Live a great story

In the wake of the loss of one of BHS’s most beloved teachers, students and staff have taken it upon themselves to spread the idea of living a great story – but what exactly does that entail?


“Live a great story” is a movement that started with the idea that every person has the power to create their own story. No matter the color of their skin or the language they speak, in the end, the world is just full of people trying to live out their own stories. Inspirational, the message began to take root in various communities. Gaining popularity as it spread across the globe, it finally touched down in the little capital of North Dakota, where a high school teacher decided to utilize these words to inspire those around her.

Jody Olheiser was this teacher. Driven by a desire to uplift and encourage those around her, she inspired – to the core – everyone she met. She could walk into a room and it would instantly brighten – her smile and quick wit enough to boost anyone’s day. Even those who were not fortunate enough to know Olheiser before she passed away have been – and still are – able to be touched by her perspective on life. She was an inspiration to hundreds of students, teachers, friends and family members. She truly did live every day to its fullest, embracing the motto completely and whole-heartedly. “Live a great story” is a movement meant to inspire others, but its meaning can be unique to every individual who hears it. It is not an instruction, but rather a path of guidance, which is exactly what Olheiser did for those around her. She offered guidance to those in her life and was there for anyone who needed her. Saying that she touched the lives of those around her is an understatement. It was not a touch, nor was it some light tap that could be easily brushed off. It was a smack, loud and demanding of attention. Her impact was not a drop of water that slightly messes up the surface, no. It was a great splash, the kind that would soak everyone in the audience, not just those in the splash zone. Hopefully, this school and everyone who knew her will allow her impact to soak in and stick with them for the rest of their lives. As long as her memory is kept alive, she will always live on and will be remembered by her students and friends.

Becky Riepl

While many will say that she passed on entirely too soon, the world, her family, her colleagues and her students can work together every day to keep her memories alive and spread the message that she supported. But just how can this be done? What makes a story worth living? While the meaning will vary among individuals, the general idea is to live life to its fullest. From having the courage to pursue one’s own goals or inspiring others to pursue their goals to striving to make a positive difference in the community, anyone can do it. Olheiser was the kind of person to push others out of their comfort zones. She would encourage others to do what makes them happy and to do it to their fullest potential. Each and every person has their own story, their own journey. Everyone’s story is different. The world is full of billions of people, billions of backgrounds, billions of experiences – the world is full of billions of stories. So how does one know if they lived a great story if everyone’s story is different? What makes a story great? Well, it is because everyone is different that makes their lives unique. There is no correct format, dialect or path when it comes to living. With every story, everyone brings with them different experiences, ideas and perspectives. While the way one lives a great story can vary from person to person, there is one driving force behind every story – a purpose. From traveling the world to living out one’s faith to simply trying to make someone smile each and every day, everyone needs a purpose, a reason for living. 

And with that, there is only one thing left to ask – what is your purpose? How can you live a great story and inspire others to do the same?