I was living solely on my own and I realized that living solely for my own entertainment wasn’t so entertaining anymore, that it wasn’t particularly satisfying anymore, that I didn’t seem to be making much of a ripple in the world, I started to change my tune. I realized that by refusing to apply myself, there was nothing I could point to that I was proud of that would last. Now, you come of an age in a popular culture that actually reinforces this approach to life. You watch TV, and basically what it says is you can be rich and successful without much effort; you just have to become a celebrity. If you can achieve some reality TV notoriety, that’s better than lasting achievement. We live in a culture that tells you there’s a quick fix for every problem and a justification for every selfish desire. And all of you were raised with cell phones and iPods, and texting and emails, and you’re able to call up a fact, or a song, or a friend with the click of a button. So you’re used to instant gratification.
But meaningful achievement, lasting success — it doesn’t happen in an instant. It’s not about luck, it’s not about a sudden stroke of genius. It’s not usually about talent. It’s usually about daily effort, the large choices and the small choices that you make that add up over time. It’s about the skills you build, and the knowledge you accumulate, and the energy you invest in every task, no matter how trivial or menial it may seem at the time.
- President Barack Obama,
June 7, 2010 Commencement Speech at Kalamazoo High School.
It seems that people from generations before us have always talked about the need for change, and the majority of our country voted for just that in this past election. However, after we had cast our ballots in November we went back to our daily routine expecting that one man to change our lives and bring peace throughout the world instantaneously.
People expected immediate change in the economy, in foreign relations, and a change in Washington.
The lack of “change” that has happened a year ago isn’t a self-reflection on President Obama, but as we as a people. We expect instantaneous change, by one man- “instant gratification.” The truth is that change requires everyone to be proactively involved in a common movement that everyone agrees upon no matter the religious or political affiliation or sexual orientation.
There’s a reason for (StarShine’s) Kalamazoo Central High School’s national recognition. Superintendents, teachers, parents, students, and the entire community all work together to create an education that’s about the betterment of the kids. Everyone does their part to bring about change, and that’s what is needed on a national and international level.
Change starts from within, and that’s what we at StarShine focus on. Working with families from the most difficult backgrounds in a community with the highest crime rate in the Phoenix Metropolitan area makes instilling a sense of self-confidence and personal accountability in the students’ lives essential to the success of their lives. Our students have the confidence that they can overcome the obstacles of drugs, gangs, and hopelessness and they understand that every decision has an effect on their ultimate life goal. StarShine has the ability to instill a future oriented time perspective in each one of our students, making our school successful in bringing about change in every student that steps foot on to our campus. By changing the mindset of our StarShine student’s we create a domino effect where the students change how they interact with their parents who in turn change the way they’re involved within a community.
When I opened up StarShine 8 years ago the park next to our school was vacant of children, and home to mostly homeless drug addicts. Now, our community has a park filled with families, a new public pool and a freshly built Starbucks on the corner. Everyday I’m reminded of how far we have come and its all because everyone does their part. It’s truly the individual: You, and I, our network, our community are the true agents of change.
Change Yourself- Think Globally- Act Locally.
Congratulations again to (StarShine 2010 Graduates) Kalamazoo Central High School for bringing about change one child, parent, teacher, and community at a time.