Clairbourn School: Josh Drean Speaks on the Power of Purpose

Majovski Motivational Assembly Speaker for 2018

Published : Thursday, January 11, 2018 | 2:32 PM

Headmaster Dr. Robert Nafie, speaker Josh Drean, and talk sponsor Dr. Majovski.

On January 9, 2018, the Clairbourn student body attended the Majovski Motivational Assembly designed to encourage students to make the most of their opportunities, follow their dreams, and work hard. This is the 20th year of talks, thanks to the Majovski family, given in honor of their daughter Lindsay who lived life to the fullest before she passed away at 11 years old due to a long-standing health difficulty. Her goal was to be a gold-medal winning ice skater like Katarina Witt, and she pursued that dream by learning to skate and by joining a team that collectively won enough points for a group gold medal at competition. Lindsay wanted to inspire others and exemplify that you can have courage when things are difficult and you can have determination, but you also have to have a purpose and direction of what you’d like to do and what you want to be, and that is the point of these assemblies.

In the summary below, motivational speaker and Harvard student Josh Drean shares lessons learned from being a college mascot as well as a beatboxer on the streets of Boston. His message, delivered at a recent all-school assembly, inspires students to discover their purpose or calling, and use the mascot code to always represent the positive in school and in life.

Josh Dean

Josh Drean grew up on the West Coast but lives in Boston now where it is freezing cold! He lives there because he is a current student at Harvard University, and he also lives in Boston because he wanted to be a street performer–he likes to beatbox. When he first arrived in town, he acquired a speaker on rollers, a microphone, and a donation bucket and then he and hit the streets to live his dream, but it was rough! Nobody cared! Homeless people harassed him. He didn’t have any money in his bucket after 45 minutes.

Finally a transportation worker, who had been watching him, came up to him and explained the problem. He shared that there was another beatbox performer only 100 yards away, and that guy was much better. So, Josh wheeled his speaker to the performer’s location to check out the competition, and it turned out to be Gene Shinosaki, one of the top five beatboxers in the world! He instantly knew who Gene was, and even though he was star struck, he bravely started a conversation with him. Gene invited him, in a friendly way, to engage in a beatbox battle. Josh said, “No way!” at first, but Gene replied, “Come on, what do you have to lose?” So, Josh took a risk and said yes.

Josh Drean shares his inspiring message to find purpose and always represent the positive.

After performing on the spot, getting audience attention, and even making some money, they became friends and Gene even became his mentor. What scares Josh most about this moment was that he almost missed it because he was listening at first to the voice in his head that said, “Don’t do it, you’re not good enough, you’re just starting out.” Josh’s advice to students is, “Each of you can ask yourself, what do I have to lose? I will only lose if I don’t put myself out there.”

Gene, the beatboxer, taught him another valuable lesson. Gene practices six hours a day at his craft because he loves it! For Josh, it is just a hobby, but for Gene, it is life. Gene even got accepted to the Berkeley College of Music on a drummer scholarship, but he dropped out because he found his “because” or rather, the destiny or calling for who he wanted to be. That gave him purpose–that gave him direction. Josh explains that Gene taught him to ask, “What is your ‘because?’ What is the one thing that you are so good at and so amazing at, that you become unstoppable and have purpose?”

It turns out, Josh found his “because” after dressing up like a cat–a big cat! He landed the role of Cosmo the Cougar, a university mascot for B.Y.U. His path to mascot-hood happened thanks to his younger brother who was a cheerleader. Yes, his brother got teased for it—people were generally supportive at first—but when social media came around, people posted mean things and started to ruin it for his brother. Later, when they both attended B.Y.U., Josh saw a flyer for cheerleading tryouts and went to tell his brother who basically refused to try out. (When you listen to the haters in your life, it is easy to forget your “because.”) Josh begged him to try out anyway and simultaneously promised to to anything if he would try out. His brother said, “I’ll try out if you try out with me.”

So, both of them went to the tryout session. His brother made the team at the top of the list, and Josh was the worst, but still somehow made the team. With no original intention of pursuing cheerleading beyond the initial tryouts, Josh reconsidered and thought, “Why not…I’ll try it.” He became a college cheerleader without any experience and had to learn technique, tumbling, and other skills from scratch. Was he treated differently? Was he hit with people’s stereotypes? Yes! He was treated differently, and didn’t enjoy it, but it finally taught him empathy for what his brother had been facing in middle and high school. And that is what most people need who are having difficult times. They need empathy, someone who understands them, someone who knows what it is like to walk in their shoes. So before you judge someone, stop and think, “I wonder what they are going through.”

Eventually Josh became the team mascot and learned some of his most important life lessons while in that role—especially to represent the positive. As a new mascot, he learned the hard way that every choice made is a reflection on your family, school, and your sports team. Early on, he was chosen to be the mascot at a televised ESPN event at B.Y.U. He wanted to make a splash, so he came up with a plan to climb the scaffolding to get onto the sportscaster set, where he would tear up the name of the other team on a piece of paper on live T.V. When he saw his moment, he went up on stage and did just that.

Right after he climbed down, the security team busted him, and delivered him to the ESPN show director who was livid. The consequences were that he had to go to a B.Y.U. board meeting and it looked like he would be expelled from the school. The problem was, Josh believed that being a mascot meant having fun and doing crazy things to entertain the crowd, but the school board and ESPN believed the job of a mascot is to represent the school in a positive way at all times. They said he had made a million dollar mistake by offending ESPN and by coming close to costing the school their contract with ESPN. Suddenly, Josh was face-to-face with the consequences of not representing the best qualities worthy of the school.

Eventually, his coach came to the rescue. There were board meetings all week, and his coach successfully negotiated a suspension. Basically, he got in trouble for being selfish—he wanted to be famous and to get on TV. Josh explained, “I realized the minute you put on that suit, it is not about you, it is about representing something bigger than yourself. After asking the students in the assembly, “Are you representing the positives in your life?”, he went on to share that a mascot has only one job—to represent! It’s not about him when he wears the suit, it is about what it stands for.

Josh Drean, with a student volunteer, talks about the three rules of being a mascot.

Josh’s mascot code has three elements. 1. Keep your head on, 2. know your audience, and 3. be a hero. To represent your school, keeping your head on means don’t lose your cool—keep you emotional control even when things are unfair or uncomfortable (we can’t chose what happens to us, but we can choose how to react to it. To know your audience means to adjust your behavior accordingly so it will be appropriately received by those around you (You shouldn’t behave the same for an elderly quieter audience as you would for a group of wild young sports enthusiasts). Finally, be a hero and do it everyday by upholding your school’s values and stand as a model for others to rally behind.

In closing, Josh advised, “Make sure your behavior is in line with your code of ethics. Let’s live it!”

This event was made possible by the Majovski family who set up a fund to bring motivational speakers to Clairbourn every year in memory of their daughter who attended Clairbourn. The speakers are chosen for their ability to inspire students in following their dreams and living life to the fullest as Lindsay Majovski did during her lifetime.

Clairbourn School, 8400 Huntington Drive, San Gabriel, (626) 286-3108 or visit








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