Marc Mero, former World Wrestling Entertainment WWE world champion, boxer, and author spoke to students at both Neosho Junior High and Neosho High School last week, delivering the powerful message which has earned him the rank of America's #1 school presenter.

Marc Mero, former World Wrestling Entertainment WWE world champion, boxer, and author spoke to students at both Neosho Junior High and Neosho High School last week, delivering the powerful message which has earned him the rank of America's #1 school presenter.
In a passionate, often poignant presentation, Mero, spoke to Neosho students last week, delivering his message of hope, change, and positive belief. Wearing a t-shirt with the message HOPE - Hang on, pain ends - Mero provided a presentation that also included personal photographs and videos from his life.
"I'm going to share my story," Mero told students as he began,
Fifty-seven year old Mero is a native of Buffalo, N. Y., where he grew up in financially challenged circumstances. He shared photos of the modest apartment building his family called home and where he first began to dream.
At the age of 10, Mero said he first began writing down his dreams in a notebook that he held high for the students to view. His early aspirations included becoming rich, owning a black Cadillac, buying a house for his mother and becoming famous. And, Mero suggested students follow his lead.
"Write your dreams into existence today," he urged the youth. "Take it and put it someplace (where) you have to see it. The more you see your dreams and goals, the more likely you are to make them come true."
As an example, Mero shared that he wanted to become an author even though he said he can't spell. In  2008, however, he decided to write a book by 2010 and put a post-it note on his computer.  He saw it daily but didn't start writing until he had a year left to his goal. During the first part of 2010, he wrote the book and by the end of the year, he had it in his hands. The title - How To Be The Happiest Person on the Planet - became a best-seller and allowed Mero to realize his dream of becoming an author.
"Two words I want you to take away from today," he said. "are 'I believe'. I really believe today can be a changing day in your life and I want you to be the champions you are deciding to be."
Mero saw sports as his way out of poverty and in high school, he excelled at sports.
He planned to become a boxer. "I never trained so hard in my life," Mero stated. But his dreams died when an accident sidelined him for a year. And the year stretched into two and then ten.
"The first thing I did wrong was hang out with the wrong kids," Mero told the students. "It always starts out so innocent."
Mero got involved with drug and alcohol abuse. "I o.d.ed three times," he said. "I should have been dead."
His mother played an important role in his life but Mero admits he wasn't always the best son. His mom always waited up for him when he stayed out late, when he still lived at home but he didn't always have time for her. "The greatest gift my mom ever gave me was that she believed in me."
One of several siblings, Mero also lost two siblings, a sister and a brother, in early adulthood. Mero recalled, painfully, how his younger sister always wanted to sit beside him and how he rebuffed her. He remembered how he missed her high school graduation and reconnected with her soon after her college graduation. Just as she planned to begin a career with General Electric, she learned she had cancer and died within a few months. Mero's emotion as he recalled her passing was apparent.
He launched a career in wrestling and began to realize some of his dreams but he learned that money and fame didn't make him happy. His mother passed away while he was on tour in Japan and once again, Mero had many regrets. One of his brothers passed away after what should have been a routine blood test and caused him to remember how he'd never made time to play catch with his sibling, who was 13 years younger.
He urged students to go home, appreciate their family, tell them that they are loved.
Mero's wake-up call continued as he lost 30 friends to overdoses, murder and suicide. "They died from the bad choices they made," he said. "They were all rich and famous."
Mero admits he was guilty of more than neglecting his family. "I was also a bully," he said.
Part of the message he takes to students nationwide is against bullying. "Nobody has the right to belittle you, hurt you, punch you or cyber bully you."
Making the right choices is the key, according to Mero.
"We are defined by our choice," he said. "Failure is aiming too low. How high, how big are you willing to dream?"
He urged students to dream big, to become what they dream of being.
"Life is not about winning," he said. "It's about winning the race."
Mero speaks about making dreams come true, about standing against bullies and about the subject of teen suicide. He urged students to avoid drugs, alcohol, and tobacco. Both of Mero's parents died from smoking related ailments and he told the youth, "If your parents smoke, go home and tell them to quit. Tell them you need them."
Students gave Mero their complete attention and listened with avid ears. At one point, Mero paused and said, "Thank you for being respectful," he told the students. "Thank you for that."
He shared his triumphs and tragedies with open emotion, without holding back.
"The greatest things in life often come after the most painful things in life," Mero told the students, reminding them again the choices they make are up to them. "We all have an impact on each other's lives, negative and positive."
At the close of the program, Mero said, "I really believe today can be  changing day in our life. I hope and pray that this is the wakeup call for  you."
Mero spoke with students after the program and posed for photos with many.
For more information about Mero or his Champions of Choice non-profit foundation visit his website at thinkpoz.org or on his Marc Mero Facebook page.