TribLIVE

| Neighborhoods

 
Larger text Larger text Smaller text Smaller text | Order Photo Reprints

Wrestling star shines bright in North Hills anti-bullying program

Randy Jarosz | For the McKnight Journal - World Wrestling Entertainment superstar Mike Mizanin, better known as The Miz does a wrestling pose with sixth graders, from left, Michael Summers, Brooke Johnston, Greg Johnson and Alexis Welsh on March 18, 2013, at Ross Elementary School. Mizanin was at the school to give an anti-bullying presentation.
<div style='float:right;width:100%;' align='right'><em>Randy Jarosz | For the McKnight Journal</em></div>World Wrestling Entertainment superstar Mike Mizanin, better known as The Miz does a wrestling pose with sixth graders, from left,  Michael Summers, Brooke Johnston, Greg Johnson and Alexis Welsh on March 18, 2013, at Ross Elementary School. Mizanin was at the school to give an anti-bullying presentation.
Randy Jarosz | For the McKnight Journal - World Wrestling Entertainment superstar Mike Mizanin, better known as The Miz, leads the cheer 'Don't be a bully. Be a star,' with, from left, sixth-graders Jacob Kolling, Jimmy Zangaro, Leslie Rozanski and Justin Zbikowski on Monday, March 18, 2013, at Ross Elementary School. Mizanin was at the school to give an anti-bullying presentation.
<div style='float:right;width:100%;' align='right'><em>Randy Jarosz | For the McKnight Journal</em></div>World Wrestling Entertainment superstar Mike Mizanin, better known as The Miz, leads the cheer 'Don't be a bully. Be a star,' with, from left, sixth-graders Jacob Kolling, Jimmy Zangaro, Leslie Rozanski and Justin Zbikowski on Monday, March 18, 2013, at Ross Elementary  School. Mizanin was at the school to give an anti-bullying presentation.
Randy Jarosz | For the McKnight Journal - World Wrestling Entertainment superstar Mike Mizanin, better known as The Miz, gives an anti-bullying program Monday, March 18, 2013, at Ross Elementary School.
<div style='float:right;width:100%;' align='right'><em>Randy Jarosz | For the McKnight Journal</em></div>World Wrestling Entertainment superstar Mike Mizanin, better known as The Miz, gives an anti-bullying program Monday, March 18, 2013, at Ross Elementary  School.
Randy Jarosz | For the McKnight Journal - World Wrestling Entertainment superstar Mike Mizanin, better known as The Miz, gives an anti-bullying program Monday, March 18, 2013, at Ross Elementary School.
<div style='float:right;width:100%;' align='right'><em>Randy Jarosz | For the McKnight Journal</em></div>World Wrestling Entertainment superstar Mike Mizanin, better known as The Miz, gives an anti-bullying program Monday, March 18, 2013, at Ross Elementary  School.

Email Newsletters

Click here to sign up for one of our email newsletters.

Daily Photo Galleries

North Hills Photo Galleries

'American Coyotes' Series

Traveling by Jeep, boat and foot, Tribune-Review investigative reporter Carl Prine and photojournalist Justin Merriman covered nearly 2,000 miles over two months along the border with Mexico to report on coyotes — the human traffickers who bring illegal immigrants into the United States. Most are Americans working for money and/or drugs. This series reports how their operations have a major impact on life for residents and the environment along the border — and beyond.

Wednesday, March 27, 2013, 9:00 p.m.
 

At 6 foot, 1 inch, and 220 pounds, Mike Mizanin, “The Miz,” is a terror in the WWE ring.

But the professional wrestler brought a peaceful message to fourth-, fifth- and sixth-graders at Ross Elementary School in the North Hills School District last week: “When you have a negative thought or a (get a negative) tweet, turn it into a positive.”

The Miz Challenge, as he called it, is part of the anti-bullying program, “Don't Be a Bully, Be a STAR – Show Tolerance and Respect.”

The program is part of an anti-bullying alliance co-founded by The Creative Coalition, a social- and public-advocacy organization of the arts and entertainment community, and World Wrestling Entertainment Inc.

He and other WWE wrestlers were in Pittsburgh for a night match at the Consol Energy Center, but Mizanin's morning was filled with the shouts of the young audience ready to chant “We are awesome!” and “Don't be a bully. Be a Star.”

“I was one of you,” said Mizanin, explaining how he was bullied during his elementary school years in Parma, Ohio. “I had huge teeth, and kids would call me ‘Horseface' and make horse noises.”

Even though his mother told him he was the best kid in the world, at that age, he said, he didn't know what to do. He also didn't have role models to teach him about bullying.

Now 32, he's making a difference by visiting schools and encouraging students to stop the bullying.

“I always volunteer,” Mizanin, now a Los Angeles resident, said. “This program is my favorite thing to do.”

Many of the students raised their hands when Mizanin asked if anyone had experienced bullying. Bullying can take place anywhere — in schools, on playgrounds and, now, on the Internet.

Michael Summers, 12, of Shaler Township, said he was bullied when he was in the fourth grade in his old school.

“It hurt, but I didn't hurt them back,” the sixth-grader said.

Michael did exactly what he should have done, according to Mizanin's presentation.

“Don't reply, tell an adult, and block them on Facebook and Twitter,” Mizanin advised.

He also recommended that students be friendly to a child who is being bullied.

“Tell the bully to stop, and get the kid away from the bully.”

Michael said he appreciated the wrestler's visit to his school.

“It was generous of him to speak to us about bullying,” the student said, “I don't like wrestling, but maybe I'll watch, just to see what he does.”

It was Mizanin's lifelong dream to connect with the WWE.

“I loved the WWE. I wanted to be a WWE superstar, so I believed in myself enough, worked hard and sacrificed,” he told the students. “Follow your dreams.”

He calls what he does in the ring entertainment.

“We have heroes and villains, but the difficulties (the bullied kids) face are real,” he said.

Mizanin didn't use his fists when his bullies approached, rather he “embraced the negative energy and turned it more positive.” He channeled his anger into something else.

“I have big teeth. I still do, but it makes for a great smile.”

Dona S. Dreeland is a staff writer for Trib Total Media. She can be reached at 724-772-6353 or ddreeland@tribweb.com.

Subscribe today! Click here for our subscription offers.

 

 

 


Show commenting policy

Most-Read North Hills

  1. Move in age group nets dividends for Franklin Park tennis player
  2. NA grad formulates bath, beauty products with natural ingredients
  3. North Hills grad earns ‘principal of the year’ honor
  4. Wexford Health-hosted program to raise awareness of food allergies
  5. Drone to help Northern Regional police zone in on missing, fleeing people
  6. Bridge work to close Little Pine Creek Road in Shaler
  7. Photo Gallery: Marshall Community Day
  8. Photo Gallery: St. Athanasius Parish Festival