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“Be Excellent Day” motivates students to make a difference


OKEMOS, Mich. (WLNS) – “What I would like to do is encourage you and invite you to live like survivors,” said Alexa Score; Pro-Athlete/Cancer Survivor.

As students leaned in to absorb the stories behind three motivational speakers on Wednesday, the goal wasn’t to fill their minds with unnecessary information but to enrich their souls.

“You have your academic piece, but it’s also about being kind, giving to others, giving more than you receive and going out and making a difference,” Okemos H.S. Principal Christine Sermak stated.

For more than a decade, Principal Sermak says the school has hosted the “Excellent Day Program” where they bring people in who can hopefully refuel or even plant a seed in students for a successful life journey.

Phil Pavona is one of those people. Pavona lost his son Eric to a drug overdose in 2011 and has since then launched a foundation called “Families Against Narcotics.”

“I’m hoping that they will get enough information to step back and never cross over into some of the more dangerous drugs that are out there like opiates or meth,” said Pavona.

Twesigye Jackson Kaguri is another inspirational speaker. He was born and raised in Uganda and in 2001, founded a non-profit called “The Nyaka AIDS Orphans Project,” which provides free education to children who have lost their parents to HIV/AIDS.

Kaguri says he wants students to recognize they have a purpose in the world.

“Any person in this world can make a difference in the world. Many people would think a man from the village or a boy from the village like me would never run a foundation of millions of dollars and hundreds and thousands of children, but if I had thought the same way, all these thousands of children wouldn’t have education,” said Kaguri.

So the message is simple. Be the change and that’s how one can make a difference.

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