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Hall of Fame Potential Abides in All

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The NHS Hall of Fame induction reminded me of my own unique potential.

The NHS Hall of Fame induction reminded me of my own unique potential.

The NHS Hall of Fame induction reminded me of my own unique potential.

Emilee Wise, Editor-in-Chief

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I sat at the fancily set table, feeling small in a room full of people with incredible stories.  “How did I get here?” I asked myself as I looked around. It seemed that everyone had more talent than I did — it did not help that Touch of Class, the NHS swing orchestra was present, playing spectacular renditions of some of my favorite songs — my goodness, those people are gifted.  When introduced as a student representative, the list of my accomplishments was significantly shorter than those of my peers.  A slight bit embarrassed, I sat down to what I heard as a spattered applause. Lunch was served, and then I settled into my chair and picked up my pen, preparing for an hour of taking down notes and recalling my own insignificance.  

Instead, I found myself reminded of my own unique potential.

The Hall of Fame inductees were absolutely individual in their own way — none could do what another had.  The woman’s suffragist could in no way have been an NFL referee or soccer coach, the neurologist could not have accomplished the same feats as the four time Pulitzer Prize nominee.  Their successes, though different, were in their own way incredible and cannot — and should not — be compared.

I remember glancing around my table after this epitome.  By comparing my list of accomplishments to those of my peers, I had suddenly demeaned my own value, and therefore, limited my doors of potential.

“A door is an opening; you may not be ready but you have to walk through it,” Jill Lieber Steeg, Pulitzer Prize nominee, said with a small chuckle.  I remember my hand shaking as I wrote down the quote, my head conjuring a passing thought that maybe she had read my mind. Potential means nothing if an individual refuses to walk through the door.  Truly, we can grasp at greatness if only we have the courage to cross that metaphorical threshold. This courage, however, cannot be obtained at a mere instant. When asked to tell their stories in 10 minutes, not one of the inductees skipped their teenage years.  Why? Because they understand that their success was because of fears they were courageous enough to overcome at the  beginning.

Our lives do not start once we graduate high school — they have already begun.  We do not have to wait until we are a certain age, obtain a certain degree, or reach a certain status to start implementing change in our community, state, nation and world.  We can do that right now.

In 50 years, I do not know for sure where I will be, but I would like to think that I might show up on that same stage, staring into eyes just as young as mine used to be.  And maybe, just maybe, I might tell them, “You have to be fearless. You can’t back down…” just like Jill Lieber Steeg told me.

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Hall of Fame Potential Abides in All