Motivational speaker comes to Wareham High School to talk 'respect'
For 41 years, Mark Mainella has spread a message promoting love and respect across the country, speaking at prisons, business workshops and schools.
On Monday, Mainella, a ninth grade dropout who eventually earned a college degree, returned to Wareham High School. During the talk, he often called out students who weren't paying attention and demanded answers to simple questions – such as what is the golden rule. Once he had the crowd's attention, he launched into his message to a rapt audience.
“Your life is about attitude, not aptitude,” he said.
As a teenager, Mainella said he wanted to be a gangster, but a run in with the law helped change his course. He didn't drink or do drugs, gambling was his vice of choice, he said.
“A judge changed my life. He said, ‘shut your mouth boy. Excuses are for losers,’ and they put me in cuffs,” he said.
During the talk, which was for ninth and tenth graders, Mainella addressed students directly. He often asked when was the last time a student approached a teacher, family member or friend and told them they loved or respected them.
“If you want love for yourself, you have to give it to others,” he said. Another major lesson from Mainella was developing self-respect. Without that, it's not possible to respect others, he said.
Mainella is invited to the speak at the school every two years, said Principal Scott Palladino who has a long history with the speaker. When he was in tenth grade, Palladino said he first saw Mainella speak. Mainella’s talk resonated with him at the time, said Palladino.
Emma Arcaro, a freshman, agreed with Palladino about Mainella's message.
“This was a really eye-opening experience,” she said. “I appreciated what he was saying. You have to be true to yourself.”