Delivering a Message of Perseverance

Students at Elwood Middle School received words of inspiration when paralympian and motivational speaker Rohan Murphy dropped by to speak to them during the district’s Special Education PTA Disabilities Awareness Week.

Murphy was born with a severely deformed lower body and his legs were amputated when he was 4 years old. In the eighth grade, his determination to succeed despite his disabilities became evident to his school’s wrestling coach. After joining the wrestling team at East Islip, Murphy went on to finish his high school career as a three-time All-League and two-time All-County wrestler. After high school, he showed up at tryouts at Penn State and earned a spot on the wrestling squad under coach Troy Sunderland.

Murphy has since overcome tremendous odds and has been featured in media outlets such as ABC News, Sports Illustrated and 20/20, as well as earning a spot in Nike’s “No Excuses” ad campaign.

During his presentation, he emphasized to students that they should not have any excuses for failing to reach their goals and to keep pushing forward despite difficulties. Murphy dazzled the audience with feats of strength, such as walking back and forth across the stage on his hands, and performing pushups while clapping his hands.

Following the assembly, Murphy visited students in their classes to answer questions and take pictures. The students learned about perseverance and to never allow others to tell them what they can and cannot accomplish.