There’s nothing quite like a motivational speaker to get me fired up. I love to hear positive messages and recently I heard one from a young person—in fact, a former student. Ahhh, to see Nichole Martin, a stand-out athlete and scholar at Ridgeview High School, filled me with pride. What a beautiful message to her audience of nearly 800 seventh and eighth graders at Stonecreek Junior High School. The best part about it was that my eighth period class had a discussion about our pep rally and voted hands down that Nichole captured their attention and stole the show. Nichole urged students to give their best always. “While kids are texting and updating their MySpace there’s a kid out there who’s practicing basketball or studying, ready to be better than everyone else.” She urged our students to give their studies all they have because, “Everyone knows that if you don’t have the grades, you aren’t going to compete.” She gave the watchful students in the quiet, packed gym encouragement to enjoy junior high even though it can be tough and not to fear high school since it’s really just a couple junior highs jammed together. Pretty amazing. Nichole helped open our new junior high and here she is coming back several years later with great grades and a varsity position on the basketball team urging young people to be all they can. To those who fear the next generation, don’t bother. There are kids like Nichole all over! Peggy Dewane-Pope is a teacher in the Panama-Buena Vista Union School District.