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Spartan Superheroes

The Steward School
Visiting Innovator shares powerful message
On March 25, Visiting Innovator Tony Weaver, Jr., a comic writer, educator, and storyteller, visited the Steward campus to meet with students in all divisions. Mr. Weaver, who founded Weird Enough Productions to empower students with social responsibility and positive representation, created the WEBTOON Original series “The UnCommons” and is the author of “Weirdo,” a graphic novel memoir about a preteen who struggles with mental health issues. 

During the day, Middle and Upper Schoolers gathered in the Lora M. Robins Theatre for separate talks by Mr. Weaver, who shared how the mental health challenges he experienced as a teenager informed his creative spirit and his compassion for others. “You will experience darkness,” he told the students, encouraging them to always look out for one another. Helping others requires each of us to “be the light for someone experiencing darkness,” he said. Mr. Weaver shared that his “weirdness” as a teen helped shape him into a successful businessman and has enabled him to be a light to millions of teens throughout the world. Referring to the inevitable challenges that life holds, he added, “When a door slams, just walk through it!” 

Following the talk, Middle and Upper Schoolers broke out into small groups to play Extreme Event, a role-playing game that simulates a disaster. Students collaborated to make decisions and solve problems as they learned what it takes to build community resilience during crises such as hurricanes. Students honed their critical thinking, problem-solving, and team-building skills during the fast-paced game. Taking on extreme roles and working through problems together allowed students to exercise their superpowers. 

Henley Voeks ’24, who is active in theatre and wants to pursue an art career, chatted with Mr. Weaver after his Upper School presentation.

“As someone who wants to become a freelance illustrator and/or graphic novelist, I’m very interested in talking to artists who sell their work,” said Henley. “Mr. Weaver gave me advice on ways I could start out as well as tips on different fields within illustration and how to approach making a living.” Henley added, “He encouraged my philosophy of ‘as long as I’m happy, then I've made it.’ We geeked out about video games and TV shows that we enjoy, as when we were looking through his unreleased book and I spotted a bunch of references to popular media.”

In the afternoon, Lower Schoolers met with Mr. Weaver in the Bryan Innovation Lab for a lively chat that focused on the superhero powers that lie within each of us. Wearing colorful handmade superhero-centric crowns, our young Spartans listened attentively as Mr. Weaver spoke about the characters he created for “The UnCommons” and their unique powers. The students shared their own super strengths such as resilience, collaboration, encouragement, and empathy.

Thank you, Mr. Weaver, for reminding us that we are all superheroes! 


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