Vicksburg High School
501 E. Highway St.
Vicksburg, MI 49097
To Whom It May Concern,
My name is Anthony Lindeman and I teach art/photography in Vicksburg, MI. I've taught at the secondary level for more than 12 years. In Vicksburg we take pride in how students treat fellow students including staff members. As an educator I understand how impactful my actions and words can be on students. I modeled a great deal of my citizenship qualities after what Jim Tuman speaks of.
Passion, intensity, powerful, genuine, caring... these are just a few of the many adjectives that I think of when I hear the name, Jim Tuman. I saw Jim Tuman as a freshman in high school back in 1989 and he still has a profound impact on me to this day. His message was genuine and very impactful. To this day I can recall vivid parts of his presentation where my peers and I were challenged to look at our personalities and our actions towards others. Most students were brought to tears as his message led to an all day forum of touching statements and promises. I've seen numerous speakers that have talked to students here at VHS. None of them speak with the same passion that Jim delivers.
Of all the speakers that I've heard, his message holds substance and sticks with people. You keep asking yourself the questions that he asks during the assembly. "How do you want people to remember you when you're gone?" Certainly not by the THINGS that we possess but how we treat others. Quoting Jim "The best things in life aren't THINGS."
This past school year a small group of teachers started an anti-bullying committee at the high school. I was asked to be part of that committee. Our goal was for every student to feel safe and welcome at the school. We were interested in having someone speak to the students on this subject and Jim Tuman came to my mind. I researched him and found out that he still speaks to schools and communities. We invited Jim to visit Vicksburg High School and address our students on bullying issue and other various topics that concern young adults.
After 23 years I was anxious to hear Jim's words on the 5th of May, 2011. I was hoping that his words would have the same if not greater impact on our high school students. He was very dynamic and his words brought many to tears. He spoke about real life issues and personalized his message so that student and all could relate. Every person in the performing arts center raved about the message. Hundreds of students (none of whom he knew) swarmed him with hugs and tears after he spoke. It took nearly twenty minutes to get Jim out of the auditorium and into the cafeteria nd that afternoon. He stayed for all three lunches and spoke to the students. Students walked out of school that day with a huge sense of pride and an eagerness to put his words to work. Staff and students could not stop talking about is impact that afternoon on VHS. I have never met a more genuine person who cares and touches so many of his listener's hearts.
When Jim speaks people listen. He includes the entire audience so their attention is in the palm of his hand at all times. He had students on the edge of their seats for the entire two plus hours that he spoke. The greatest thing though was listening to the students and staff open up to each other after his presentation. It was unique and quite amazing to see someone reach out to 900 plus people.
Later that evening I got on his Facebook page and was amazed to see the number of posts our students wrote on is wall. They left words of thanks, praise and promise on his wall. Within days he responded to each and every one of them. He's not a one and done type of speaker. He really connects and stays connected. His program has tangible solutions that tie the community in with parents, teacher and student. Jim has planned to return in the fall to continue working with Vicksburg. The students and staff cannot wait for his return. It had been 23 years since I last saw Jim Tuman speak but that day in May was just as, if not more, impactful than the one in 1989. Young adults battle so much now a days but Jim finds a way to break the walls and connect. He has a unique approach that is very effective. I highly recommend Jim Tuman to any group, school, or community that wants a positive change. Our anti-bullying group and administration has been very satisfied since and can't wait for his return.
Mr. Anthony Lindeman, Art Educator
Ms. Kellie VanderKolk, Special Ed. Teacher
Ms. Diana Alger, HS Counsleor
Mrs. Charie Bailey, Technology Coordinator
Ms. Jennifer Baldwin, Special Ed. Teacher
Vicksburg High School, 269-321-1112
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