Guest speaker: Negative choices lead to negative lives

By Thania Figueroa/Staff Writer 

Micheal DeLeon is a guest speaker who travels about 11 months of the year to over 3,000 schools. DeLeon’s main objective is “not to get kids to end up like me.” He is now the number one booked school presenter in the world. 

“It’s not me…it’s the powerful message that I have, the gift that God gave me to deliver it, and the identification that ‘I know what’s going on, and I know what’s happening and I’m trying to get other people to understand it,” DeLeon said.

DeLeon served 12 years in prison after making poor decisions in his life but also for a crime he did not commit. 

When he went to prison, he did not know what he wanted to do. He did not understand what his purpose was for the first five years. DeLeon was able to come back home for seven months and then continue the rest of his sentence—another seven years. This is where he decided he was going to make a change in his life, especially after his wife said she would wait for him.

“I decided I’m going to change everything,” he said. “I’m going to change my thoughts, my belief system…then I’m going to get out and change the world.”

While in prison, DeLeon decided to join a program called “Scared Straight.” This program was made into a reality television show called Beyond Scared Straight. This program brought in children and teenagers to meet the prisoners, “it’s our job to scare the hell out of them,” said DeLeon. He continued to be a part of this program for five seasons. He said 80% of the kids who came to the program came back to serve time in prison as an adult, 10% of them did not make it past their 18th birthday. DeLeon knew this program was not working, but continued to be a part of it to hopefully reach their hearts and not just get in their heads. 

DeLeon talked about the poor decisions he has made in his life that have led him to where he is today, from robbing gas stations to transporting drugs across the country. He told a story where his daughter got in touch with a handgun, accidentally fired it, and slightly hit her ear, only enough to make it bleed. DeLeon also told a story during the time he was dealing drugs. People he knew came looking for him, but instead, they found DeLeon’s mother and killed her. 

This part of his speech stood out to senior Faafetai Lemautu.

“It really shows the side of drugs that people don’t really want to talk about,” Lemautu said. 

DeLeon said that the choices we make affect our health, future, and our family. 

DeLeon emphasizes that drugs and alcohol are the number one leading cause of death in America for ages 27 and below. He said that “we have trained our children that medication is safe” and that “we’re creating the next generation of addicts.”

“Sexual abuse, human trafficking, sexual assault is higher than it has ever been, ever, and kids use drugs as a way to escape, kids use drugs as a way to mask the pain, kids use drugs as a way to cope,” said DeLeon.

DeLeon was 11 years old when he smoked a cigarette and drank alcohol for the first time. He was 13 years old when he started taking pills. At 15 years old, he tried cocaine for the first time. At 18 years old, he was addicted to meth and heroin. This addiction lasted for the next 10 years of his life, which led him to prison for the next 12 years. 

During this time in prison, he decided he was going to take on a mission, so he wrote a book. This book about his life is now being turned into a movie which will be out next year. 

Freshman Kory Davidson attended this event and said, “there’s always a way out, you can always make it out no matter what you’ve been through in life, there’s a way to change your life around and he really sets the bar up there.”

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