Tall tales

Lepp entertains Alcoa Middle School students with positive message

Students at Alcoa Middle School got a lesson in lying recently – but in a good way.

Bil Lepp, a nationally renowned storyteller and five-time champion of the West Virginia Liars’ Contest, entertained the students with tall tales and stories.

AMS librarian Chris Gilmore said Lepp was brought to school for a special assembly Nov. 4 to show students they can make a living based on what they know, not just on what athletic ability they have. “Our teachers got together - we have a group of team leaders that make decisions about school. They decided we have lot of athletic activities and it’s important to have something academic,” she said.

Gilmore said Lepp used illustrations from his childhood and explained to them ways they can make money by what they know, in his case - telling stories. “It isn’t just throwing a basketball and football. There are other ways you can be successful,” she said.

Lepp did two performances with different stories. One was for the fifth and sixth graders and the second was for the seventh and eighth graders.

“I think he did a good job. He got their attention by being funny and talked about things they could relate to,” Gilmore said. “I think one thing he did talk about, that I did appreciate, is you can make money by what you know. They all asked how much money did he make and his response was between $1 and a $1 million. It is a lot closer to $1 than a $1 million.”

An award-winning storyteller, author and recording artist, his stories often shed light on subjects such as politics, religion, death, relationships and human nature and several of his CDs have received the Parent’s Choice Approved awards. Lepp has been featured at the National Storytelling Festival, the Smithsonian Folklife Festival and major storytelling and corporate events across the country.

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