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pilot rock motivational speaker encourages originality
Article from East Oregonian by Samantha Tipler:

Mike Donahue, motivational speaker, might have praised Project Zero, the anti-bullying club at Pilot Rock High School, or recited its first-year accomplishments.

But he didn’t. Instead, toward the conclusion of his talk to more than 200 junior high and high school students Wednesday, he asked the 17 Project Zero members to stand up front and be recognized.

"Those teens are taking a risk, stepping up to try to change their school," he said. And that can make high school even harder for them.

“Instead of having a shirt that says Project Zero on the front,” he said, “really what they should do is put a big target on their back.”

Donahue, 48, with R5 Productions of Omaha, Neb., is the second motivational speaker Project Zero has brought to Pilot Rock.

“The best leaders in my life have never been perfect people." The best leaders, Donahue said, are “people that are willing to put it on the line and go, ‘You know what, I want something to be different.’”

Speaker Geoff McLachlan in January encouraged students to get to know one another as people, and increase communication across the student body.

Donahue’s message was similar, but he also encouraged the teens to be true to their values. He called it being an original, not a copy.

“Everyone is born an original but most people die as copies,” he said, citing a common quote. “In high school you give more respect for the original than the copy.”

But most of you are copies, he told his audience, not originals. Fitting in is easier because copies like other copies, he said. Originals threaten that security.

“That doesn’t work in the real world,” Donahue said. “At some point you are going to have to grow up and be yourself.”

He asked all the students raise their right hand and say: “I promise to be an original, not a copy.”

That is what Project Zero members are doing, Donahue said, being originals and encouraging others to be themselves, too. This year the club has taken on a new mission: mentoring. So far about five club members have been paired up with those they will mentor, and advisor Jean Guidry said there are three more signed up. At the beginning of the school year the club spent a day learning to be mentors, and discussing some of the challenges mentors may run into.

Donahue spent an hour before the assembly with Project Zero members talking about those challenges.

“You have no idea how important you are,” he told them. “It’s scary to have somebody to depend on you. Get over yourself. The kids you’re mentoring don’t need you to be perfect.”

Guidry said the atmosphere at school changed after McLachlan’s visit last year. But the effect lasted only a week at most. She hopes the mentoring program will give legs to Donahue’s message. After the motivational speaker leaves, students and Project Zero members, specifically, must guarantee everyone a place at Pilot Rock, she said.
the man who made a gym silent
Mike brings his message to three different schools in the Fort Defiance, VA community. Click here to read article.
anti-bullying expert speaks with parents and students
Schodack Central School District in Castleton-on-Hudson, New York shares how Mike Donahue told Schodack students he has learned an important truth about why some students bully and pick on others. Click here to read article.
a former bully tells her story
MAHS senior tells ABC News 20/20 she used to take her anger out on classmates. Click here to read Press and Journal article.
wten news 10 - albany, new york
Mike Donahue and R5 Productions was featured on a local news station in Albany, New York after presenting an assembly at Ravena Coeymans Selkirk High School. (November 2007)
dreamin' big
After performing an assembly at a school in East Jordan, Michigan, Mike Donahue inspires one teacher to start a Shoe Club. The club is designed to inspire his students to work hard, set goals, dream big and to give back to other people - with the help of shoes from famous and inspirational people from all over the world.
rose flack
Rose Flack was a contestant on American Idol in January of 2009. Her powerful story will keep you on the edge your seat. Rose's parents both passed away before her 16th birthday. She went through a few years when she used drugs and alcohol as a way to "medicate" her emotional pain. Rose shares about the struggle she faces trying to focus on her dream while making the right choices to walk away from distractions like drug and alcohol abuse. And, of course, her sharing would not be complete without performing a song to inspire your students.

"Rose made you want to take a look at your life and change things because it was like if she can do it, then maybe I can to." - Sophomore girl, Malta Mt.
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