We had the pleasure of having Tony on our campus to speak to our student body to kick off Red Ribbon Week and the experience was incredible for all! Tony’s use of his real life situation was able to touch so many. Kids felt as though they could easily relate to who he was and were able to see things through his eyes as he made them realize he was once in their shoes. Students could really tell that he “got them”. Tony even spent time with every kid that came up to talk to him after each presentation, listening carefully to what they had to say and giving each of them his undivided attention. His message was powerful and will most definitely stick with our student body as they continue through life. We feel very fortunate to have had the opportunity to listen to his presentation, it was one for the books!
— Katie Aiello Granite Ridge Activities Director

I always say it's really rare when I get to speak locally. It's usually hard to get into my schedule and so many schools locally have previously heard me speak that the demand isn't that high. That was different this year because Clovis Unified contacted me to do some speaking locally, which is the school district I graduated from.

This year I would be giving to presentation to Clovis North High School, the newest High School within Clovis Unified in a presentation to Gateway students and Community Day, which is the alternative education campus.

There's a couple benefits to speaking locally, one of them is I don't have to travel which is nice. The second one is that students can hear my story and know the locations i’m talking about and become more deeply involved with the stories being told.

The Clovis North presentations which also included Granite Ridge Middle School went extremely well, the students loved my outfit. I have a pretty modern dress style that they can really relate to and so it's cool to see how much the kids enjoy my different outfits. Besides my outfits the kids connected so well, I had over a hundred messages in my inbox from kids and well over 200 comments on my Instagram. To me and that's what makes it all worth it, when young kids and people are connecting so well that they go out of their way to send me a message and let me know how much it impacted them because the truth is they don't have to do that.

The afternoon presentations were equally as engaging but a totally different kind of audience. The alternative education students are having trouble with school or substance abuse issues or other reasons they had to be removed from normal campuses. I can relate so much to these individuals because a lot of the times the reasons that they behave the way they do is because of the struggles that they have internally and I personally know what that's like and really try to get them to understand that they can overcome those hurdles and find happiness within themselves.

Thank you everyone at Clovis Unified for an opportunity to speak locally it's been a pleasure