Making students ‘Very Nice Persons'

By Jamie Hunt

&#8220VNP” or Very Nice Person will help you in life is basically what Dan Potter explained to well over 550 junior high students on Friday, March 3, assembled in the multi-purpose building at Steve Garvey Junior High in Lindsay.

Potter, a very pleasant man, seemed to have no problem performing in front of huge crowds and expressing himself effortlessly at a level that young teenage students understood and accepted, while promoting his VNP program. Potter addressed serious issues facing society and students because of attitude problems - attitude problems that effect young people's lives and can seriously harm their place in society and the community.

The main problem Potter highlighted in his talk was the &#8220Bully” problem. He had a young man from Idaho working with him, named Bracken Johnson, 19, who played the bully role in the hit movie &#8220Napoleon Dynamite.”

&#8220There are people who bully people and try to make them do things that they don't want to do,” Potter said, &#8220Being a bully is not acceptable.”

Potter told students that they are more valuable if they are nice people. He and Johnson used excerpts from the movie to demonstrate that it is really &#8220not cool” to &#8220bully” other people and that teens will succeed in life if they become VNPs.

&#8220If you have problems - don't bother to try to go to college and be an athlete,” Potter said. He talked to teens candidly and told them that doing nice things, such as volunteering, look good on school transcripts.

&#8220If someone does not care enough to be an okay person and does not care about being a nice person - then sports activities, higher learning, and job prospects will not be available,” Potter said.

Coaches, college administrators, and future employers look for students and adults with perfect records, not just excellent grades. They want to see perfect character references and nice behavior, besides excellent credentials Potter said. &#8220A nice person will succeed.”

Potter's list of VNP attributes are not difficult to learn and could really help both students and the everyday public. Students at Garvey really seemed to like the presentation and seemed to respond to his popular and honest appeal.

&#8220I thought the presentation was pretty good,” said Jayne Mattingly. When asked if she thought it make students change their attitudes, she answered &#8220Most likely.” Joy Mattingly, Jayne's mother, who is a language arts and reading teacher said of the presentation, &#8220Great for the school climate; it's still cool to be good.”

Sheyanne Richardson, seventh grade, and Elizabeth Taylor, eighth grade, took the time to comment on the VNP presentation.

&#8220I loved the assembly, it's the first time I've seen one of the stars of Napoleon Dynamite,” Richardson said. &#8220I think the kids will pay attention to the VNP presentation, because they are talking about a whole attitude change.”

&#8220I liked the assembly,” Taylor said, &#8220I think kids will try and change.”

When asked about bullying and other problems at the junior high, Sheyanne said, &#8220I love Steve Garvey Junior High except for the bullying.”

When asked what they did about the bullying, &#8220We go and talk to the counselor who has helped out in some cases.” Both of the girls said that their had been a lot of fights at the school this year.

&#8220Students were engaged from beginning to end,” said Mariela Ruiz, LUSD teacher at Garvey. &#8220He was able to use metaphors that students can relate to; which allow the message to be heard. An innovative way to help adolescents understand that being nice is a wonderful way to be.”

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