“Believe in yourself, and never give up on your dreams.”
That was the message singer-songwriter Ryan Laird delivered to students at Hague High School on Thursday, November 22. Laird, who grew up in Fergus, Ontario, is currently touring schools across Canada with his musical anti-bullying message.
Laird also performed on Wednesday, November 21 at Ecole Traditions Elementary and Holy Trinity Schools in Warman.
Laird has worked with some musical heavyweights in Nashville, Tennessee, and is actively pursuing his dream of a country music career. He told students it’s not always easy to achieve your goals, but that doesn’t mean you shouldn’t try.
He said he experienced a major setback when he was very young, when he was the target of bullying in school. It was only by talking to a trusted adult that he was able to overcome those difficulties. He noted with the explosion of social media apps in the past decade, online bullying is now a major problem.
“Always treat people with respect and kindness,” he said during his concert.
Laird performed several self-penned songs to illustrate his points.
Hague High School Principal Clay Kirby said he hopes the positive message Laird brought to his presentation makes an impact on students.
“I’m always looking for people that are able to send a message about two things that are near and dear to my heart,” said Kirby. “That’s never giving up; chasing your dreams no matter what, whether it’s in academics, sports, music or whatever it happens to be.
“The other aspect is that bullying is very destructive, and it has got to go. There is no room for bullying in schools or in society.”
Laird’ motivational program, “Bigger than That” is outlined in his website.