TNH loves to highlight any amazing person taking action in his or her communities—challenging and supporting people to rise higher, shine brighter, and to give back. Featured here is an Amazing Man, Nicholas Ferroni. He is called “the teacher who is revolutionizing American Education,” and one of Men’s Fitness Magazines 25 Fittest Man in the World! How does he manage to do it all? Check out what Nicholas has to say about being the amazing man he is!
Who are you and what do you do? What is your personal mission statement if you have one & purpose?
I'm Nicholas Ferroni, and I am an educator, activist and host. I have dedicated my life to ensure that every feels safe at school, and that every child receives the education that they so desperately need to prepare them to be compassionate, intelligent and proactive human beings.
Who was/is the most profound male influence in your life and why?
On an historic level: Gandhi, Einstein and Voltaire for their selfless acts and activism to better mankind. Also, Kevin Jennings, the Dalai Llama and Malala for tireless commitment to fight for freedom, equality and love.
Who is the most influential woman in your life and why?
My mom because she always believed in me and encouraged me throughout my life; and, Mrs. Martino, my preschool teacher, who told me every day how I am going to grow up and change the world.
Do you have a personal motto/mantra? If so, can you share that?
Students who are loved at home, come to school to learn, and students who aren't, come to school to be loved. I firmly believe that educators need to put a students emotional makeup ahead of their academics. So many students need to know that someone cares about them, and, for many, it is their teachers. Our most important natural resource is not our oil, but our children.
What advice would you give young men and women that you wish you had received?
Care about helping others as much as you care about helping yourself. You will never be thanked for things you do for yourself. So stand by your principles and fight for what's right.
What causes are you passionate about and why?
Education reform and how it is exploiting students for profit, and ensuring that every students feels safe at school. A child shouldn't have to be brave to be themselves.
How do you contribute to your community and why?
Besides advocating for my students, I use every resource I have to expose my students to opportunities and inspire them to dream bigger than they ever did before. I pay for their gym memberships to get them involved in fitness and expose them to various professionals and celebrities to help guide them to their dream.
What projects are you currently working on that you're excited about? Why? How can we support you?
I am working on a "Preach What You Practice" campaign intended to go after athletes and celebrities who endorse unhealthy foods and drinks, and market them to children. My "Straight Educators for LGBT Students" campaign is intended to encourage all educators to openly support the LGBT cause in their classrooms. Lastly, I'm doing an "Awkward Album" celebrity charity book where celebrities share awkward childhood photos and stories to empower our youth. I am finalizing a deal with Soulpancake Productions to host to incredible series about education and honoring amazing teachers.
What is your definition of being man versus being a boy?
A man is someone who stands up for men, women and anyone who is being mistreated in any way. Also, a man is someone who is as willing to fight for women's rights, as he is to fight for her honor. A man is brave enough to help others.
What other amazing men would you nominate? Why?
Kevin Jennings, a man who dedicated his life to ensuring that all LGBT students receive the support and resources they deserve at school by founding GLSEN.