Porterville middle school "Lead the Way" to empowering students

Amanda Aguilar Image
Saturday, February 11, 2023
Porterville middle school "Lead the Way" to empowering students
Burton Middle School in Porterville teamed up with a local motivational speaking company for a morning filled with student empowerment.

PORTERVILLE, Calif. (KFSN) -- Students at Burton Middle School filed into the gym Friday morning and were greeted with flashing lights and bumping music.

It may look and sound like a school rally, but the "Lead the Way" conference was focused on more than just school spirit.

"We really want to give the message of empowerment of inspiration, of motivation," Rise2It Productions founder Dr. Jonathan Hernandez says.

Rise2It Productions, based in Central California, travels across the Valley and country to help students of all ages rise up to their full potential.

"Students need life skills. They need to know how to go on and be successful in real life," Burton Middle School principal Casey Rangel says. "That's academics, of course, but that's also connections and knowing how to build yourself up and be able to strive in the real world."

ABC30's Amanda Aguilar was invited to speak, along with radio show host and comedian Andre Covington.

They shared messages about pushing past our fears.

"You have something inside of you that's going to help you get over whatever it is your fear," Covington says.

They also shared their own experiences getting bullied as children and how to deal with it.

Even more life lessons were taught through activities.

The importance of having confidence, as students got in front of their peers for a lip sync battle.

The winner took home $100. But there was one message that really struck a chord with students.

"Choose who you surround yourself with. Choose who you want to be in life," Eighth-grader Adrian Esquivel says.

"Sometimes people really don't like you and that's alright but you just got to be with the right people," Eighth-grader Patrick Ceron says.

Students say they're walking away inspired and ready for whatever challenges school or life may throw at them, knowing they have the tools to succeed.

"Burton Middle School always has these events going on to boost confidence in their students," Eighth-grader Ezecue Leon says.