By Annette McLoughlin

Stories about achievement and the underlying values required to overcome obstacles got top billing at Rye Middle School’s recent annual expo, “The Challenge of Excellence.”

The day began with uplifting talks from two inspiring keynote speakers: Emmy Award-winning NBC sportscaster Jimmy Roberts and former NY Giant Patrick Morrison.

After the general presentations, students were released to a day of breakout sessions. They were able to choose from a long and impressive list of professionals, athletes, and artists including: Rye police officers, RMS teachers, an FBI agent (also a RHS graduate,) a Broadway actor, a Broadway director, an artist, a nutritionist, a yoga instructor, a World Cup and Olympic soccer player, and an Academy Award-winning animator and director.

Guest speakers described how they were able to overcome personal hurdles and achieve success through resilience, perseverance, and integrity. They emphasized the importance of empathy and gratitude when looking for fulfillment and happiness, and they encouraged students to think about ways they can be inclusive and community-oriented.