top of page


    Motivational Speaker Duane West Launches 

                 Red Ribbon Week In Bogota


                                                                 : News : Education












BOGOTA - Lillian M. Steen School recently took part in the 

state-wide Red Ribbon Week initiative and were treated to an

assembly performed by one of the nation’s leading celebrity youth

motivational speakers.


Red Ribbon Week, a state-wide initiative that focuses on promoting

anti-bullying message, was launched at Steen School by Duane West,

a former professional Arena Football League player who has turned his

attention towards motivational speaking. West delivered the keynote

address to the entire school with his presentation known as

"Bound for Greatness."


West grew up in Newark and was teased as a child for coming from

a poor background and having learning disabilities. He spoke with the

students about using education as his lifeline from homelessness and

being an at-risk, special needs student. Despite his struggles, his time

spent in the classroom helped transform him into a first-generation

college graduate, author, writer, professional athlete and television



"Leadership, anti-bullying, focus, respect," said West, which are

a few of the themes he taught the Steen students through singing,

dancing and audience participation. The children were thoroughly

engaged and many of them waited after the assembly to speak with

West personally.


The Bogota School District has been promoting character education

lessons that focus on teaching tolerance in order to reduce harassment,

intimidation and bullying in the borough’s schools. West’s messages of

respect, conflict resolution, leadership and wellness were impactful in

reinforcing those lessons.


"I strongly believe that we can decrease bullying by introducing students

to the signs of bullying and the appropriate response as early as possible,

" said Whitney Luciano, Steen School’s social worker. "I want to build a

school climate that promotes respect and responsibility. If students care

about one another, the learning environment will become more

productive. I want the kids to understand the consequences and power

that bullying can have on us not only as children, but if carried with us,

it affects and discourages us from accomplishing our goals as adults."


Steen School also has its Principal’s Assistant Leaders (PAL) program

running to further promote character education. Six sixth grade students

have been selected as PALs for the 2014-2015 school year.


The students selected had to meet several requirements and submit an essay explaining why they wanted to be a PAL and what ideas they would bring to the program. Each student also had to have their teacher sign the bottom of the paper to act as a recommendation. The selection process took into account a student’s grades and behavior in class.


Each month, the PAL students will be taught a lesson on various topics such as cooperation, respect, honest, responsibility, compassion, self-control, fairness, moral courage and commitment. Beginning in December, the sixth grade students will go into the classrooms of the younger students to teach these lessons to their peers.

FRIDAY, NOVEMBER 28, 2014, 12:31 AM



Here West is pictured with students, from left to right, Jaden Harrison, Marcus Pozo and Brian Coates. Social worker, Whitney Luciano, is on the end on the right.

bottom of page