Meet the Mentors – John and Deborah McCurdy

May 30, 2024  •  Author: marketing

The Art of Inspiration

You don’t have to go far to see anything related to inspiration. We see it on social media, in advertisements, and even in movies. One of the most famous inspirational quotes comes from Sylvester Stallone’s character Rocky Balboa: “It ain’t about how hard you hit. It’s about how hard you can get hit and keep moving forward.” This is the perfect example of how fiction can touch our hearts. Stallone’s words resonate deeply with those who seek motivation to keep moving forward despite adversity.

John and Deborah McCurdy understand that young adults need someone to inspire them. “We are literally watching people—students—who are in the same place we were 30, 40 years ago. The advantage we have is that we know they’re going to be fine,” says John confidently. Young adults are struggling nowadays in many aspects; most feel lost and purposeless. Deborah and John are committed to these students and their future, assuring every student that they will have a bright future ahead.

“We Can’t Build Our Dreams On Suspicious Mind”

Elvis isn’t dead; he’s alive, thank you very much. Not only is he alive, but he also gave a special performance for our students at Cumorah Academy. It’s not every semester that a mentor can perform a cover of Elvis Presley. In fact, John McCurdy also performs other iconic impressions on the radio, including Yoda from Star Wars and Rocky Balboa. Needless to say, these mentors are unique in many ways. Mentoring and inspiring the rising generation can be both fun and instructive. They have a wealth of experience ready to share with our students.

A Baggage of Experience

“I liked the classes when mentors showed us examples of the main point about leadership using scenes from films, which helped us understand how it can be used in real life via real examples,” shares our student from Ukraine, Iryna. Watching movies is one of the many McCurdy’s hobbies. They also love boating, playing the piano, and much more. John graduated from Brigham Young University (BYU) with a degree in Business and Management. Originally from Alabama, he moved to Kansas while growing up. Now, he is the CEO of a business called Studies Weekly, a curriculum company that provides services in Social Studies, Science, Health, and Wellness for educators from Kindergarten through 8th grade. They have 205 employees.

Deborah graduated with an associate degree from Utah Valley University (UVU) in Utah. “I always joke that I’m still trying to figure out what I want to do when I grow up, but I stepped into the role of full-time mom,” says Deborah. However, Deborah has an incredible set of skills, including giving piano lessons, and even owned a gym for five years. Her leadership and teaching skills are quite valuable for our students today. Originally from Kansas, Deborah also volunteered on the board of the Timpanogos Storytelling Festival for 20 years. With all their experience, John and Deborah McCurdy were eager to join our campus.

Life Imitating Art – An Inspiration

John and Deborah have a rather interesting love story. Once again, Rocky Balboa played an important role in their lives. Don’t worry, we’ll explain. The couple met at a church dance in Kansas where John was the DJ. “I was the DJ at one of the stake dances and everyone in the whole area came—it was a ‘Super Saturday’ thing,” says John.

After some time dating, it was time to propose to Deborah. Guess where John took inspiration from? “In the first Rocky movie, Rocky and Adrian fell in love. Rocky proposes to Adrian by saying ‘What are you doin’ for the next 40, 50 years?’ Now, when I said to Debbie, being a member of the Church and understanding eternity, I said, ‘What are you doing for the next 40, 50 million years?’” The romantic approach worked, and they have been happily married ever since. They have 5 children and 10 grandchildren. If you are planning to propose to your loved one, maybe Stallone might inspire you.

“Light Bulb Moments”

Each week, our mentors teach a series of classes, such as Communication, Emotional Intelligence, and other leadership traits. Interestingly, the topic of John and Deborah’s personal brand, motivation, and (most importantly) inspiration is central. Mentors come in all shapes and sizes, each holding a unique talent to motivate and inspire the students. John, as a major cinephile, likes to use movie characters and film quotes to illustrate principles. Fiction is merely a mirror for the struggles of society. The couple loved the time they spent with the students, sharing their stories with our mentors. “Most people believe that inspiring people is just pumping them up. But, there are so many ways you can inspire people. We hope students will come away knowing that they can inspire others in so many ways,” says John. Deborah hopes our students will change their approach to life. “Things change all the time, but it can be good,” she says.

“It’s fun to watch these kids having light bulb moments. I can see it in their faces and it feels good. I know I’ll go home with many memories,” shares Deborah. This passion for teaching was the primary motivation for the McCurdys to join our campus. Thanks to a couple in their ward who talked to them about Cumorah Academy, John and Deborah contacted Patrick Sedivy, Cumorah Academy’s founder. As a result, our students are creating memories they will remember forever. They are more confident about themselves and optimistic about the future. As Rocky Balboa said, no matter what happens to them, they need to get up and move forward.

Watch John and Deborah McCurdy sharing a few words about their experience at Cumorah Academy:

Written by Fernando L. Ferreira Jr.

Photos by Camila Caraveo

Supervision by Kamila Uberto Fullmer