Notes from students of a Blount County high school after a January 2020 performance.

In the magic show yesterday, I was most impacted by his story. I have never wanted to smoke or drink, but after hearing his story, it scared me so now I definitely never want to do that kind of stuff. When he started tearing up about the school bullies and the popular kids that when it hit me, I started to tear up because I am one of those kids that sees the lonely kids and thinks about inviting them to come eat with me and my friends but never do it.

Everything he said was amazing and very inspiring, especially when he said "no one in here is a mistake." The greatest impact he had on me was when he was telling us what drinking can do to us.

I will admit I was amazed by the show and how it was presented. But my favorite part was the courage of this man. My life was not the best when I grew up and I never talk about it. But the fact that this man can get up in front of a group of random people and tell his life story the way it truly was is truly astonishing, encouraging and inspiring.

The biggest impact from the story Steven told us that I remember was when he told us that his nephews and nieces were following in his family's footsteps of bad decisions. This had the greatest impact on me because it showed me that if you want to change the world then you have to be willing to do what the rest of the world is unwilling to do.

What I liked the most was the tricks he preformed. They were neat, unexpected, and just really cool. The part that impacted me most was when he got to the deep stuff. No person should go through what his family put him through. I will think about what I say or do to the other people around me.

The stuff that I remember is when he started talking about his personal stuff and he almost cried. His tricks show how people pay attention to the wrong thing.

It showed me that you should respect everyone no matter what situation they are in and to never make fun of anyone's situation because you never know whats going on.

His story had a really big impact on me because it reminded me to be grateful for what I have and cherish every day. Also to not let people talk me into things that are harmful for me and my future.

What made the greatest impact from Steven's story yesterday was when he talked about his childhood. It makes you realize that you never know what someone is going through or what has happened in their past, so you should always be kind to everyone.

I was already was super surprised about the magic alone when he began. But when he was mostly done with the show and he started talking about his childhood and life, that's was when I was impacted the most. What he talked about with his childhood and what he went through as being a kid, I could relate to a whole lot. I grew up in a very unsafe and unfit environment for a child. My guardians were not fit to be parents and I was treated very poorly. But even now, that I have a safe home and get treated as I should, I could still relate to what he was saying. Specifically, when he was talking about how people shouldn't bully others or make fun of because you really never know what they could be going through emotionally or at home. Like Stephen said, the kid could have to already be a mini-parent because they may have a sibling to watch or they're home alone and don't get much attention because their parents have to work all the time, of which I compare to myself. I was very inspired by his speech and what he had to say.

It gave me more hope that things in my life will eventually get better. I'm not a mistake like I've been told many times. For so long I've struggled with my self and I was suicidal. I got the help I needed and lately I've been feeling very low. He just reminded me that I'm worth having here.

Yesterday, I thought that the magic show was really cool and the speech was very inspiring. Throughout the speech I realized that addiction doesn't just affect one person, it affects generations to come. Another thing that I learned from the speech is that I have it well, I have two parents that are really good to me and not everyone has that.

It showed me that you should not judge people because of what they look, dress, or act. You never know what their home looks like and school is where some kids get their feeling of self worth where people actually care about them and the last thing they need is to be bulled at school and at home.

What I remember most about the magic show was how bright Steven was. I had no idea that a person could be so funny and so heartwarming just while doing magic tricks. I never expected the story that followed the show. His story proved how you can overcome anything if you say enough is enough. Steven shows how a kind person with a good heart can beat the odds placed by negative people around them.

Yesterday at the assembly I learned that you can be the change. You are not defined by what kind of family you grew up in. If you want to be different, you can be. You might have to avoid certain things but with determination you can be different. I also learned that you never know what is happening in someone's life. They can be going through a lot of difficult things at home and come to school just so they don't have to be at their house. But school might also be hard for kids because teenagers tend to be mean. They don't have to intentionally be mean, but when they don't say hello or good morning to someone it can make their day even worse. There are also people being mean to others on purpose which makes that person feel terrible about themselves to the point where they would rather be at home, in terrible conditions, than to have interact with their "peers." That doesn't mean that a person cannot have a good life. Even if school is terrible for them, and their home life is terrible, they can grow up to have a very loving life. I learned to never give up, no matter what the circumstances, because your life can take a turn and become wonderful.