I have been teaching at Bondurant-Farrar for 29 years, and I can tell you from experience that you truly made a difference today! Thank you for speaking, for guiding, motivating, and helping our wonderful students see their true potential. It was a joy to behold! This world needs more people like you!
— Tambi, Staff
I’m a school board member and I really enjoyed listening to the impact your talk had on my kids. I’m sure that it impacted many other students there as well. I wasn’t able to listen to it in person but I did have the opportunity to view what you have posted on your website. It is a very powerful message. I commend you on your ability to use your experiences to help young people across the country.
— Jimmy, School Board member
This guy (Joshua Coburn) changed my life today! He told me that it is okay to be different & that everyone has problems that they may be dealing with. Normally we have the whole “Drugs are bad for you” speech but today we talked about actual things that are affecting EVERYONE. Words can’t explain how much I thank you Joshua!
— Cooper, Student
I don’t get emotional much, but today I was literally crying. Nobody ever gets through my head, but you did, that is what is so special because honestly, going into that assembly I was like, well this is going to be like every other freaking assembly. But dang was I wrong. So wrong. I don’t know if I have any words to literally describe how I felt during that. I just really appreciate you, and you taking the time to come to Lincoln. You forever changed my life and I can’t thank you enough Joshua.
— Blayke, Student
I have heard a lot of motivational speakers throughout high school and I probably have to say that you are honestly the best and I can connect to the things you had to share! Again, thanks so much for coming!
— Kaitlyn, Student
I just really want to think you for coming out to our small town....it may not be a lot but you really changed the outlook on a lot of people’s lives and ur probably a hero to people also you made so many deep connections and had me crying haha so think u for everything it really means so much.
— Annabel, Student
On Tuesday afternoon Belle Plaine Jr./Sr. High School held an assembly for students in grades 6-12. The featured speaker was Joshua Coburn, life coach, author, and former body modification artist, who is traveling the country speaking to various companies and schools on his Manners and Motivation Tour. Coburn, who is a former BGM graduate has spoken at other area schools such as HLV and BGM came highly recommended from both staff and students from these schools.

His message focuses on the challenges many teens and even adults face everyday such as depression, anxiety, drug abuse, suicide, self esteem, and bullying. These are all the same experiences he went through and he was able to share with the students how he changed his life around when he reached a low point and how he has continued to face his challenges everyday. One of the keys to changing his life was HIS choice to change the course of his life and take control of his own life by making a conscious decision to be the person he truly wanted to be. Another key to this was to “Be Nice”. He also added, “If you have something nice to say, say it”. The main pieces to the the whole philosophy are to DREAM BIG, BELIEVE BIG, and SUCCEED BIG.

His message was truly genuine and connected deeply with students. His approach of speaking WITH the students and not necessarily to them caused students to feel the message more strongly and form a stronger emotional attachment to the message. The reaction of students after the assembly was evident when nearly 80 students remained to speak, take pictures, and get autographs from Josh. Students remained in the gym for over 40 minutes after he had finished his presentation. Coburn shared that the reaction of students after he is finished demonstrates how well he connected. I’d say he connected very well. The last couple days I’ve also asked many students about his presentation and the their reactions have been 100% positive. Many have said he was the best speaker they’ve ever heard at Belle Plaine. Coburn continues to communicate with students through social media. This back and forth interaction is different than other presenters and will keep the message alive for as long as students continue to follow the philosophy.

All types of students took something different from his talk and all connected with him in a way other speakers have failed to do. Four days later I still hear students talking about Coburn and have even heard positive comments from parents whose kids came home talking about the great speaker they had at school. I’ve even used his message to work with student to student problems that have come up since. I can also say that I’ve noticed students speaking more positively toward one another in school and hopefully this approach can help raise everyone up to see that they can feel good about who they are and take the initiative to be who they want to be.

Thank you to Joshua Coburn for coming to Belle Plaine and being a part of making our school a better place to be!
— Todd Werner, Principal, Belle Plain High School
I just wanted to thank you for your wonderful presentation at our school. I am going through multiple hardships right now and you really inspired me, and many others to just keep our heads up. What you are doing is beautiful and it’s so inspiring that your job is you living your dreams of helping others. Thank you so much!
— Mariah, Student
This guy (Joshua Coburn) is so awesome!! Made my day! :^) Again, my life is complete!
— Brittany, Student
Thank you so much for coming today, you succeeded in changing lives by far. You have no idea what you have given me by speaking to us.
— The Broadway Dreamer Ana, Student
Joshua Coburn is fantastic. He is a true zealot for living life to the fullest and his passion for helping others is evident through his speaking. He is a very honest, relatable guy who proves that the best thing you can do with your life is use it improve someone else’s. Honored to have met him!
— Bryanna, Student
I am laying here in bed crying because of how you’ve changed my life today. You are honestly such an amazing person. I feel so much gratitude towards you for what you’ve done, for me, for other students, & all who you have touched. You truly are a gift from God. & I’m sure you have those days where it’s just as hard for you to be motivated like the rest of us, but you try. That’s the key. You try. Thank you so so much for being at my school today. I must say that I thought it was going to be just another dumb assembly that no one would care about, but it wasn’t. It was a truly life changing experience that I will never forget. I thought about your words all afternoon. You really spoke to me & I want to be a better person. So thank you, truly from the bottom of my heart you’re amazing & you deserve all the happiness you’ve found.
— Student, DC-G
You have truly changed my life in an hour and half and I could put so many more ways of how you have changed it. I hope to have the same impact on other lives as you did on me. Words can’t express how thankful I am that you came today!
— Kate, Student
I saw you at my former school and truth be told, it truly helped change me into the person I am today. I was struggling with a lot back then. My family was going through a lot, I was struggling in school, and I was losing a battle against myself. But you truly moved me. You made me want to motivate myself to become better, kinder, happier, and more of who I am. And it is with greatest pleasure that I inform you of that fact that my family problems have simmered down, Im an A and B student at my current school, and I haven’t self harmed or even really thought about doing it in, coming up, 10 months.
And I owe such a huge thanks to you. You gave me the slimest thought of motivating myself and I took it and I RAN.
I’m happy with this, I’m getting happier with who I am, and I truly found someone who loves me, even though I’m still a work in progress and so is he, for me. And I do the same in return.
I was thinking about this all last night and it all came down to that one performance you made in Van Meter, Iowa. Such a small town. Such a huge impact.
Thank you. For being you.
— Kylee, Student
I think it’s safe to say that you united our high school in a way that past speakers haven’t. Literally everyone loved it, was inspired by it, and was able to relate. You really changed lives today!
— Justine, Student
This guy (Joshua Coburn) is EXACTLY the speaker our school needed in the wake of all that has happened in the past year. It wasn’t a generic “Don’t do drugs or you’ll be no-one” speech. Today’s speaker gave inspiration, talking to EVERYONE, the fact that it hit home meant even more. God bless you man!
— Nathan, Student
You’re a wonderful human being! Words can’t thank you enough for all that you have done for us. Everyone needs to hear your message. You have changed so many people’s lives, it’s beyond crazy. I enjoyed that you focused on learning to love/accept yourself and not just saying “don’t do this and that because it’s bad” which is what a lot of speakers do. I hope and pray for even more success for you.
— Bridget, Student
You literally changed lives today. It seemed like everyone was instantly nicer to each other after your speech. You are one of the best speakers Lincoln has ever had and I want to say thanks. Personally, it helped me realize that everyone does have the struggles. They may not be the same but we can all still relate. I am so glad you came today and was very glad that I got to give you that hug! You were so inspirational. Thank you so much!
— Lindsey, Student
I think the most amazing thing of all is that one person can touch so many lives. Joshua Coburn you gave so many people the inspiration they need. I still can’t get the things you said out of my head!
— Jodi, Student
Big thank you to this guy (Joshua Coburn). You made me see the good things in life. Your story hit me like a tornado, in a good way though lol.
— Chloe, Student
I just wanted to say your presentation was so incredible, and inspirational. It was such a great gift to have someone like you there to talk to us all, someone different than the ordinary. It honestly felt like you were telling my story the whole time. I cried throughout it because it was just so heartbreaking but so true all at the same time. Thank you so much for coming down and speaking to everyone.
— Taylor, Student
The fact that this amazing guy (Joshua Coburn) came to our school and talked about everyday problems instead of drugs meant so much to me. He made me understand that it’s okay not to be “Normal” & its okay to stand out. And the fact that you showed me that things do get better meant so much to me. I can’t thank you enough! You are a very deep and awesome person! Words can’t explain how much it meant to me!
— Ciara, Student
I truly felt like I was speaking to a longtime friend who understood me, not just some random person telling me how to live my life. I sat there thinking about my own life wondering if what I’m doing is right or if it’s going to lead me somewhere I don’t belong nor want to be. Listening to you talk was an amazing experience and truly opened my eyes to a better future.
— Emma, Student
Even though your just one person, you changed our school in a monumental and extreme way. It was only about two weeks ago that you were speaking to us but I’ve already seen HUGE improvements in myself and others around the school.
— Clair, Student
This man absolutely saved my life.
— Jacob, Student
He was so inspirational and gave the BEST motivational speech! It brought so many people to tears.I didn’t think I could love this school anymore until they brought in a heavily pierced and tattooed guy to share his struggles and how he overcame them and made them triumphs with all of us!
— Taylor, Student
Thank you for coming! Very inspirational, you really changed everyone’s lives! Please stop by Next year again, to teach the new kids in the school! You are a great person!
— Brennan, Student
Thank u so much for coming to our school u have inspired me to follow my dream and follow it and to do good things for other people/show respect to people! Thank u so much!
— Chelsea, Student
Awesome!! One of the students told me afterward that you really touched his heart! You’re really an amazing person! Thank you for coming today! I hope you can come back and speak again because the kids and staff really enjoyed it!
— Erin, Staff
I thought that was the best assembly that this school has ever had. Thank you for the inspiration!!!
— Jackson, Student
I seriously loved the assembly with Josh. He’s such an inspiration. He is most definitely a role model for me. He’s himself, and he cares for everyone. He’s soo sweet. He is one of those people you don’t forget. Thanks Josh, you’ve helped me when I need it.
— Paris, Student
Walking into the auditorium, the students were curious. Josh’s promotional materials had piqued that curiosity but it was his message that kept our students captivated. He took them through his darkest days and pulled them through with humor, positivity, and insightfulness. His message has endurance; we even had several students include him as an example in their final semester project for English several months after his speaking engagement. Somehow Josh mixes in good old-fashioned manners yet still relates to today’s teenager flawlessly. His willingness to stay after to meet with individual and groups of students cemented the rapport and drew students who sometimes have difficulty making connections at school. Josh destroys those walls that students put up which makes them open to his positive message.
— Jolie Morgan, English Teacher, Dallas Center-Grimes

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