Third-grader Sincere Gladney and his sister Toniyah, a second
grader, hold onto a steel bar as Omegaman easily lifts them.
Omegaman bent a steel bar with his hands and broke a baseball
bat over his knee Monday morning as he delivered an anti-bullying message of
kindness and respect at Woodland Elementary School.
A self-described “world-class super hero,” Omegaman had the elementary students chanting and clapping in rhythm as he challenged them “to be dream makers, not dream breakers.”
“We all have super powers – words and actions that can help others,” he said. “I want you to use your super powers to help others -- your classmates, your mom and dad.”
Omegaman, alias Marc Wilkes, is part of a motivational
speaking group based in Tampa, Florida. He and six others promote bullying
prevention and character development at approximately 800 schools across the
country each year. He visited Prospect Elementary School Monday afternoon.
Performing in front of colorful banners that emphasize positive
behavior, Omegaman urged his young audience to make good choices, including:
-- Being kind to others,
-- Having a good attitude,
-- Speaking positively.
-- Dreaming big.
-- Following directions.
Omegaman, whose biceps are as large as small tree trunks, produced a 400-page document which he described as “the book of bad choices.”
“Do you think I can tear this down the middle?” he asked. “This book represents the past. Today is a new day.”
As he grasped the book and began to tear it, he suddenly stopped and picked up the microphone, complaining in a soft, low voice: “I have a boo-boo, a paper cut.”
The kids laughed loudly as Omegaman asked if anyone had a Hello Kitty band-aid.
“This is a new day of good choices,” he said, ripping the book in two as pages flew everywhere.
The children repeated after him as he shouted: “Good choices! In the classroom! On the playground! On the bus! At home!”
As a child, Omegaman (Wilkes) endured teasing and bullying
because he stuttered. After a long bout with depression he began to work out in
the gym while undergoing speech therapy. As a young adult he decided to take
his message to others through motivational speaking.
“I challenge you every day to be dream makers, not dream breakers,” he told the children seated on the gym floor. “Tell yourself: Yes I can! Yes I can!”
The chant got louder and louder as the kids repeated after Omegaman: “Yes I can! Yes I can!”
“Believe in yourself,” he said, picking up the regulation wooden baseball bat. “Do you think I can break this?”
Omegaman held the bat against his knee and pressed. After several seconds, he asked, “Did it break?”
“Noooo!” was the unison response.
“Should I quit?”
“Should I give up?”
“Then I want you to help me by softly repeating “Go, go, go...”
The chant filled the gym as the students leaned forward.
Omegaman pressed the bat hard against his knee and it broke apart.
“Always believe in yourself,” he said.