From Bullying Victim to BMX Biker: No Name Calling Week Kicks Off at Irene King

X Games Medalist Matt Wilhelm visited the Romeoville school Friday to share the story of how he triumphed over his bullies to become a successful athlete and student.

Just days before “No Name Calling Week” got under way, BMX cyclist Matt Wilhelm shared his secrets for combating bullies with students at .

A native of Oak Lawn, the X Games medalist paid a visit to the school on Friday, where he showed off some of his trademark bike tricks and told the story of how his hard work helped him overcome bullying and name calling.

“It took a long time for me to come out of my shell,” said Wilhelm, who began teaching himself bike tricks when he was an eighth-grader. 

“The bike definitely helped,” he added, saying honing his skill helped him to regain the confidence he’d lost. “Instead of making fun of me, they were cheering me on.”

Before showcasing the skills that helped him win last summer’s “America’s Got Talent” YouTube competition (and snagged him a spot in the show’s semifinals), Wilhelm explained to kids the three “golden rules” of battling bullies:

  • Never fight
  • Speak up and tell someone if you’re being bullied
  • Speak up if you see someone else being bullied

Today, Wilhelm travels to schools, sharing his story in the hopes that it will make a difference for kids.

“I kind of show them how [bullying] made me feel,” he said.

After performing on “American’s Got Talent” and winning $25,000 on the Fox-TV competition “30 Seconds to Fame,” Wilhelm said performing for students is a piece of cake.

“This is the best audience,” he said. “They think I’m as cool as Tony Hawk.”

His visit to Irene King kicked off No Name Calling Week, which officially started Monday in .

Click on the Patch video to see footage from Wilhelm’s Irene King performance. For video of his appearance on “America’s Got Talent," CLICK HERE.

For a roundup of Valley View’s No Name Calling Week activities, .


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