Presentation at Ryken High School


"Iron Heart" by Jack Donnelly, 22 x 28, Mixed Media

By Pete Hurrey of The Baynet

Local sports celebrity and miracle of modern medicine, Brian Boyle stopped by Ryken High School last week to talk with students and athletes about his ordeal, his book Iron Heart and his inspiration that led him to be a competitive Iron Man Marathoner after almost losing his life in a car accident a few years back.

According to Boyle, English teacher Misty Frantz used his book as an assignment for her English, non-fiction class last spring. Frantz also assigned the project to her junior English class and invited Boyle to speak with her students.  “I appreciated hearing their feedback on the book because I began writing it only a few years after I graduated high school, so the perspective that they had was enlightening,” said  Boyle.

Boyle stated that some of the students completed various projects regarding the book. “At the end of the day I was presented with one of these projects – artwork by Jack Donnelly, class of 2011.”

The athlete stated that since he only graduated himself in 2004, he understands the challenge teachers and educators have trying to get kids to read and that is especially true when students cannot engage with the content and subject matter of the assignment.

“When speaking with the junior class and later with the seniors, I was very happy to hear that the story was able to relate to them in some form or another, and listening to their perspective was personally inspiring.  Hearing their direct feedback gave me the opportunity to understand that the story made a connection with each student, whether it was through the factor of family, faith, setting goals in life, sports, health, dealing with injuries, setbacks, and tragedy, or all of the above.”

Boyle enjoyed hearing from some students that even though they don’t enjoy reading they enjoyed his book. “I also thought it was pretty cool when some of the students told me that they dislike reading books in general, but they really enjoyed reading Iron Heart.”

Boyle stated, “I enjoyed spending time with the students, answering their questions in and out of class, and it warms my heart knowing that my visit was as meaningful to them as it was to me,” said Boyle who stated that they were an incredible group of students.

Full article can be seen here.