March 7, 2010

University president encourages high school students to be leaders

Seventy students in Redlands, California were recently honored by the Redlands Optimist Club.  According to Richard Pennington, Chairman for the event, "We are honoring top students for their accomplishments in academics, athletics, arts, and for their contributions to the community."

Youth appreciation is one of the main purposes of an Optimist Club.  Sometimes we recognize kids for doing the right things, or making the right choices.  Often we recognize them for athletic ability or scholarship.  And sometimes we make a choice to honor top students for being well-rounded students, involved in community, academic and extracurricular activities.  That was the theme for the Redlands Optimist Club event. 

Six schools were represented by their top students.  Taylor Guerrero, 17, a senior at Redlands East Valley. "Out of like 3,000 people at our school, there's like 900 people in our class. It's awesome to have 20 kids come. It's just a great honor to be here - it's amazing. And we really appreciate them honoring us."

The keynote speaker, University of Redlands President Emeritus James Appleton encouraged them to move past their honors and continue to do more with their talents. He challenged them to be leaders, scientists, physicians and to "blaze new trails in science, art and politics and engineering."

"There are a thousand symphonies yet to be written," Appleton said. "You could be those people."
If one line, or five words could sum up what we do as Optimist Clubs, I think that line might be it. Every child is unique and talented in their own way.  Optimist Clubs offer the ability for children and adults to be involved, do more in their communities and to be the people who influence a better quality of life for all.


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