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Address to Class of 2017
Posted On:
Monday, May 22, 2017
by Principal Roger Schnitzler

Class of 2017: Congratulations!

For those of you who don’t know I am a member of Rotary International, which has allowed me to make connections in my community, my country and my world. Rotary International has a Foundation that has done powerful work across the world for 100 years. After working on eradicating Polio for thirty years, Rotary is currently three countries away from eliminating the disease worldwide. I am expressing this to you today to talk about the power of one, to make change and how, collectively, we can accomplish even greater things.

Arch Klumph, a member of the Rotary Chapter of Cleveland decided to start the foundation as an endowment fund “to do good in the world”. He started the account with an initial contribution of $26.50 cents.   Today, with the power of 1.2 million Rotary members and the Foundation, the organization spends over $1 billion each year to help with health, hunger, education, and humanitarian aid around the world and funds local programming. One man’s idea turned into something larger because a team of people came together to achieve something greater.

Class of 2017 you have the power to be that one person. History is full of these people; some of those that you may be familiar with would be Steve Jobs, an individual that started the Apple Corporation in a garage because he had an idea to put personal computers into our homes. His success in the technology industry was the result of others he worked with. Then there is Rosa Parks, a woman who refused to give up her seat on a bus and, with the help of others in the Civil Rights movement, changed policy on racial segregation.

You have experienced the power of one, many times here at school. One person had an idea of a ping pong tournament and your student council responded. One person had an idea for “Makin Jars”, and it evolved into the Illinois Junior Achievement Company of the Year. One person had an idea of creating a pet walk to support a local animal rescue, and the FFA has done that to raise funds for the past two years. The list goes on and on. You have achieved great things here in Manteno and created great memories.

As I share with you the words of the ballad sang by “Magic” in their competition show this season, I ask you to reflect on what I have challenged you with:

“One seed can start a forest,

One raindrop builds a stream

One voice can lead a nation

One vision can be seen

The future’s waiting if we choose

One life can make a difference,

It’s all inside of you”

You could be….. That one that changes your community….. The one that changes your workplace….. Or even the one that changes the world. But, I promise you this….. You all have the ability to be the ones to make connections and make this world a better place no matter how big or small. Believe in yourself and in the people around you and be the ones this world will need!

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