By Anna PedronFebruary 16, 2016
FORT BENNING, Ga., (Feb. 17 2016) -- When eighth-grade students at Faith Middle School walked into the cafeteria the morning of Feb. 10, they were expecting a presentation about bullying. Instead they saw a man in a bright orange jumpsuit enter the room.
Portraying the character of Ray Ray - a middle school dropout who ended up in jail for bullying - Pete Key, an international motivational speaker, used a combination of music and dramatic acting to engage the students and drive home a message about the dangers and effects of bullying.
Key acted out the story of "Ray Ray" - a boy who showed a promising talent for basketball at a young age; who fell for a girl in eighth-grade, quickly became jealous and possessive of her to the point of violence and bullied another boy so badly that the boy committed suicide.
During the narrative, Key emphasized how each small decision was a seemingly harmless choice "Ray Ray" made - first to date the girl, then to threaten her to keep her in line, to give up basketball and bully the boy, and so forth - and how all those decisions ended up with serious consequences that landed "Ray Ray" in jail.
"I didn't think I was bad until I ended up on a court bench," said "Ray Ray." "Listening to a girl cry about how I had pushed her brother into killing himself. I was a bully, and I didn't even realize how bad it was."
After his performance, Key told the students he had three points he wanted them to remember:
* When things get rough, throw your arms up and calm down.
* Think before you act.
* Remember that there is always sunshine, even on cloudy days.
Key emphasized how important it was not only for kids to treat each other with respect, but to stand up for each other.
"When you see someone else being picked on, think about how you would feel if it was you,' Key said. "You would want someone to reach out and help you. So you need to take care of each other."
Key ended his presentation by reminding the kids to always have H.O.P.E - Helping Other People Excel, by Having Only Positive Expectations.
"You never know what is going in a person's life that makes them lash out," he said. "And you never know how one kind word in place of any angry one could change a situation.
"One decision can cause everything to change in your life. You have the power to make your own decisions, but those decisions will always come with consequences - ones you can't control."
"The Family Advocacy Program wanted Mr. Key to speak to the students after the FAP staff heard him at an anti-bullying conference they had attended at the end of last year," said Theresa Sanchez, FAP Prevention coordinator. "We knew his dynamic personality would captivate the students, and we wanted the students to take away the message of how the decisions they make today affect their tomorrow and no matter how remorseful they - are they can't turn the hands of the clock back.