On Wednesday, motivational speaker, Kevin Atlas (Laue) talked to students at Centennial High School about the importance of facing adversity and rising up to challenges in life. At nearly seven-feet-tall, Kevin Atlas is the the first person with one arm to earn a Division I basketball scholarship. Currently he is on a nationwide tour to educate students and faculty about the incredible power of “believing in yourself,” despite the challenges, life may present.

Motivational speaker, Kevin Atlas speaks to students, faculty and staff at Centennial High School on Oct. 23, in the school gymnasium.

The “Believe in You” Challenge begins with every student attending a school event he or she may not have gone to before, i.e. the football team attending the band concert to reciprocate the support they received all season or the band attending a drama performance, or all three cheering loudly at the next tennis match.

“I owe so much of where I am to one thing … someone believing in me,” said Atlas. “What was my biggest insecurity became my greatest strength, and I owe it all to someone believing in me. This essential lesson is now my mission in life and my message to all young people. Believe in each other because if not you, then who?”

Motivational Speaker, Kevin Atlas talking to students at Centennial High School, empowering them by encouraging participation, recognizing achievement, building community and school spirit.

“Our mission at Varsity Brands is to elevate student experiences and, given our presence at over 20,000 schools across the country, there isn’t a better person to improve the lives of young people than Kevin,” said Adam Blumenfeld, CEO, Varsity Brands. “We believe we have a duty and obligation to help Kevin spread his message, working directly with our customers (coaches, teachers and administrators) across the country. The #BelieveInYouChallenge and Kevin’s tour will come to life through the hard work and coordination of our three divisions, BSN SPORTS, Herff Jones and Varsity Spirit. We are excited about our partnership with him and look forward to the impact the tour can have across the country.”

Students at Centennial High School hear from Kevin Atlas during a school presentation about encourgment on Oct. 23.

Atlas added: “Our goal for this program is for every student in America to have someone who believes in them. We are beginning a coast-to-coast movement to bring our Believe In You message to campuses across the country because I’ve been at schools where this exists, and it’s beautiful. Young people today need to feel that support and love. I’m so thankful for this opportunity and I know it will make a profound difference.”

Students, faculty and staff at Centennial High School hear about personal experiences that shaped the life of Kevin Atlas.

Like so many others, Atlas’ younger years were tinged with confidence and self-assurance challenges. That is until one person, a coach, took a little interest, and a little extra time, to believe in him. Suddenly, with that support, Atlas grew – literally and figuratively – to a height of 6-foot-11 and to a personality who has shared his story of overcoming on 6 continents and 49 states.

Motivational speaker, Kevin Atlas uses comedy to connect and relate with Centennial High School students.

Now Atlas, who has had his life turned into an Oscar-qualifying documentary titled, “Long Shot: The Kevin Laue Story,” has committed to taking his message to schools nationwide. His “Believe in You” video series has already been shown in thousands of classrooms. The Challenge is designed to inspire every coach, administrator and student to take action and support one another.

— Samantha Lewis, LCPS Public Relations Coordinator, 575-527-5946, slewis@lcps.net