Worcester Preparatory School (WPS) sophomores and brothers Hunter and Dylan Simons have followed a life model of positivity. In the last year, they have created a campaign, Only Positive Stories, to help lift others during difficult times.
Dylan and Hunter were orphans in Siberia, Russia, and were adopted together at a young age by their parents, Dr. Richard and Sharon Simons. From the start, they learned a bit of positivity can go a long way, and as the boys grew, their mom would ask them to share a positive story each day to help them keep a smile along the way.
Entering high school, Dylan and Hunter thought it would be a good idea to share their optimistic outlooks by creating a website where they could share real-life encouraging stories, as well as provide a platform where others could submit their own and together help inspire an audience to live positive lives and achieve goals.
That is when Dylan and Hunter’s website, OnlyPositiveStories.com was born.
“We want to share our positive attitude with others and hope to make a little bit of change in a world where you can hear complaining and negativity,” Hunter said. “We started Only Positive Stories to share positivity. We want everyone to ‘find their strong’ in whatever makes you happy.”
As the website grew, Dylan and Hunter decided to add the “Find Your Strong in You” element to the campaign.
“Mom always says, ‘Find your strong in yourself, not others.’ It is all about how you feel about yourself,” Dylan said.
For Dylan, he found his strength in gymnastics at the age of 4. He has grown to be a Level 10 gymnast, spending at least 20 hours in the gym each week. On top of his academic and gymnastic schedule, Dylan participates on the WPS cross-country and tennis teams.
Last year, Dylan received the Barry & Diane Tull Scholarship for Excellence in Character and attended the Naval Academy STEM program during the summer. He is currently the treasurer of his 10th-grade class at WPS and an A student on the “Head of School” academic list.
Hunter found his strength on the soccer field. He started playing travel soccer at age 9, transitioning from practicing gymnastics also since age 4. Despite being athletic, soccer was not an immediate success.
“I tried my best but wasn’t that good,” Hunter said. “I didn’t get much playing time at all. When I asked my mom why the coach didn’t believe in me, I will never forget what she said.”
Sharon Simons was honest with her sons and emphasized that they had to find their strength through perseverance and practice. She promised her sons that if they put in the effort, she will be there to help them every step of the way.
Hunter started lessons with a private soccer coach, as well as taking boxing lessons, with Sharon boxing by his side. Through hard work and practice, Hunter made the WPS varsity soccer team his freshman year of high school.
“She is my biggest cheerleader and is at every game, even if I play one minute or the entire game,” he said.
Hunter continues to play varsity soccer at WPS, as well travel soccer with River Soccer Club. In addition, he plays basketball and lacrosse at WPS, is vice president of his 10th-grade class, is a straight-A student and on the “Head of School” academic list.
Recently, the Simons family teamed up with Worcester Youth and Family Counseling Services to hold an essay contest, having kids submit essays explaining where they found their own strengths. Many essays were submitted in which children found their strength from all areas, including art and ROTC. The winners were awarded sweatshirts and gift cards.
Only Positive Stories plans on holding contests in the future with youth mentoring programs to continue helping kids share their strengths through writing essays. Those strengths being shared are being turned into shirts that can be found for sale on their Facebook page and website. The proceeds from the shirts are given to animal shelters’ youth-mentoring programs in the local community.
“We just want every child to know that anything is possible and that there is always something positive in every situation,” Sharon said.
Looking to the future, the Simons brothers hope for Only Positive Stories to grow nationally
and have more peers join in on the efforts. For more information or to find out how you can get involved, visit their website at OnlyPositiveStories.com, their Facebook page at
Facebook.com/onlypositivestories or Instagram @onlypositivestories. CS