Speaker grabs students’ attention at assembly

Backovich delivers engaging presentation on anxiety, depression


Cooper Meldrum

Guest speaker Scott Backovich shares a story about a middle schooler who expressed compassion.

He walks in through the side of the stage and introduces himself. “Hi, I’m Scott Backovich. How’s everyone doing?”

The crowd of drowsy, distracted students respond with a lethargic “good,” just as in every other assembly. But Backovich had every intention to avoid presenting like the countless other speakers. Instead, he directed the audience to turn to their left or right and present their peer with a “hand hug.”

He had their attention.

Cooper Meldrum
Scott Backovich talks to the sophomore class about depression.

“When I was crazy on doing this I would get speech requests for topics that I knew nothing about, had no idea what to talk about, and through trial and error you learn what you do well, what you enjoy speaking about and what you don’t,” Backovich said.

Backovich has been a public speaker since he was 16 years old and proudly states that he was 17 when he started this professionally. Now at 39, he travels to “a different place daily,” speaking to crowds ranging from a single school grade level to crowds numbering around 10,000. The presentation focused on anxiety and depression among teens and what an individual can do about it.

“It’s kind of crazy, but I love it and I wouldn’t change it for the world,” Backovich said.

Backovich owns another company as well. Involved is based upon the fact of schools that have certain issues in common. He brings in his company to train the audience to create “engaging activities that actually establish a community and not just beg people to do something,” Backovich said.

Unlike the other assemblies, Backovich related with the audience while also stating his statistics.

“I thought it was really good and I thought it was more education than any other presentation [the school] has had,” sophomore Lydia Maashio said. “He actually understood what we were going through and how stressful school is. Other presenters would give you facts and statistics that no one really cares about. He got to the point while still giving us facts.”

The students watched as Backovich moved across the stage and occasionally stopped using the microphone. Focus was redirected as he raised his voice instead of using the overhead speaker.

“If I want the audience to hear something more than others I will drop the microphone because it breaks down the kind of wall that exists there, just so I can get a point across a little better,” Backovich said.

The assembly closed with students standing in small groups at a time for a standing ovation and students flooded to the front of the stage for a hand hug or to ask questions about his personal stories.

“I thought it was really cool and motivational. [The other] night at FCA, we were just talking about not being focused on yourself and how other people might not like you or how other people think about you,” sophomore Julia Brochu said. “We talked about serving other people, and then he said something about it making you happier, so it was really cool to have them both so connected.”