The students and faculty at Stanton Middle School in Kent recently hosted motivational speaker Marc Elliott.
Elliott was brought in to help the Stanton family to be more tolerant of one another and of themselves and to prevent bullying.
Elliott knows the importance of understanding people's differences. He was born with a rare disease that left him with virtually no intestines, and at age 9, he developed a neurological disorder called Tourette's syndrome.
Elliott recently had a major breakthrough in his struggle with Tourette's. After "ticcing" by his own estimation more than 20 million times in his life, he's learned how to control his symptoms, after taking courses on human potential and joy.
"I learned how to have real compassion for myself," he explained. "As I learned how to embrace the Tourette's, my symptoms began to decrease."
Now, at age 26, he has found a way to use his own story, his triumph over his handicaps, as a way of helping individuals around the world find their own path to tolerance, for themselves and others.
Elliott's speech, "What Makes You Tic?," uses humor, anecdotes and personal experiences to encourage the audience to "Live and Let Live!"
According to Patricia A. Finley, students activities coordinator, "The Stanton Middle School audience left the assembly motivated, better informed and reflecting on their own lives." Below are quotes from the students after experiencing Elliott's presentation:
n "Very touching and changed me and other people." -- SummerAnn Miller
n "Inspiring!" -- Bailey McWilliams-Woods
n "Everybody has their own itch. You just learn to overcome yours."-- Renee Slattery
n "It's amazing the impact he had on our school. You hear people in the halls saying 'Live and Let Live.' " -- Chloe Wise.
Marc Elliott's presentation was paid for by a grant from the Nicki's Gift Foundation and contributions from the Stanton Middle School Student Council and the class of 2012 of Theodore Roosevelt High School in Kent.
Motivational speaker Marc Elliott in "small group" session with students at Stanton Middle School in Kent.