Assembly speaker inspires students to “dream big”


Naia Smith

Ed Gerety speaks to Ocean Lakes students at Founder’s Week Assembly on February 14th.

Motivational speaker Ed Gerety returned to Ocean Lakes to speak words of encouragement to the entire school last Friday, wrapping up the annual Founder’s Week and leaving behind a spark of enthusiasm. 

This year’s Founder’s Week theme, “Mann Up,” was incorporated into over 25 presentations, held all week as a way to honor the memory of the late Brian Mann, who lost his battle to cancer on Aug. 31, 2019.

At school, Mann was a plank holder and department chair. Showcasing the dedication and integrity Mann displayed in all aspects of his life, this year’s speakers shared stories of defying the odds, overcoming obstacles.

Motivational speaker Ed Gerety was no different.

Walking onto the gym floor, he sought to bring positivity. With a grin, Gerety cracked jokes and entertained his audience. 

“I think he was more engaging than other speakers because it was like he was speaking to us, not at us,” said English teacher Christina Frierman. “It felt like a…conversation with a friend.”

Gerety engaged his audience by using students in his speech.

“I thought he grabbed everyone’s attention and made it fun. Time kinda flew by fast listening to him,” said sophomore Kaylie Dewey. “When he was referring back to the different schools he went to, it was cool to think about the impact he’s had on other kids besides Ocean Lakes students.” 

Gerety encouraged students to be kind and live life like every moment is their last. Touching on topics like love, compassion, and gratefulness, Mann shined through Ed’s empowering words. 

“I see you. You matter. I’ve got your back,” said Gerety.