PHILADELPHIA (CBS)–Students at a Bucks County School had a special visit from a man with a survivor’s story who has become an inspiration to millions.
Shane Kocyzan became an instant celebrity when he performed during the 2010 Winter Olympics with his poem entitled ‘We Are More’ talking about coping with and overcoming bullying.
He spoke to students recently at Valley Day School in Morrisville, Pennsylvania.
Among the many things he told students, he described a dance party in his school gymnasium.
“My first dance experience was with a nun,” said Kocyzan.
It might sound funny but it was traumatizing for Kocyzan who read some of his poetry at the school for students who struggle from emotional and behavioral issues.
“We’re living in a world that’s constantly telling us to shut off emotions despite the fact we’re emotional creatures,” he told the students.
He was overwhelmed with emotions as a child who was abandoned by his parents and bullied by peers.
Poetry became Kocyzan’s salvation.
“‘In the end we’ll all wish we’d spent our wishes on what mattered,'” a line he read from his writings.
His words of survival and inspiration now ring around the world in his anti-bullying video called ‘To This Day’ which has been viewed more than 20 million times.
“Laughter can be fun but it can assassinate parts of your psyche,” he said.
Roman Barnes is a student at Valley Day and writes poetry to help overcome his history of anger and depression.
“I see bullying all the time in and out of school,” said 17-year-old Barnes. “We all just need some ray of light, you know what I mean, we all just need some kind of beacon of hope.”
Finding hope through despair was the message from Kocyzan along with respecting people through all their differences, no matter what.
The people around you are not objects,” he told the students. “They’re actual people with the same thoughts and feelings, those need to be considered, so awareness is key.”