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Jon Bernthal, the lead actor in “The Punisher” television series who previously starred in “The Walking Dead”, was once a struggling high school student in the Washington D.C. area with a distaste for the classroom. Then, Bernthal stumbled upon a drama class that helped him discover his life’s passion.

Today, Bernthal throws himself into his acting roles, and has credits that include “Daredevil”, “Baby Driver” and “The Wolf of Wall Street”. Bernthal shared his story of success with about 75 drama students from Firebaugh High School and Lynwood Middle School at Firebaugh.

“I was pretty closed off and acting has really opened me up,” Bernthal said. “I’ve come to a place where I feel like strength and courage is about being open and listening to people with different points of view who maybe grew up differently than you did.”

Bernthal credits his high school acting teacher for helping to shape his life. He said he now wants to share the lessons he learned about finding your passion. He brought his message to Lynwood through a connection with local author Ryan Gattis, who has written about the community and suggested Bernthal make the visit.

Lynwood students picked Bernthal’s brain about all things personal and professional during a Q & A session in Firebaugh’s auditorium that touched on working with Leonardo DiCaprio and Martin Scorsese. He even gave tips for auditioning.

“This was my first time ever getting to ask questions of a professional actor, so it was a real learning experience for me,” Firebaugh senior Cesar Flores said. “It was inspiring to hear about his life and know that finding what motivates you can change your life.”

Flores is an aspiring filmmaker who refines his craft through the school’s International Baccalaureate Theatre Class. Firebaugh also offers a Young Actor’s Guild after school program that allows budding actors and writers to showcase their work during monthly performances.

Lynwood Unified students in grades four through eight learn the performing arts through the Building Relationships and Inspiring Dialogue through Global Exchange (BRIDGE) Theatre Project, which teaches students to write short plays, perform plays and study other cultures.

“Our performing arts programs allow our students to explore their creativity and create worlds that solve problems,” Lynwood Unified Superintendent Gudiel R. Crosthwaite said. “Jon Bernthal is the perfect example of how the arts can resonate with a student and lead them down a path of success.”

Bernthal said his success can be attributed to finding his own unique path. He implored Lynwood Unified students to aggressively pursue theirs as he ended the day by posing for pictures.

“We are thankful for the time and inspiration that Jon Bernthal generously gave to our students,” Lynwood Board President Alfonso Morales said. “Our students left today’s session excited to pursue their passions and learned more about what it takes to be successful in the film industry.”


Jon Bernthal, the lead actor in

Jon Bernthal, the lead actor in

Los Angeles Chargers defensive tackle Corey Liuget kneeled beside a group of nearly 30 Lynwood High School student-athletes as they administered chest compressions to CPR manikins while the Bee Gees song “Stayin’ Alive” blared in the background. 

Liuget visited Lynwood on April 18 to donate 10 CPR kits to Lynwood high schools as part of the American Heart Association’s CPR in Schools program. Sharing his personal story of respiratory issues within his family, Liuget discussed the importance of CPR while AHA representatives provided hands-on training to both Liuget and the students.

“Six years ago, my son was born with a heart defect and it was only through his access to medicine and technology that he is now able to enjoy a healthy life,” Liuget said. “Today, doing CPR techniques is a good refresher for me. You never want to be in a situation where you don’t know how to save someone’s life.”

The LHS girls basketball team, which reached the CIF Southern Section Division 2AA final last month, and members of the LHS football team were among the attendees. The offices of U.S. Rep. Nanette Diaz-Barragán and state Sen. Ricardo Lara presented Liuget with a certificate of appreciation for his work with the AHA.

Led by an AHA representative, each student was guided through life-saving techniques with a CPR manikin that included: checking for breathing, calling 9-1-1 and providing chest compressions. The “Stayin’ Alive” tune helped the students find the ideal pace of the compressions, which is about 120 per minute.

“It’s pretty cool to know that I can now save someone’s life,” LHS junior Aaron Olivares said. “It says a lot that Corey Liuget would come to our school and make this donation. I’m glad that I got to experience this.”

The training kits, valued at $10,000, will serve Lynwood, Firebaugh and Vista high schools.

“The training kits will solidify our dedication to the safety of our students,” Lynwood Unified Superintendent Gudiel R. Crosthwaite said. “Of equal importance are the life-saving skills that our students learned today and can share with their peers and families.”

The donation stems from Liuget’s 2017 NFL Season Win/Sack Initiative, where he pledged to donate one CPR in Schools kit for every Chargers team win and every sack he recorded during this past season. Liuget totaled 1.5 sacks to go along with San Diego’s nine wins.

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