Educating outside the ropes
The argyle adorned scholar of ECW's New Breed, Matt Striker, looked to enlist a different type of breed today in Bridgeport, Conn., -- that of young (many first-time) voters at Bridgeport Central High School. As part of WWE's SmackDown Your Vote! program, the former social studies teacher made a return to academia along with Connecticut Secretary of State Susan Bysiewicz to recruit more than 170 students who registered to vote.
For eight years, this rally and many others have encouraged countless high school teens across the United States to register and have their voices heard in elections. Stepping back into a public high school, the Extreme Educator explained the significance of reaching out to the nation's youngest citizens for this type of cause.
"Too many times, adults talk at youth," Striker said. "The thing that I've done here today is what WWE always tries to do: we talk with them. [WWE Superstars] are the highest regarded athletes on the planet. Some stuffy politician comes on and these students can't relate."
Striker's honesty in front of the student assembly is something that was truly admired by the Bridgeport teens, as he empowered them and encouraged each of them to "go and find out for themselves." Once they've found out, they can go out and have their voices heard by voting.
According to the Extreme Educator, his visit today bore great consequence to the student body, but also his personal mission of WWE Superstar advocacy.
"My campaign is to shatter the stereotypes that all WWE Superstars are clods and oafs," he added. "We are educated. We are fathers and mothers. We are society. The youth are so important because they dictate what society is going to do, and where it is headed."
Unlike his typical Tuesday evenings on ECW on Sci Fi, Striker was extremely well received by the droves of Bridgeport students.
"People have misconceptions about voting and [Striker] cleared them up today," said Nicholas Hernandez, a Bridgeport Central senior. "This is much different than anything we usually have here, and it was definitely a positive [student] response to a good message."
Hernandez registered alongside fellow senior Michael Garrity, who described the Extreme Educator's unconventional two-sided lecture as crucial to the teens' participation in registering.
"[Striker] took it to a different level. He definitely had everyone's attention and was really entertaining too," Garrity stated. "He got everyone hyped."
While the Bridgeport students were awestruck and attentive to "their teacher's" message, Secretary of State Susan Bysiewicz was proud at the turnout and success of the SmackDown Your Vote! rally.
"Matt Striker is the first Superstar we've worked with who is a former social studies teacher. He was very good at engaging the youth," she said. "This is why we love working with WWE…they get the students excited and [the WWE Superstars are] very inspiring."
Be sure to check back with WWE.com for future dates on the SmackDown Your Vote! tour, and find out how you can catch the WWE Superstars in a town near you.