The Weekly Newspaper serving the citizens of Morenci, Mich., Fayette, Ohio, and surrounding areas.

  • Front.cheers
    MACEE BEERS joins other Fayette Elementary School students for the annual Mini-Cheer performance during the half-time break at the basketball game.
  • Family.3.wide
    CHILDREN at Stair District Library’s Family Story Time toss scarves into the air during an activity. The evening program provided a mix of stories, songs, dancing, crafts and snacks Monday evening. The program is offered at 5:30 p.m. every Monday for five more weeks. The program is designed for three to five year olds and their family.
  • Front.newpaper.2
    THE INTERVIEW—Evelyn Joughin (right) records the interaction with an iPad while Jack Varga, next to her, asks questions of Morenci Elementary School principal Gail Frey. Morenci senior Sam Cool (standing) listens. Cool serves as the editor for the newspaper written by members of Mrs. Barrett’s second grade class.
  • Front.code.2
    WRITING CODE—Brock Christle (left), a Morenci fifth grade student, takes a look at the progress being made by fourth grader Anthony Lewis. Libby Rorick, a sixth grade student, is next in a line of girls trying out the coding tutorials. This year marked Morenci’s second year of participation in the Hour of Code project.
  • Front.gym.new
    REMIE RYAN (left) tries to dodge the foam wand held by Hayden Bays during physical education class at Morenci Elementary School. In the background, Lauryn Dominique and Brooklyn Williams stay clear of the tag. Second grade students were working on cardiovascular health on the first day back from vacation. For the record, Safety Tag is a very difficult sport to photograph.
  • Front.lift
    MORENCI student Dalton McCowan puts everything into a dead lift attempt Saturday morning during the Wyseguy Push/Pull event. Lifters helped raise more than $1,600 for the family of the late Devin Wyse, a former Morenci power-lifter who graduated last year. Commemorative T-shirts are still available by contacting teacher Dan Hoffman.
  • Front.library.books
    MACK DICKSON takes a book off the “blind date” cart at the Fayette library. Patrons can choose a book without knowing what’s inside other than a general category. The books are among those designated for removal so patrons can consider them gifts. In Morenci, new books and staff favorites were chosen from the stacks and must be returned. Patrons get a piece of chocolate, too, to take on their date, but no clue about their “date.” One reader said she really enjoyed her book for a few pages, but then lost interest—so typical for a blind date.

Blaise Winter tells students to believe in themselves 10.03.2007

Written by David Green.

By DAVID GREEN

Blaise Winter stands just inside the doorway of the Morenci Area High School gymnasium. He’s watching students by the dozens file past and take a seat in the bleachers.

They’re coming in to listen to him—this guy they’ve never heard of, this guy dressed in black and smiling through a slightly disfigured face.

Winter throws out some words to a student here and there walking past. He’s making some noise, he’s getting pumped to face the crowd, he’s about to turn on the passion.

And let’s be clear about it right from the start: No one accuses Blaise Winter of lacking passion.

Morenci business owner Joe Farquhar begins the introduction and Winter slinks across the floor in his best feminine pose. No one accuses Winter of being subjugated to the rules of proper etiquette, either. He’s worked through all of that long ago.blaise1

He apologizes to Farquhar for spoiling his introduction, then he tells the audience that although he’s worked on a speech impediment for years, not all of his words come out quite right.

And then he lets loose, doing what Blaise Winter does these days: Traveling the country telling audiences—no, exhorting audiences—to stop looking for problems in their lives, to face their fears, to stand up for what’s right, to grow in body, mind and spirit.

Winter instantly transforms into a dynamic speaker who grabs your attention and doesn’t let you go until he’s ready. A funny story one minute, a passionate plea for growth the next—all the while urging listeners to change for the better and become what they dream of.

Winter is 46 years old, a dozen years out of an 11-year career with the National Football League, and he wants to tell people how he got there.

In short, he got there the hard way. An abusive father, a hearing deficiency, a cleft palate and lip.

“I hated my deformity,” he said. “I hated that I was born with a hole in my face. My mother told me to face my fears, but I didn’t want to. My first fear was the mirror.”

He didn’t speak well as a child, he didn’t look good, he was constantly bullied and teased, and his father only brought him down a notch further.

“He made us feel bad to make himself feel better,” Winter said.

Winter had no shortage of excuses to use in his life, but his mother wouldn’t have it. Now he knows what she was saying. Don’t use your circumstances to justify your bad behavior.

“Get over it,” he told the students. “You don’t have to carry on hate or a bad attitude.

“I had a tendency to destroy myself with my thoughts. What you think is what you become. You might become old and bitter and there are too many old and bitter people in the world.”

In high school outside of New York City, Winter decided to play football—the helmet could hide his ugly face—and he excelled. His aim was to play at a college, but his coach didn’t think that was ever going to happen.

The coach’s words hurt worse than any football injury: “You try hard, but I don’t think you’re good enough to play at college. I don’t believe you can play at that level.”

Winter made his way down his list of prospective schools until he reached a territory lower than desired. He decided to try out at Syracuse and made the team as a walk-on. Within a month, the head coach told him he was on scholarship.

“You’ve got four years to prove to me what I think you can become,” the coach said.

Winter worked his way up to a starting position and was eventually named MVP. When his college days ended, he was drafted by the Indianapolis Colts, as a 295-pound defensive lineman.

Winter’s talk could have gone on for much longer, but his 50 minutes were drawing to a close.

“How many people can say they’ve lived their dream?” he asked the students. “I hope I’ve helped you think about your lives.”

And then he said a few words about what it’s like to be Blaise Winter standing before an audience.

“My intensity and passion are often misunderstood,” he said, “but there’s nothing wrong with passion as long as you’re genuine about it.”

When Winter wraps up his show, there’s probably no one questioning his sincerity. He’s taken everybody for a ride on his speeding train called “Believe in Yourself.”

 

Words of advice from Blaise:

• You can sit and look for problems and you’ll find them, but that’s not what I want you to do. I want you to grow.


• I’ve learned to use adversity to grow. I’ve learned to use a problem to become stronger in body, mind and spirit.


• I really believe that people create the lives they want to lead.


• Go out and influence others. Stand up for what’s right. A lot of people don’t like me for that, but I’m looking for others to stand up with me. The basketball team, the football team needs to stand up together and say it’s wrong.


• Open your mind and search. Don’t listen to your best friends but to your enemies. I learn more from my enemies than I do from my friends.

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