Never give up. Encourage others. Do your best.
This was the inspirational message delivered to Cooper Elementary students at a special assembly Tuesday.
Ralph Donatelli, NED show performer, entertained students as they gathered, eliciting laughs even before starting. When not doing yo-yo tricks or speaking in silly voices, he told those students, grades kindergarten through fourth, they could be all champions if they followed NED.
Performer Ralph Donatelli introduced Cooper Elementary students Tuesday to NED. Donatelli delivered an inspiring message while performing various yo-yo tricks.
NED took the form of a world-traveling youth with a yo-yo who has difficulty making the right decision, and was making his way to Cooper Elementary when not fleeing aliens.
"If I was at Cooper Elementary right now, I'd be making a bunch of new friends and encouraging them," Donatelli said, recounting Ned's story. "That's why I became a yo-yo guy in the first place."
Donatelli told how Ned, fleeing aliens, ended up in Paris, France, where he enjoyed spaghetti and meatballs.
"How many of you think I'm a meatball?" he asked. The kids all raised their hands. "Hey. The truth is, nobody here is a meatball. We all have gifts and abilities inside us that makes every single one of us a champion."
Donatelli said to the students that Ned believes each of them can be a champion, and explained each of the lessons of the acronym.
"You have goals," he said. "That's what champions do, they set goals and treat people awesome along the way and accomplish those goals."
Never giving up means having a "champion attitude," Donatelli said, while doing a rope trick.
"It's about working hard, being responsible, keep going, even if you don't know that you can," he said.
To promote encouraging others, he had one side of the room say to the other, "Keep up the good work" and the opposite side respond, "You're all pretty cool." Then, he had all the students look to their teachers and say, "You are awesome."
Donatelli said sometimes it was hard to "do your best," the third lesson. It's why he likes pencils, he said.
"If you keep learning from your mistakes and you keep doing your best, your best gets better and you can move on to bigger things," he said, holding up an oversize pencil, to the awe of the students.
In the end, Donatelli asked the students to raise their right hand and led them in a pledge.
The kids repeated after him, saying, "I promise that every day I'll do my best, encourage others, I'll be successful, responsible, safe and kind and will never, ever give up on myself, on my classmates or on you."
Kristy Smith, a Cooper Elementary teacher, said the program emphasized the school's Positive Behavior Intervention and Supports.
"I thought it was an awesome show, a terrific way to highlight our PBIS expectations into the assembly and let the kids know that PBIS carries out into many areas and to encourage them to never give up no matter how hard things become," she said.