What an honor. To know this guy. To have him call me a friend. To be invited to his keynote speaking engagement this morning.
What I saw today changed the hearts and minds of every kid in that auditorium. Every adult for that matter too.
Kindness. A school assembly on kindness and resilience? It was beautiful. It was brave. It was heard. And I was there.
Thank you, John. For the smile on my face and the tears in my eyes today. For your friendship. For your inspiration. For your guidance. Wow.
What an honor.
“The soulful conversations that I’m having with young people across the country give me so much hope for our future!
Read the article about this talk in the Chenango Forks School District Newspaper “The Chronicle”.
Mr. John Perricone’s presentation to our students on “Developing Inner Strength” was by far the best assembly we’ve ever had! Mr. Perricone touched the hearts of each student and inspired them to be kinder to each other, make good choices, enjoy life, and to be happy with who they are as a person. The stories Mr. Perricone shares of his teaching and personal life had students laughing, crying, and he inspired them to develop their inner strength, resilience, and self-awareness.
He offered to do a “breakout” session for a small group of students. During this session Mr. Perricone delved even deeper into the subject matter of his assembly. Students had the opportunity to ask questions and hear how Mr. Perricone overcame challenges in his personal life. This was done in a humorous, story-telling fashion that students could relate to and understand. The breakout session was amazing and impactful!
Bloomsburg Middle School’s culture has improved since Mr. Perricone came. Our students cannot stop talking about his presentation and his message. Mr. Perricone’s words will remain forever in the hearts and minds of our students. I think every school and student in America should hear his message as it is a meaningful, powerful, and lasting one!
Marc Freeman, Bloomsburg Middle School Principal
“John Perricone addressed our 7th-12th grade classes and our students were engaged and focused for the entire hour and fifteen minutes! His assembly on “Developing Inner Strength” traverses difficult subject matter that pierced our students’ hearts. They deeply appreciated, understood, related to, and grew from his powerful message.”
Brian Pohl, Principal, New Bremen High School
New Bremen, Ohio
“I could feel the teenage cynicism all around me melt away as the honesty and truth of your words penetrated. You have a true gift for reaching the hearts of young people and changing their lives. You’ve done that for so many of us. What a great honor it was to witness it again today. Thank you!”
Sean Walsh, Father who attended the Chenango Forks High School Assembly
Sean is former student of John Perricone, Class of ‘86
Some of the more than one thousand students
I had the honor of addressing in Lampasas, Texas!
Dear Mr. Perricone,
I’m a freshman at Lampasas High School, and I thought your speech was very moving. It was like one of those things that you wish you could write it all down and keep in a box so you could read it whenever you feel like you need to. I wish I could’ve done that.
Though I’m sure you receive tons of emails like this, I felt the need to reach out to you. It’s crazy how you could relate to how a high schooler feels. It’s sort of difficult to put into words, so I hope you understand what I mean.
I think being “cool” in high school is very overrated. With all the peer pressure…you truly do have to find your inner strength. You made me cry (and that’s a good thing). I thank you for speaking to us. I really do.
“We recently had the honor of hosting Mr. Perricone’s assembly “Developing Inner Strength” for our 7th-12th grade students. He had their full attention from beginning to end as he so eloquently and seamlessly related to their world. He gave them the invaluable gift of self-reflection and the tools to improve both their personal lives and the culture of our school community. Feedback from staff was extremely positive and we are now looking to bring him back to address our teachers and staff. Very inspiring!”
Mary Facci, New York Mills Union Free School District, Union Mills, N.Y.
“John Perricone is the real deal. He spoke to our student body (over 1,000 students) and had them hooked from the moment he took the microphone. He related to every person in the room with his stories and examples of how to be a better human being. In his talk, you will quickly see and feel his desire to help students deal with adversity in their lives. After the assembly, I was amazed at the number of students who approached Mr. Perricone to thank him for his message. They sensed his genuineness and they returned to class encouraged and empowered. I would highly recommend having John Perricone address any audience you might have. He will entertain and inspire. He made our school a better place.”
Robert White, Principal Lampasas High School, Lampasa, Texas
WHITER@lisdtx.org 512- 564-2310
“Though we are a society that celebrates physical strength, we rarely, if ever, talk about the cultivation of inner strength — the strength that enables us to make sound decisions in the face of adversity, peer pressure, bullying, media influence, etc.
In his one hour 15 min assembly, Mr. Perricone will guide your students (through interactive exercises, story telling, psychological insights, and age appropriate philosophical discussion) to a realization that will awaken them to the power that resides within themselves to shape their lives and forge their destinies — and to the realization that their every thought and action matters as they navigate their life’s path.”
Some Reviews From Administrators
“Thank you Mr. Perricone! You’ve made such a huge impact on our school! You spoke to the hearts of our students – who are still buzzing about your presentation – “Developing Inner Strength.” Your warmth, compassion, humor, and poignant storytelling helped to drive home such important life lessons that our students so need to hear as they navigate the many challenges they face at this juncture in their lives.
You moved us to both laughter and tears as you invited us a to reflect upon precious and profound a single life is, by both acknowledging and emphasizing that we are the only living creatures who can, by our wills, enhance the quality of our lives, or conversely, we can destroy ourselves — and that this power is our most precious gift. Thank you for your infinite wisdom, inspiration, and for inviting our students to live their most honest and authentic lives. You gave us so much to build upon as a school community, and I believe that the lessons our students learned today will resonate for a lifetime.”
With heartfelt gratitude,
Dr. Lois R. Favre, Superintendent/Principal – Bridgehampton UFSD
“As the parent of a high school freshman, I had the honor of listening to John Perricone address the students of Johnson City High School. I was so impressed at the message brought forth that young people so desperately need to hear but usually turn a deaf ear to when spoken about by adults. You could hear a pin drop as difficult subjects like bullying and peer pressure were addressed.
Mr. Perricone did a wonderful job of sharing his personal experience in high school that made the message of bullying and the damage of rumors so relatable. Encouraging students to be true to themselves, to have integrity, to be aware of their own and their friends’ safety, and finding the more compassionate inner self were subjects all covered with ease and humor. The attentiveness of the students was acknowledgment and testimony of the success of Mr. Perricone’s intent to help our young people be more conscious in their lives. I can’t wait until the Union-Endicott District has this presentation for our students!!!”
John Perricone announced to our students at the beginning of our assembly that he was going to give our students the very best of himself for the duration of his time with them, and he certainly more than lived up to his word. A high percentage of our students come from challenging home environments and possess a level of awareness about people that allows them to easily pick out adults who are being disingenuous with them.
Within minutes of Mr. Perricone’s presentation, the student body quickly recognized that everything about him and his message was authentic, and he had their full attention for the next hour. John’s passion for helping students develop their inner strength, humanity, and compassion comes forth in each story and experience that he shares. He has devoted his life to working with students as a teacher, a karate instructor, and now as a nationally recognized speaker. Our students laughed, cried, and listened intently throughout his address, and he reached them on a level that will have a lasting impact. I specifically asked Mr. Perricone to speak at our school as part of our spirit week to help us further strengthen the culture of our building, and his seventy-five minutes with our school did just that and so much more!
Joseph Guccia, Johnson City High School Principal
Thank you so much for such an engaging and honest presentation to Chenango Forks Middle School students! As one of your former students who sat enchanted in your classroom all those years ago, I already knew how you could share the important message of self-reliance and personal accountability with humor and sincerity. As an educator in the district, and more importantly, as a mother of two students in the audience that day, I so deeply appreciated your message of gaining strength through adversity and surrounding yourself with people who want the best for you. Your address created an outlet for the hard, but necessary talks in both my classroom and at home — about decision making and being true to yourself. All of these messages were poignant for these kids because you shared your genuine grief and clever wit through engaging storytelling and powerful visuals. I can’t tell you how thankful I am for your message and I so look forward to your sharing your inspiration and humor with our high school students soon!
Dr. Andrea Crescente Gumble, Chenango Forks English Department Chair in
Binghamton, New York email@example.com 607-648-7544
My heart is so full! Thank you for sharing your wisdom with our students with such engaging eloquence. Silver Stage will forever be grateful to you for your powerful, and unforgettable, and life-changing message!
Amber Taylor, Principal, Silver Stage Elementary in Silver Springs, Nevada firstname.lastname@example.org 775-577-5050
Dear Mr. Perricone,
As your former student, you were the first person who came to mind to invite to speak at our 2017 Middle School Health Day assembly. You were not only my Health teacher twenty years ago, but someone who continues to teach and inspire me today. I knew you would be the perfect person to address our students about inner strength, decision making, and facing challenges.
You spoke about topics that are sometimes hard to hear and discuss. However, these are issues that our students are currently facing and/or will continue to face in the years ahead. Through your personal stories, humor, honesty, encouragement, and enthusiasm you made it clear that these students can have the inner strength to rise above and emerge from their life’s adversities stronger people. You left them feeling inspired and moved to be a better version of themselves.
We were truly blessed to have heard your message of inner strength. For that I thank you.
Fara Shoudy, Career & Technical Education Teacher at
Chenango Forks Middle School in Binghamton, New York
Family & Consumer Sciences ShoudyF@CForks.org 607-624-4798
Our Junior High students were on fire this morning about your assembly! Some of the comments were….”inspiring,” “powerful,” and “he brought me to tears.” Thank you for inspiring all of us today – we are blessed to call you our friend!
Christine Cleary, Assistant Principal at Springs Union Free School District
in East Hampton, New York email@example.com 631-324-0144 ext. 129
Some student reflections:
“Mr. Perricone, before I heard you speak it never occurred to me that the pain and hardship I’ve experienced in my life could be a stepping stone and a path to my personal growth — thank you for this beautiful insight. I’ll be a different person from this day forward….”
Marcia, HS Senior at Silver Springs, Nevada
Mr. Perricone with the students in Silver Springs, Nevada Click the photo to enlarge
“As I sat in the audience, Mr. Perricone’s words were running through my mind. He spoke with such wisdom and sincerity. I felt inspired to do more with my life. Instead of living it feeling depressed and in hopelessness, I want to live it like there isn’t going to be another day in my life. Mr. Perricone is a brilliant man. He is full of charisma and thought. He has helped me have inner strength. I learned it’s not always great to stick with the crowd but to follow your heart. I could hide away but someday I’ll have to face reality and he has helped me see that. I do not regret coming to school that day. I learned how to not hide behind my façade.”
-Chloe Stanton, 8th Grade Student at Chenango Forks Middle School in Binghamton, NY
“I’ve been wearing a facade to protect myself my entire life. It came off today as I begin a journey to live my life as authentically as I can. Thank you so much for coming to our school…”
Jim, HS Junior at Silver Springs, Nevada
“The assembly was amazing. Mr. Perricone was so inspiring and optimistic. He made me want to make a positive change in my life, as simple as making someone smile because you never know what someone else is going through. Thank you, Mr. Perricone.”
-Mia Urso, 8th Grade Student at Chenango Forks Middle School in Binghamton, NY
“I think Mr. Perricone’s speech was so inspiring because he told us about how he overcame peer pressure in school, and how we could do the same by calling on our inner strength. He also reminded us of how precious life is and how we will all experience “peaks and valleys” in our journey.
-Cade Mulesky, 6th Grade Student at Chenango Forks Middle School in Binghamton, NY
Most Recent References for Student Assembly Program
Melissa Day, Principal, Bloomsburg Area High School
Marc Freeman, Principal, Bloomsburg Middle School, Bloomsburg, PA firstname.lastname@example.org 570-784-9100
Brian Pohl, Principal New Bremen High School, New Bremen, Ohio email@example.com 419-629-8606
John Hillis, Principal Chenango Forks High School, Binghamton, NY
Mary Facci, Executive Principal K-12, New York Mills UFSD
Dr. Ann Edwards, Principal of Rye Middle School, Rye, New York firstname.lastname@example.org 914-967-6100
Patti Morris, Superintendent of Stillwater Central Schools Stillwater, New York email@example.com 518-373-6100
Jennifer Cappelletti, Principal, Ten Broeck Academy/Franklinville Jr.-Sr. High School Franklinville, N.Y. JCappelletti@tbafcs.org 716-676-8052
Tony Giannicchi, Principal, Cattaraugus-Little Valley High School – Cattaraugus, NY
Heather Pufky, Associate Principal, Jennie F. Snapp Middle School – Endicott, NY
Tom Beatty, Principal, Owego-Apalachin Middle School
Annette Hammond, Superintendent, Gilbertsville-Mount Upton Central School District firstname.lastname@example.org 607-783-2207
Heather Wilcox, Principal, Gilbertsville-Mount Upton Central School District email@example.com 607-783-2207
Joe Guccia, Principal, Johnson City High School Johnson City, New York, firstname.lastname@example.org 607-763-1256
Robert White, Principal, Lampasas High School Lampasas, Texas
Andrew Rullo, Principal of Chenango Forks Middle School in Binghamton, New York
Dr. Andrea Crescente Gumble, Chenango Forks English Department Chair
in Binghamton, New York email@example.com 607-648-7544
Christine Cleary, Assistant Principal of Springs Union Free School District
in East Hampton, New York firstname.lastname@example.org 631-324-0144 ext. 129
Dr. Lois R. Favre, Superintendent/Principal at Bridgehampton UFSD
in Bridgehampton, New York email@example.com 631-537-0271
Amber Taylor of Silver Stage Elementary K-8 in Silver Springs, Nevada
Patrick Peters of Silver Stage High School in Silver Springs, Nevada
Fara Shoudy, Career & Technical Education Teacher at Chenango Forks Middle School
in Binghamton, New York ShoudyF@CForks.org 607-624-4798