Guest Speaker Shares Lesson in Perseverance

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Guest Speaker Shares Lesson in Perseverance

Guest speaker Aaron Thomas informs the students about his life experiences.

Guest speaker Aaron Thomas informs the students about his life experiences.

Guest speaker Aaron Thomas informs the students about his life experiences.

Guest speaker Aaron Thomas informs the students about his life experiences.

Tanner Williams, Entertainment Editor

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Tragedy struck Aaron Thomas’ life, not just once but twice in two years.

On September 9 Thomas spoke to the high school student body, middle school student body and later that night parents about his experience. 

Thomas hails from the town of Parkersburg, Iowa. On one fateful day, disaster struck when a tornado touched down and destroyed his beloved home, including his community’s high school.

The town of Parkersburg was in ruins from this disaster, but hope was not lost. Thomas’s father, Ed Thomas, provided the light that was needed to lift their spirits and brought the community together to rebuild, starting with their own high school.

Thomas spoke about how his father, a community school coach, was so passionate to bring their students together for a common goal of rebuilding their home, starting with their school football stadium. “Kids represent the entire community,” said Thomas. 

The stadium was rebuilt in time for the community homecoming game, and the football team played miraculously well. Until danger decided to strike twice. Thomas’s father was working with his football team in the school bus barn when an old student of his came in and took his life.

Thomas took these bad experiences and has used them help others find inspiration and guidance. He travels around the country telling his story and giving speeches to students of many different districts about his father’s story and how you can always persevere no matter what happens. 

The students that attended his speech had mixed reactions to his presentation. “I felt he down played mental health issues and demonized schizophrenia,” said senior Jackie Postlewaite.

“I felt he had an idea of being positive and uplifting even in the worst of times,” said junior Sadie Randolph.