Two very strong men visited the Carthage Middle School on Thursday.

Two very strong men visited the Carthage Middle School on Thursday.

Jeff Neal and Mitch Hodge with Team Impact, an organization based out of Dallas, Texas, tour the nation to perform amazing feats of strength and share motivational messages to youth.

After incredible acts like Hodge breaking a baseball bat with the backside of his leg, and Neal tearing a phone book in half, Neal encouraged the students to make their best effort in the classroom, and surround themselves with friends who would also make good choices. He has spent 15 years telling students that the most inspiring strength comes from within.

“Your instruction time is too valuable to just be entertained,” Neal told the crowd. “We want to take the time to tell you to set your goals and standards high.”

Neal shared multiple inspiring stories – one that captured the crowd's attention was a story of a young girl who was diagnosed with cancer. Her chemotherapy treatments caused her to lose her hair, but with an excited heart, she returned to school. After a couple of bullies pulled her wig off in the lunch line, she still returned to school the next day. And when she returned, she did so without the wig, telling her mother “I'll see who my real friends are.”

“I thought it was thrilling,” said Willits, sixth grade teacher at CMS after the program. “The kids were very excited. I feel they were very engaged, very attentive, and the story about the girl with cancer impacted them. This is my 18th year in teaching and I've never seen anything like this before in an assembly.”

The students left the gymnasium jabbering with energy.

“I've never seen that much muscle!” said Jose Gonzalez.

“That was awesome!” said Zeke Sappington.

“Feels like I need to work out,” said Roldy Deleon. “When I grow up I want to be a professional soccer player – It will happen one day.”

“I learned to keep trying, and to not care what others think,” said Jaden Stevens. “Don't give up on your dreams.”