Inspirational Speaker Visits Oxbridge

Will Shields and Sofia RIngvald

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On Tuesday, February 28th, around half a thousand students walked into an auditorium for what they thought was another speech from another random guy.  What these students did not know was that their lives were about to be drastically changed. Oxbridge had the honor of having Ross Szabo at our school.

Ross Szabo, a 38-year-old man born in Bethlehem Pennsylvania, was only 16 when he was diagnosed with bipolar disorder. Mr. Szabo was a football star, a popular kid, and most importantly, someone that nobody expected to attempt taking their own life. Mr. Szabo explained to us that mental issues can affect anybody, at any time. Initially, he began speaking about the state of his mental health at the age of 17. He said that his complications with mental health came from personal experience. He was only 11 years old when his older brother was in the psychiatric ward of a hospital. He attended American University but had to leave due to a relapse in his disorder.  He graduated from American University with a bachelor of arts in psychology.

When Mr. Szabo came to speak at Oxbridge, he expressed the importance for young adults to talk about their emotions. He later went on to say that it is crucial for adolescents to feel like they are not alone during a time where they are feeling helpless or out of place. He also believes that we should all feel comfortable seeking help. A senior, Asia Smith, told us a little of what she thought, “I think it was incredibly important that we had an assembly dedicated to mental health. The speaker did a really good job in engaging all of us. Mental health is difficult and often taxing to talk about, but he discussed it in a way that made me feel comfortable and open. Opening the floor at the end of the discussion allowed students to express their concerns and questions and made the event more personal. I appreciate how he handled the discussion.”  These opinions were, for the most part, reflected throughout the Oxbridge student community.  Blake Weger, a sophomore, told us, “Mr.Szabo really opened up my eyes to a lot of different aspects of mental health.  Sometimes, during certain assemblies, I struggle to maintain full attention on the speaker, but during this assembly, I was really interested in what (Mr.Szabo) was saying.  I am guilty of being one of the kids that seems to compete for how stressed out they are, and he helped me start to fix that problem.  I already am going to bed earlier on the weekdays.”

Mr. Szabo was a fantastic speaker and opened many eyes through the ears.  His ability to connect with teens was special, and very rare.  The assembly and presentation reminded me of the Chris Herren presentation that we were lucky enough to have around a year ago. The two stories are very different, but the lesson to get help when you need it could be found in both.  The assembly was fantastic and very informative, and definitely was something to remember.  

 

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Inspirational Speaker Visits Oxbridge