On August 26th, the first day of school, Finley GEAR UP was excited to have motivational speaker Hoan Do present to the students of River View High School. After a strong recommendation from a GEAR UP partner school, Site Manager Amandalyn Rubio was eager to have Hoan come out to Finley. Speaking professionally for over 6 years, he has traveled across the United States and to parts of Canada sharing his practical advice for succeeding in school and in the real world. He uses his own experiences, highs and lows, to connect with his audience.
The students of RVHS were immediately hooked by Hoan and were really impressed with the fact that he recently competed on NBC’s popular show American Ninja Warrior. Hoan’s first message began with a simple metaphor; the thoughts in your head are like a radio. He went on to explain that when you’re listening to the radio and a “whack song” comes on, what you do is, you change it! The same thing should be true for the thoughts in your head. When your thoughts start to drift to negativity, “You’re not good enough”, “Just give up”, “You won’t succeed”, choose to stop those thoughts and change them by using the phrase, “Hold Up! That is Whack!” he then had the entire RVHS student body stand up, hold their hand out, and yell out the saying that has become synonymous with Hoan himself, “Hold Up! That is Whack!”
Hoan’s second message was based on trying new and different things. Becoming part of a school club, participating in a new sport, anything that can take you out of your comfort zone and help you broaden your social group and perhaps help you discover a hidden talent.
Hoan’s last message was for students to surround themselves with the right people. He gave examples of times when he was in high school and he would choose to study or practice wrestling and some of his friends would tell him things like “oh, do you think you’re better than us” those were the kind of people that Hoan didn’t want to surround himself with because their negativity could only bring him down. He advised River View students that surrounding yourself with people who want you to succeed and want to help you, good friends, teachers, or family, will push you further in school and in life.
At the beginning of his presentation, Hoan had begun with a story about a high school assignment. This assignment, titled the Rock Star Assignment, was a daunting task. It required students to stand in front of the entire class and lip sync a song. He explained to the students that he did not want to do it and was terrified about what people would say, he thought that his peers would make fun of him. The assignment was required though and he had to do it to pass the class, so he came up with an idea, chose a positive attitude and performed for his class. As a finale to Hoan’s presentation, everyone in the River View High School gymnasium had the treat of witnessing the same performance he had put on in high school. Donning a blond wig and cheerleading skirt, Hoan performed a cheerleading routine while lip-syncing Toni Basil’s “Mickey”. The students erupted in laughter and applause.
After the assembly concluded, Hoan stayed in the high school commons and opened
himself up to questions and pictures from the students. To coincide with one of Hoan’s messages about trying new things and getting involved, the River View High School clubs set up tables to give students a chance to see what the school offered in extracurricular activities and what they could get involved in. Clubs in attendance included: FFA, FCCLA, International Club, Drama Club, and GEAR UP. After the club fair, GEAR UP had three new GEAR UP Ambassador applicants, FCCLA gained four new members and FFA had over a dozen new member applications turned in and more are still rolling in. It was great to see so many of the students stay and talk to Hoan and explore what their school had to offer and it showed how well his message was received.
Having Hoan Do as a speaker for the first day of school was a great way to start the new school year off and his positive messages and advice can help assure that Finley GEAR UP students will have a successful year.