On the Mount Markham High School auditorium stage, Tom Murphy wore a button down dress shirt and khakis as he told the students to sit back and prepare to have their lives change.
He clicked go for the video. On screen was Tom Murphy, wearing considerably less as an MMA fighter besting numerous opponents.
With all the fanfare of a mixed martial arts contest, Murphy brought his Sweethearts and Heroes program to Mount Markham High School last week.
For two days, he and Rick Yarosh, a retired U.S. Army sergeant injured in Iraq, pushed students to break down barriers with each other and find their common ground.
At the beginning of Day 1’s assembly, High School Principal Victor Zampetti appealed to students to listen and be open minded. “We’ve had too much conflict here the last year,’’ he said. “We can do better. We are trying to find ways to help you be better to each other.’’
Mount Markham, as is all school districts, struggles with the impact of the pandemic on academics and social interaction among students. Sweethearts and Heroes was brought in by the district to provide tools to help students….