Saturday, May 20, 2006

 

Turn around bright eyes

Thursday I attended the annual Turn Around Scholarship presentations from the Los Gatos Kiwanis. This event gives $1,000 scholarships to 10 students in the Los Gatos-Saratoga Joint Union High School District who have overcome all types of difficult challenges. Congratulations to EVELYN BLESSING, DYLAN BURKE, JONATHAN MOULTRUP, ADAM NUDELMAN, RENE STEPHEN, and VALERIE VOLPIN from Los Gatos High School, LORRAINE LOREN from NOVA and LAWRENCE BURGESS, JUSTIN LARZELERE, and KELLY SLABAUGH from Saratoga High School. And, congratulations also to MARY BARTLETT, president of the Los Gatos Kiwanis and all of its members for organizing this outstanding program to recognize young people in our community who have found strength deep within themselves to overcome obstacles and excel. The experience made me think of a quote on a wall plaque that is a key element in the movie “Akeelah and the Bee,” about a girl from South Central L.A. who makes it to the national spelling bee. The quote intrigued me and I tracked it down on the Internet. Here is an excerpt: “Our deepest fear is not that we are inadequate. Our deepest fear is that we are powerful beyond measure. It is our light, not our darkness, that most frightens us. We ask ourselves, who am I to be brilliant, gorgeous, talented and fabulous? Actually, who are you not to be? … It’s not just in some of us, it’s in everyone. And as we let our own light shine, we unconsciously give other people permission to do the same. As we are liberated from our own fear, our presence automatically liberates others.” There were tears and smiles all around on Thursday, and everyone left the Kiwanis luncheon feeling inspired by what these teens have achieved.

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