Meet the Opening Act: Kylie Morgan

Reposted from Find the full story on our Sprigeo Hero here.

On this week’s episode of Opening Act, you’ll meet Kylie Morgan—an aspiring country singer and songwriter from Newcastle, Oklahoma.

She’ll get the surprise of her life when she’s plucked from Youtube obscurity and slated to perform as the opener for one of the biggest names in the biz: Jason Aldean.

But, before you watch the episode, we’ve got the scoop on all things Kylie!

Age: 16

Musical Influences: “I love Reba because she always finds new ways to keep her fans interested,” Kylie said. “The Band Perry delivers such amazing lyrics. They make me want to be a better songwriter. Shirley Temple was my childhood idol and I love that she did so much, so young.”

Favorite Song: “The House That Built Me” by Miranda Lambert.

First concert: “Ally and AJ at the Six Flags Amphitheater in Dallas, TX. This concert was so much fun. I was 10 years old and went with my best friend and her mom. We were center stage and sang to their music all night long.”

Want more? Make sure to tune in to see if Kylie can make it as the Opening Act for Jason Aldean on Monday at 10/9 C only on E!


Torin Hovander gains momentum in New Mexico

In the past few months Torin’s high school anti-bullying club membership has grown to the point of gaining city and statewide attention. We had the chance to catchup with him after he had returned from the launch of Lady Gaga’s Born This Way Foundation launch.

Stand up and Lead with Jerry Ackerman

There are many speakers around the United States, but Jerry Ackerman presents anti-bullying in a whole new manner. Ackerman is an anti-bullying speaker who travels around the globe, expressing his feelings about bullying amongst schools in a different way. He gets students, teachers, principles, and staff to get up and do “the mower,” an energetic up beat dance that has a deeper meaning to it than just the dance.

“If you can do something like this in this room and be crazy,” explains Ackerman, “maybe you are someone who can stand up and lead.”

Ackerman does not promote just going with the flow of things. He believes that “if you aren’t part of the solution you are part of the problem.”

Click here to listen to Jerry Ackerman share his positive message with Edward Town Middle School students Matt Belardi, Austin Sauer, and Matt Vecchio.

A Teenagers Worth

It is very difficult to put a dollar amount to a person. Each one of us cries and laughs has dreams and disappointments, with hate in our minds and love in our hearts. Reaching a point of self actualization is also a very hard task especially if someone is under attack. One form is emotional, causing a person’s heart to ache too much so that it feels as if a cat is clawing its way out of their stomach. Another attack is exactly that, an assault on a person’s physical self. The last type of attack is also the most hurtful. This kind of attack is social. A social attack takes the form of a group of people telling an individual that he doesn’t belong. Many teens today feel as if they don’t belong. People want to feel like their so called normal peers. If someone doesn’t have this feeling then they will get the idea that they aren’t good enough.

The idea of being good enough is a very strange phenomenon. At what point do we become good enough. Is there a special test that can be taken that says you pass or you fail in life? So many teenagers would like to take this test and hear that they’re just doing fine. My personal opinion is that if you are doing the best you can every single day then you are good enough. It doesn’t matter if you aren’t the best student, you are good enough. It doesn’t matter if you aren’t a star athlete, you are good enough. It especially doesn’t matter how popular you are. In the world outside of high school no one cares how well liked you were in the high school. What anyone who is important cares about is if you have a diploma in your hand and kindness in your heart.

I would like to tell to whoever is reading this blog that at time life sucks. People are always going to hate. I would especially like to tell you that you should never hate yourself because of others who call you names and make you feel not good enough. When you start tearing yourself down you have let them win. Never let anyone make you feel bad for being who you are. Always stay proud of what you have done. Be happy with those good people in your life and disregard all the bad ones. Once you do this I can assure you that no matter what anyone says they can never bring you down because you won’t let them.

Testimony From a Teenager. A teen’s perspective on a generations bullying epidemic

Hey guys my name is Torin Hovander. I like to watch movies, play video games, and hang with friends. My grades are pretty average as well as my athletic abilities. It’s my last semester of high school so I’m beginning to look back at all of the good times. Sadly though not all of the experiences I had were fun. From 6th to 10th grade I was the recipient of pretty harsh bullying.  No matter what I seemed to do nothing got better. The reason why nothing got better was because I was taking the wrong actions. If someone made fun if my clothes I would have my parents buy me new ones. If someone didn’t like my hair I would get a haircut. If someone called me a nerd then when the teacher called on me I acted as if I didn’t know the correct answer. Doing all of these things did nothing to help my situation. During a long night of no sleep and a lot of thought I came to a conclusion. The bullies didn’t hate my hair or clothes but they hated me. I had never done anything to them so why would they hate me. This question confused me for months until one day in history class. The lesson for the day was about how dictators use a group of people and blame them for their own faults. My teacher taught me that the best way to seem perfect is by tearing those down around you. After class I went to my locker to drop off my history book and grab my science folder. As I was beginning to close my locker one of my bullies knocked my books out of my hands. As I was trying to get all my papers together I noticed he was laughing. I also noticed that he had a very bad case of acne. One almost every inch of his face was a big red spot that almost made it look like he was a burn victim. I just shrugged off the incident and what I noticed, like I had always done. A week went by with most of the same things happening. Go to class go home do homework watch some TV do it all over again. Nothing seemed out of the ordinary till in English class I couldn’t find my backpack. Apparently while I was in the restroom one of the girls took it and hid it somewhere. People laughed as I was looking stupidly around the room for my things. The girl who hid it was laughing especially hard. Her voice seemed to boom like a canon bouncing off of the walls like how noise does in a canyon. She laughed and laughed to the point that I wanted to cry. The more she laughed the more her chin began to jiggle. That’s when I noticed that she didn’t have one chin but more chins then I had ever seen before on a human. The chins would move as if they were filled with jelly. At that moment I found out that she had a small weight problem and my other bully had a small skin problem. I then began to get mad at why they are pointing out my flaws when they have such obvious problems themselves. After that class my teacher had me go to the counselor to see if I was doing ok. We had a short conversation about what happened and what is going to happen to the girl who did it. I felt happy that she was going to get punished and then I realized she already had to deal with her weight this would be just another thing that would make her feel bad. I asked if the counselor could instead of punishing her give her help. He was confused to what I was going at until I told him that she had a major weight problem. He said he would see her and find out if he could help. While he was at that I asked if he could also help the boy who had the acne. After the talk with the counselor I went home did the same routine as always until one day as I was walking down the hall I noticed something different? No one was calling me names or pushing me nothing bad was happening. When the bullying stopped I was so happy and my bullies also seemed much happier. What I learned from the experiences I had was that bullying helps no one. The kid getting bullied is emotionally torn down while the bully is never built up from whatever brought them down. Sadly not everyone has this view point. In our country there are some people who believe that bullying is a natural part of growing up. What is natural about hurting others to mask personal pain? So if no one wins in this atrocity of human behavior then why do we do it? The reason why, there is no other option. There is no alternative to alleviate the pain children feel. I believe that a few students at a high school in Albuquerque have found one such alternative. At the beginning of the year a couple seniors got together and decided that bullying was something that had to go away for all of us to be happy. To do this they formed an anti bullying club that only had about four people. Over time with dedication perseverance and looking at bullying in a different way the meetings have gone from 4 people to 17. The number of members isn’t even the remarkable part but instead the affect the club has had on the culture of the high school. Before the anti bullying club bullying was seen as an acceptable behavior to participate in. After an aggressive campaign using a few basic tools such as face book they were able to make a complete one eighty in the viewpoint student took on bullying. The opinion went from its fine to bully to why would you bully. I can only imagine what will happen to the school after a few months what can they do in a few years. This story is an example of what can happen when teens get together and decide they want to make a difference. It is also a signal to other teens out there who want bullying to finally go away. The signal is that now is the time to rise up and fight for the happiness of all of us. For an entire generation to say that we don’t want this to happen in our schools. For teachers, parents and community leaders to support us in changing our society for the better. It’s time for small groups of teens to organize in every school in our nation. The moment we do that will be the moment we as a people say in one booming voice bullying is not ok and we will see the day bullying finally dies so that our children and their children will never have to feel what we have felt ever again.