Well, that was until the heard him that everyone got excited and even a bit spastic.
The special guest was none other than Jonathan Joss, the voice behind fan favorite John Redcorn of the animated hit “King of the Hill.”
Joss was recruited to take over the voice of John Redcorn at the beginning of season two, after the unexpected death of the original voice actor, Victor Aaron.
And since then, Joss has made the character his own, even having a few episodes culled from his personal life.
And being half Native American and half Mexican American, Joss has seen his share of hardships and heartaches making his way on to the silver and TV screen.
But he never stopped believing in his childhood dream of becoming an actor. And to this day, he’s still working his way up to stardom, no matter how many rungs of the steep ladder he has to climb.
“I’m here to tell you that dreams do come true,” Joss told the packed audience of middle schoolers. “I’m in an industry that a very small amount of people make it.
“The reason I’m in this industry is because I like to entertain. I like to perform. I like to take the things that I do and make people laugh. Make them think. Weigh their decisions in life.”
Joss grew up on the south side of San Antonio in a house that his father built which still stands more than 60 years later.
He now resides in L.A. but makes frequent trips for work and auditions to Texas, which is where he still calls home.
“For me, education was the key to my success. Education not only comes from school, it comes from everyday life.”
Throughout the speech, the kids listened, enthralled with the actor’s story of the trials and tribulations of being bullied and striving to overcome any and all obstacles he’s faced.
“I decided to be an actor when I was in the fourth grade. I was bullied because I was a fat kid. My mom and dad would always dress me in red shirts, so I always looked like Santa.
“So, what I did is I took being bullied in school and thought: what would make me stronger than the kids who were bullying me? What would make me a little bit better than the kids who were bullying me?
“One of the keys that I worked on was being smarter than the kids who were bullying me. Being smarter than the kids saying negative things about me.”
Meeting the charismatic actor, it’s hard to believe that he once struggled through life as so many kids seem to be doing now.
However, Joss is adamant about the fact that education is key to any sort of success you can hope to achieve in both personal and professional life.
“I’ve done a lot of things in my life from waiting tables, to teaching school to riding horseback in the middle of nowhere.
“In Hollywood, a lot of people don’t get to do what I get to do.
“Even I’m still struggling, but every day I try and take the knowledge that’s been passed down to me by my elders, by my family and by my friends.
“And I try to stay positive.”
And the students hung on to every word of advice the actor gave. They asked questions and laughed along with Joss, and at the end of the program, he sat around the cafeteria where the event took place and chatted with the enthusiastic crowd of youngsters.
The one thing he stressed the most about how to make yourself better and get into a position not only to help yourself but help others was: “It’s not just having an education; it’s about doing a good thing with it.”
Having Joss taking the time out of a busy schedule to share his stories of struggle and success with the future generation is about as good a thing one person could do.
Joss currently plays the recurring character Ken Hotate on NBC’s “Parks and Recreation.”
Paul Gonzales is the entertainment writer at the Bee-Picayune and can be reached at 358-2550, ext. 116, or at thescene@mySouTex.com.