ROY -- Throngs of Roy Junior High students crowded around former BYU mascot Josh Drean, aka Cosmo, Wednesday morning after his powerful presentation about bullying -- fully equipped with a mini beat-boxing concert.
Drean didn't grow up a victim of bullying, but he got a big taste of it when he became BYU's popular mascot -- Cosmo.
"People pull on your tail ... you're a big giant kitty and people want to play with it," Drean said.
He also would visit schools as the mascot and could see bullying often, but because he was a mascot, he couldn't do much about it.
"You have to be silent," Drean said.
Soon after he graduated in 2011, he got the idea that he could make a difference by talking about his time as the mascot and comparing it to bullying in a positive way. He now speaks to schools and youth groups everywhere about how to handle bullying and how not to become a bully.
His message appears to work.
Many junior high students walked away from the assembly feeling changed.
"I've been bullied," said 15-year-old Mical Erickson. "This really changed my point of view by listening to his stories. It made me realize I can stand up for myself."
Drean talked about three key elements that help to stop bullying, whether the student is the bully or the victim. He compared it to the rules of mascoting.
"Keep your head on. If you lose your head, you're going to lose your cool," Drean said.
He told the students to be a team player and never let anyone stand on their own.
His third rule is to stand up for yourself and others.
"You need to decide where you draw the line and what you will do when someone crosses that line," Drean said.
The students became very engaged when Drean showed footage of his days as the mascot from 2008 to 2011. They laughed and clapped when he talked about the experience of trying out.
He also talked about how he stood up for his brother during his life when his brother was bullied. But, he admitted he was a bully to others.
"I wasn't a good big brother because I was being a bully," Drean said.
Roy Junior High Resource Officer Broc Gresham thinks Drean's presentation will help the students be more positive. He admits bullying is a huge problem at the school.
"We can talk about it, suspend the kids, call them into the office, but he (Drean) reaches their levels and this is proactive," Gresham said.
He hopes that the next time students think about bullying they will remember Drean's message and stop.
"This stops things before they start," Gresham said.
"He actually taught the truth. He knows about the groups and the stereotypes. It made sense when he said it starts from us," 15-year-old Anthony Nava said of the presentation.
Many of the students talked about how a positive message made them look at bullying in a new way and made them not want to be a part of it -- as a victim or a bully.
"It was inspirational. I loved it," 15-year-old Karli Rodgers said.