Cheers filled the cafeteria at Mossy Creek Elementary School on Friday as Shonn Keels bent a metal rod into the shape of a fish, tore a phone book in half and broke a wooden bat.
Once he had their attention, Keels spoke to the pupils and encouraged them to listen to the right voices, make the right choices and follow dream-makers, not dream- takers.
“There will be people who will laugh at your goals and dreams,’’ he said, adding that young people should surround themselves with people who will cheer them on.
Keels, a member of Team Impact, and teammate Chip Minton spent the majority of Friday traveling to schools in the North Augusta area, showcasing their strength and sharing messages with pupils about going for their goals and earning respect.
“Team Impact is a group of world-class athletes that travel around the world doing feats of strength and sharing the message of hope and inspiration,” said Keels, who has been on the team since it was founded in 2000.
Big Stevens Creek Baptist Church hosted Keels and Minton over the weekend as they demonstrated their strength and talked about their faith and personal relationships with God.
The team is made up of 15 athletes who come from various backgrounds. Keels is a former U.S. Navy rescue swimmer and a powerlifting champion.
Minton competed in the 1994 and 1998 Winter Olympics on the U.S. bobsledding team and is a former WCW wrestler who was known as Mr. World Class.
Team members use their athleticism to capture the audience's attention. Once they have their attention, the audience is more likely to listen to the message, said Keels.
As he spoke to the pupils at Mossy Creek, he shared with them what Minton often says about friends.
“Friends are like elevators” that can take you up and be dream-makers or they can take you down and be dream- takers, said Keels.
He then encouraged them to surround themselves with friends who will take them up and help them reach their goals and dreams.
“To reach those goals, you have to listen to the right voices,” he said.