The Secret to Motivating Students - Supersoakers and Mini Balls?

By Paul Langhorst, April 20, 2012

Loud hip-hop music pounds off the gym walls. 7th graders are filing in from both sides of the gym. A thin, young-looking, man wearing a softball jersey and bright orange tennis shoes is running back and forth saying "wassss up" and hand-slapping and fist-bumping kids as they walk past.

Bombs away! Suddenly, the man starts tossing orange mini balls and squeeze bottles into the pulsating bleachers. Kids reach for the items and their screams fill the air. The man grabs kids and teachers to form a cha-cha line to the beat of the music. The room is still filling. The atmosphere is electric. Just when you thought it could not get any higher - the man pulls out a Supersoaker and starts hosing down the kids.

Its wild, 350 kids now pack the bleachers, and the kids are loving it.

Welcome to an Aric Bostick "You are Awesome" youth rally.

Today's location is Miller Intermediate Middle School, part of the Pasadena, TX school district. Principal Kimberly Kelly engaged Aric to speak to the students to motivate them to do their best prior to the important STAR test the following week. After the 7th graders are sufficiently wound up and hear Aric's message, the whole process starts again with the 8th grade class, followed by a 1-hour staff session and 1-hour parent session that began at 6:30 PM. (The parents were spared the Supersoaker treatment.) What a day!

Aric is a contributor to the CyberBully Hotline. He as spoken to over half a million students in his 8-year motivational speaking career. Starting out as a teacher, Aric quickly learned that he needed to be different to reach his class. Incorporating music, fist-bumps, hand slaps and other antics into his teaching style made kids want to be in his room and the learning naturally followed. Building on this, Aric started an after-hours goal setting class for students which grew and grew in popularity. An invite by one of the student's parents to speak at their small Baptist church put Aric on the path to his new motivational speaking career. I call him the "Tony Robbins of K-12."

It didn't happen over night and Aric had to change to get there. And that's Aric's message - to do great things:

you can't let your past define you
you need to let go and not confine yourself with preconceptions
you need to write down your goals; and
you need to work hard to achieve goals.

Simple ideas, but unfortunately many of the kids in the audience don't hear this type of encouragement from their parents, families, guardians, or teachers.

Coming from a low-income, broken home, (and of small stature) Aric had to overcome a lot to get where he is today. He didn't even have a name when he was born. His parents, thinking they were having a girl, left naming Aric up to his 10-year old brother, asking the brother to pick a name out of name book. As Aric says, "my brother evidently did not get out of the A's in the book."

Aric learned that he had to change himself because he could not change others and he could not change the world around him. But by changing himself, others around him and his world began to change.

Aric consults with the CyberBully Hotline and is a content contributor to our Resource Center. We can't begin to tell you how excited we are to have Aric on our team. If you ever have the opportunity, have Aric come to your school. It will be a school-life changing event. Oh, and bring a towel!

Learn more about Aric, by visiting