Former BYU mascot brings anti-bullying message to junior high

Josh Drean dances along with student volunteers Caleb Slade, left, McKay Snyder and Kim Linch, right, as Drean gives a presentation called Defeat Bullying Positively at Mount Nebo Junior High School in Payson on Tuesday, Nov. 5, 2013. Drean formerly performed as BYU's mascot and now travels the country giving presentations to help fight bullying. SPENSER HEAPS

Students at Mt. Nebo Junior High School, in Payson, were entertained by a talented beatboxer on Tuesday. Josh Drean, a youth speaker, not only shared his cough, chicken and Power Ranger beatbox, but he also shared a positive message with students about bullying.

"I want to talk to you guys about defeating bullying positively," said Drean. "If you leave here feeling good, you are more likely to walk away with ways to respect other people. If we focus on the positive, then the results are positive."

Drean shared with students a few experiences he had in life when he was bullied, from his time just starting out as a beatboxer in junior high to trying out for cheerleading in college to support his bullied brother, to being bullied by others when he was Cosmo, Brigham Young University's mascot.

"I watched my brother being bullied for so many years and he started listening to what other people were telling him," said Drean. "He started to believe these things. Why do we let others shut us down? Why do we let them stereotype us?"

Drean invited three students to participate in a mascot competition and shared with students the code or the three rules of mascotting. Drean's presentation didn't focus on the suicides or the bullying epidemic, but instead focused on being positive, treating others kindly and creating respect within a school.

Caleb Slade, a ninth grader, was a participant in the mascot competition who was influenced by the assembly.

"I really enjoyed his beatboxing," said Slade. "This assembly changed my perspective and taught me to look at things differently."

Drean is just finishing up his fall speaking circuit in the region of New York, New Jersey and Connecticut. He will be starting up his spring speaking circuit with the help of sponsorship schools. Schools that might be interested in having a presentation by Drean can find out more information at www.joshdrean.com.

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