The man on stage had no legs, but was an elite wrestler at East Islip High School and Penn State University and is now benching 350 pounds or so, gunning for a powerlifting medal in the next Paralympics.
That was a tough act to follow. Most speakers at the Hyatt Regency in Hauppauge Monday for the first-ever Believe Symposium, an event created to inspire Long Island high school students, followed his arc nonetheless. Their stories were about misspent youth or dyslexia or drug-addicted parents, obstacles overcome through perseverance and hard work, and the success that followed.
"Believe in yourselves," said 26-year-old ex-wrestler Rohan Murphy.