Baseball bats were broken and telephone books were ripped in half last week, when Omega-Man visited students in the Wallenpaupack School District to discuss the importance of making good choices.
The gymnasium came alive when Omega-Man, also known as Marc Wilkes, a semi-pro body builder spoke to students about following their dreams and looking to the right kind of role models.
Hands shot up, high in the air, when Wilkes asked for volunteers. Presenting his muscular abilities as part of the show, Wilkes gave a few piggy back rides to students as well as North Primary School Principal Anthony Cavallaro, which kids throughly enjoyed. Wilkes said, "If I believe in me, I will achieve big things in life." The students repeated his concept with cheers of joy and excitement.
Schools, he said, are bully free and, "it starts with you and me." Heros, he said means, "Helping Everyone Respect Others." After bending a metal pipe, Wilkes winced and told the kids that he broke a nail. They enjoyed that.
One student helped Wilkes with a demonstration, where the boy squeezed toothpaste onto a plate. A representation of words, Wilkes explained that the toothpaste could not go back into the tube, just as words cannot be taken back once spoken.
The demonstrations work around his strength, he said, because the world in which kids live today, is about entertainment and so he has to maintain their focus for an hour. By breaking a bat or bending a metal pipe, he said it delivers the message. Once he gets their attention, he has the opportunity to change their lives. To date, Wilkes has spoken to 1.5 million kids at over 2,500 schools throughout the country.
For 14 years, Wilkes has done school assemblies that are based on his, "one of a kind, out of the box," programs that has a super hero theme, he said. He explained that in Greek, Omega means final end as his message is meant to change kids' lives. The power of choice, Wilkes said, is in the individuals' hands. His theories, he feels, address the issues that kids deal with and can relate to.
Wilkes said his presentations vary, as they to reach the appropriate age group. When speaking to high school students, he talks about the "two roads of life." He said there is the road of commitment or the road of compromise, to which he asks the kids what road they would like their lives to be on.
Last week was Wilkes second time visiting the district, which was due to Wallenpaupack Area North Elementary Schools' (WANES) Parent Teacher Association. Presenting at high schools, he said is special because the content is about what that age group is dealing with at that point in their lives, such as focusing on cyberbullying.
Page 2 of 2 - In high schools, Wilkes asks a volunteer if they would like $20. Holding the bill, he pretends to spit on it and then he asks the kid again if they would still like the $20. The point of the demonstration, he said is that the money is about value as are people, and so, no matter what people deal with in their lives, they still have value and purpose.
At the age of 13, Wilkes began lifting weights as a way to escape the bullies who picked on him because of a speech impediment he had. Today, with all of the careers that he could have followed, he chose to become a motivational speaker with a focus on his physique, he explained because it was a way for him to use "my gifts and talents to direct kids in the right direction." Although he went to college to become a teacher, he admits that he never realized he would follow this path, but because of Omega-Man's success, he is establishing more, "super heros."
The best part of the job, he said is receiving letters that kids write and tell him that he has helped change their lives. Letters from middle school and high school students have contained bullets and razors, he said, where the author tells what they had intended to do with the items. Seeing those letters, he said are, "what keep me going." Wilkes concluded, "be a buddy, not a bully."
For more information visit www.omegamanschools.com.