once his video went viral, he was speaking to kids across the globe. Mero visited 293 schools in 35 states last year alone and said he’s on pace to beat that record this year.
“I just want them to know that they’re not alone. We all go through storms in life, some you walk through, some you run through,” Mero said. “Don’t give up.”
Contact David Dolmage at 641-792-3121 ext. 6532 or firstname.lastname@example.org