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Youth Motivational Speaker Inspires Students

St. Michael’s College School (SMCS) staff and students recently welcomed Sam Demma, youth motivational speaker, author, and two-time TEDx speaker, for an engaging discussion as part of his ‘Empty Your Backpack’ tour.

“Sam Demma is a former high-level soccer athlete who suffered career-ending injuries before he was able to take the next step in his professional journey,” says Liat Benzacar, Student Wellness Officer at SMCS. “He brings his story to youth to share that it is the path to achieving set goals that allows us to nourish the grounds and prepare us for new and unexpected ones. Sam shares that he was inspired by a former teacher who explained that it is ‘small, consistent actions’ that make a big, long-lasting impact.”

Sam Demma speaking with SMCS students on Empty Your Backpack tour.

On March 29, Demma, along with his giant red backpack, hosted two engaging presentations in the Centre for the Arts theatre to accommodate students from across all grades.

“I think that ‘Empty Your Backpack’ can relate to anyone with a genuine goal in life,” says Taketoshi Miyamoto, Grade 9. “The quote ‘Impossible is the opinion of the incapable’ really opened my eyes to the endless possibilities that come by ‘emptying your backpack’ of thoughts. I also found that by taking small actions, you can create enormous rewards like how Sam himself was able to get a spot to do a TEDx talk.”

Demma’s tour centres around helping students and youth ‘unpack their beliefs, redefine their self-worth, and embrace their authentic selves.’

Sam Demma speaking with SMCS students on Empty Your Backpack tour.

“Each student can recognize an aspect of themselves in a presentation like Sam’s – they may not be an athlete, a dancer, or ready to ‘unload their backpacks’ but there is something for everyone in the anecdotes and experiences he shares,” says Benzacar. “Sam in many ways embodies our school’s vision of ‘graduat[ing] young men who will change the world through lives of faith, character, and service.’ He seeks to empower students to achieve their personal goals by ‘filling others’ backpacks’ through acts of kindness and service.”

Benzacar adds that the feedback she has received about Demma’s presentation has been overwhelmingly positive with some students sharing that he was among the best speakers to visit the school during their time.

“Something that seemed to resonate with many students was the concept that no journey to achieving a goal is wasted, even if the goal is not achieved,” she says. “There are lessons, gifts, and blessings that are collected along the way that can inspire new and unexpected adventures.”

Sam Demma speaking with SMCS students on Empty Your Backpack tour.

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