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Retro Bill (Bill Russ) demonstrates how hard it is to lug around emotional baggage instead of resolving stressful issues at school. Bill spoke to elementary students and families at Centennial Public School as part of a D.A.R.E. presentation sponsored by the Seward County Sheriff’s Department on November 5, 2015.

When he appeared on stage to the sound of an entire elementary school clapping and snapping, Retro Bill couldn’t help but smile.

The motivational speaker and alter-ego of Bill Russ, a Hollywood-based actor, writer, television producer, director and artist, Retro Bill spoke to Centennial Public School students on Nov. 5 in the school’s Performing Arts Center as part of a D.A.R.E. (Drug Abuse Resistance Education) presentation sponsored by the Seward County Sheriff’s Department. He also put on a family show later that evening.

Retro Bill has been the official international D.A.R.E. safety buddy for 18 years. He incorporates life lessons and safety tips into fun, colorful programs for kids and adults of all ages, complete with props, music and audience interaction.

He encouraged students to stand up to bullies and be peaceful people, drawing on the six pillars of character: respect, responsibility, trustworthiness, caring, citizenship and fairness.

“When you are known by other students and by teachers as the boy who is nice or the girl who is nice because they care about people, everybody wants to be your friend,” he told students. “Stay happy, be respectful, and have a reputation for being a nice person.”

Gladys Luebbe, a para educator at Centennial, joined Retro Bill on stage for a role-playing activity to teach students how to take a breath, pause and use their words to resolve a stressful situation.

“The reason they put an eraser on a pencil is because sometimes we have to go back and correct our work. Use your words to communicate to the other person, respectfully, what is bothering you,” he said.

He led students in cheers for custodians and cafeteria staff, reminding the kids to clean up after themselves and help make such jobs easier for the adults.

“Do the right thing, even if it means going a little bit out of your way,” he said, using an example of tossing trash in a garbage can instead of leaving it on the floor or table top.

He encouraged students to find the beauty in themselves and in others, and to recognize that each person is unique.

His final tip for kids?

“Don’t pick your nose in public because your finger could get stuck up there.”

Visit www.retrobill.com for more information, tips and family friendly fun.

From Seward County Independent