A Life Lesson Learned at Muskego High School

Jeff delivers his message.

Jeff delivers a message that is real.

On Wednesday, February 6, Youth Motivational Speaker Jeff Yalden had a great visit at Muskego High School in Wisconsin.  The event was sponsored by the school’s student council as a senior class gift.  Speaking with the 1800 students of this school was a great honor for Jeff.  More importantly, Jeff learned as much as the students during his visit.

After a tweet that he had sent during a basketball game the evening before he spoke, Jeff’s visit was not off to a bright start. During the game, many kids were upset by the tweet that Jeff had sent. He had no bad intentions when sending it, but as many of you may already know, it can be very easy to accidentally offend others when you are limited to 140 characters.  Twitter is the product of an age where people post their thoughts and feelings online the moment an event occurs and in return, feelings can easily be hurt when nothing ill is intended.

The next morning Jeff had to face a hard question: would he still speak in front of the 1800 students that he had angered or would he pack up and go home?  He met with the principal and assistant principals and basically offered to refund their money, walk out of the school, and return home. However, after some discussion, both Jeff and the staff came to the conclusion that if he left, the problem would become much worse.

Jeff then faced a great challenge, as he found himself facing the hundreds of angered students. Half of the students there were excited for his assembly, while the other half hated him.  Jeff did not try to hide from these students or ignore what had happened the night before.  He stood in front of all 1800 of them and gave a personal apology.

Jeff shares a real message with the students.

Jeff shares his words with the students.

The day was then turned around when the students that had previously hated Jeff were touched by his message.  By the end of the assembly, the students respected Jeff and even gave him a standing ovation.  They respected the fact that he apologized and were inspired by his message; both Jeff and the students had learned lessons that day.

“There is a difference between intent and perception, and when you’re on social media, you have to realize that although your intentions might be pure, the way someone’s perceiving it could be different.  So, you really have to be careful.”
- Jeff Yalden

This quote from Jeff describes a situation that many people find themselves in when interacting with others online.  A simple joke or statement can cause an eruption, as it can be easily misinterpreted. As a teen blogger, I personally know just how important it is to inspect my writing and online posts before publishing.  A simple expression of opinion can be misinterpreted as offensive. It is important that you are careful of what you post, as it could cause you to lose a job, be denied by colleges, and ruin your reputation.  As Jeff states, if you are questioning whether you should be posting something, do not post it.  However, in the Age of Tweeting, this can be hard.  A message can be uploaded seconds after something occurs, but one must remember that it can be accessed just as quickly.

Jeff had an awesome visit to Muskego High School, and the students were not the only ones to learn a lesson during his visit.  Jeff is glad that he was able to apologize to the students and still have the opportunity to share his words with them.  In response to the event, Jeff stated, “I think it takes a pretty big man to apologize in front of 1800 kids, and that’s what I did.”  In addition, he stated that he was very grateful that he had the opportunity to meet these kids and staff members and have their full respect, even after he had made a mistake.

International Speaker Jeff Yalden is real and acknowledges that like others, he is not perfect. Everyone makes mistakes.  He hopes that he and the students can learn from this mistake and become better people.  Jeff Yalden is highly active on Twitter and while he made the mistake of posting one misinterpreted tweet, he has won the support of thousands on his Twitter page.  If you want a speaker with a real message that acknowledges that he himself is not perfect, please visit jeffyalden.com for more information.

Community Responses

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I’m always going to remember that speech, truly inspirational & motivating. Thank you so much @JeffYalden.. you’ve really opened my eyes
- Marisa Hackney via Twitter

Sounds like @JeffYalden killed it at Muskego today! Way to get better as a community, school, and human beings. Now its time to #applyit
- Collin Smith via Twitter

@JeffYalden becoming the most quoted man in Muskego High School
- Jack Perry via Twitter

Jeff Yalden, Thank you so much for the speech today. It was truly an honor to be in the presence of someone as straight-headed as you are, a person whose morals and goals I will try to work towards also. Thank you so much for all of the advice and I will never forget it. I didn’t know what to expect from your presentation going into it, but when I came out, I was changed. Thank you so much. There are not any words that can describe how you made me felt during the assembly and how I am feeling now. Thank you so much, I will never forget you or your speech.
- Andrew Wurster via Facebook

Great, inspiring and engaging speech! So thankful to have had the opportunity to experience it with the students!
-Shannon Blunt via Facebook

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Author:Brandon Schmuck, Teen Blogger for Youth Speaker, Jeff Yalden

“I want to put a ding in the universe.” Brandon Schmuck is a senior class president at Rockwood Area High School. He is an ambitious teen with a dream: to change the world. He plans on majoring in electrical and computer engineering and gaining a background in speaking, writing, business, and the arts. He dreams of becoming an influential business leader and changing the lives of millions through his words and products. He is inspired by his parents and his two younger sisters to be all that he can. In his spare time, he enjoys playing guitar as part of his high school’s jazz band and hitting up the greens during the summer. He loves to write and express his opinion and is an active member of student congress, speech, and Future Business Leaders of America. Online, he has an active presence as a teen blogger for youth motivational speaker, Jeff Yalden, and operates his own personal blog. He enjoys having an impact on those around him and is a member of National Honor Society, Student Council, SADD, and Spanish Honor Society, where he helps at local food drives and school events. Brandon was first inspired by Jeff’s words at Pennsylvania Free Enterprise Week, where he heard him as a guest speaker. After hearing him, he knew that he had to bring him to his area. Despite the small size of his school, Brandon managed to gather the funding to bring him, while arranging for a neighboring school to come hear him also. Jeff’s words had an enormous impact on his school; students there were inspired to live their lives to the fullest and make the right decisions. Every day as he walks through the halls, he sees the impact that Jeff’s visit had on the students, as many of them continue to carry his messages with them by wearing his t-shirts. Prior to Jeff’s visit, Brandon published an article on his personal blog and his school’s website, describing what he had heard during Jeff’s speech at PFEW and how he managed to raise the funding for his visit. After reading it, Jeff hired Brandon as a teen blogger. Brandon admires the impact that Jeff has on others and hopes to someday carry the same impact himself.

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