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Advice to Students | from Those who Know
Education is the great divide in this country. It doesn't matter
what your ethnic background or your socio-economic background is. If
you get a good education, you write your own ticket. End of story. No
ifs, ands and buts about it. And we need to be emphasizing that. You
know, one of the things that I tell people all the time is, during
slavery, it was illegal to teach a slave to read. Why do you think that
was? Because even those evil masters knew that an educated man is a
free man. (Dr. Ben Carson, 2016 presidential candidate, FoxNews.com,
August 24, 2015)
“One child, one teacher, one book, and one pen can change the world.”
Taliban militants were suppressing girls in Pakistan, when they shot Malala in the head while she was on her school bus. Nineteen year old Malala said today, “There is a direct relationship between illiteracy and terrorism. With education comes questioning, with education comes critical thinking, with education comes more opportunities. People go forward. People see the world from a different perspective. It is shocking that there are 130 million girls who are not in school. Why do these leaders not see this?” (“Messenger of Peace, Malala on Education, Refugees and the President,” CBS News, April 12, 2017)
Finish your education. We can all learn from an Olympic hero who finished last. John Stephen Akhwari was born in 1938, and was sent to represent Tanzania, Africa in the 1968 Summer Olympics in Mexico City.
While competing in the marathon in Mexico City, Akhwari cramped up due to the high altitude of the city. He had not trained at such an altitude back in his country. At the 19 kilometer point during the 42 km race, there was jockeying for position between some runners, and John was hit. He fell, badly wounding his knee and dislocating that joint, plus his shoulder hit hard against the pavement.
John, however, continued running, finishing last among the 57 competitors who completed the race (75 had started). The winner of the marathon, Mamo Wolde of Ethiopia, finished in 2:20:26. A little over one hour later, Akhwari approached the stadium, finishing in 3:25:27, the last man to complete the journey, when there were only a few thousand people left in the stadium, and the sun had set. As he finally crossed the finish line, a cheer came from the small crowd.
A television crew was sent out from the medal ceremony when word was received that there was one more runner about to finish. Of the 75 who started the 1968 Olympia marathon, 18 runners pulled out. When interviewed later and asked why he continued running, he said, "My country did not send me 5,000 miles to start the race; they sent me 5,000 miles to finish the race.” (John Stephen Akhwari, Wikipedia)
Afterwords it was written, “Today we have seen the young African runner who symbolizes the finest in the human spirit. A performance that gives true dignity to sport. A performance that lifts sport out of the category of grown men playing at games. A performance that gives meaning to the word courage."
Perhaps the words of John Stephen Akhwari epitomize all that is right
in the human spirit. John finished what he set out to do. The light in this Tanzanian runner is a beacon to us all. Today, no one even remembers the name of the gold medal winner that year, but people remember and honor Akhwari, because he finished the race in the most difficult circumstances.
Students, finish the race! Walking or running, stumbling or limping, it doesn’t matter. If you are struggling with trials and difficulties, ask for help from others, to help you finish school. You will never be sorry you did. Finish the Race. Finish your Education.
Get all the education you can, whether you choose to be a doctor or a car mechanic. Learn to be smart in your studies and do the very best you can. You do not have to be a genius to get ahead; because, the work of the world is done by ordinary people who learned to work in an extraordinary way. Society will reward you according to your worth as it perceives that worth. Educate both your mind and your hands to make a great contribution to society and serve others. If getting an education means sacrifice, then sacrifice to take advantage of every educational opportunity that you can possibly afford. That sacrifice will become one of the best investments you have ever made, and you will reap returns from it all the days of your life. (President Gordon B. Hinckley in talks to youth and the LDS Business College January 2009)