The Hardest Question

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jeanette_high_school

 

Class of ‘92

 

14 high schoolers have one thing in common

By Jeanette Bennett

Of the thousands of questions I ask each year, this one directed at high school principals is the hardest: “Who is the student at your high school who is most likely to change the world?”

This isn’t an easy request, and it doesn’t have one right answer.

The most common and immediate response I receive is, “Do I really have to narrow it to just one?”

With overachieving students in every corner of the county, it almost seems unfair to only highlight one from each school. But our magazine isn’t big enough (yet) to feature all of the influential teenagers who happily text their way around Utah Valley.

Although the decision process is agonizing for the school administrators and counselors, the interviews are exhilarating on our end.

Every year we look forward to meeting the nervous and the nice, the casual and the confident, the musician and the math whiz.

Nearly all have impressive GPAs and plan to go to college. But they aren’t cookie cutter teenagers. Some are family-focused, others are thinking medicine. One of our featured students this year is a history re-enactor, with all the costuming and props that accompany his passion. We have swimmers and seamstresses, athletes and student body presidents.

The 14 meet each other only briefly as they come to our offices for their overlapping interviews.

But if they all went to the same high school they would be drawn together as friends for one reason: their positive attitudes.

Without exception, these students believe theirs is the best school in the county. They name “the students and the teachers” as the best thing about their respective schools.

So perhaps the lesson for us post-high school readers is that to be influential you have to be positive.  To make a difference in the household or the world around you, you have to be the one looking on the bright side, thinking that the grass is greener under your own feet.

And when you have the right attitude, you plan on changing the world because you know it’s possible.

To this year’s baker’s dozen plus one, thank you for carrying the heavy distinction of being the most likely to change the world. We know it’s a big job. Changing the world isn’t like changing a light bulb — although both can be done by one person.

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