[Due to poor audio quality, Taylor Sarman's speech is included below the video]
“The future is dependent on you.” I’ll forever remember these words that my 5th Grade teacher said to us one day before class started. The future is dependent on you. His words served as the inspiration I needed, to realize that if change was to be made in the world, it was to happen in the very place I was sitting—a classroom.
My 5th grade teacher inspired me to believe that the world could be changed. Lives could be made better and the future could be brighter, but that responsibility lied within each of us. I reflect back on that moment as the time I knew that Public Service lied deep in my heart, and it was the career path for me.
You see, I share this story as a reminder of the role that an educator plays in the classroom. As educators, you provide the solid direction and focus that students need to lead our generation into a brighter future. People do not vary greatly in their abilities to achieve success. Instead they vary in their desires to achieve that success. But just like my 5th grade teacher did for me, every day you all inspire students to achieve the desire that will move them to the next level. For many of you, you are the igniters of change in student’s lives. You provide the hope that the world can be changed and that their lives and futures can be better. And you do it every day through Career and Technical Education.
Through Career and Technical Education, you equip students with valuable real-life skills and show them exactly where they can apply these skills in the workforce post-graduation. As a student, that’s inspiring. It’s a reminder that in our careers, we can change the world, make lives better, and create a brighter future.
It is often said that education opens the door to the future, but what isn’t frequently mentioned is that Career and Technical Education is the framework that supports that door. For some, Career and Technical Education courses are the driving force for students to be successful. Career and Technical Education serves as the reminder that what we’re doing in the classroom applies to what is happening in the real world.
For me, my personal commitment to Career and Technical Education and Career and Technical Student Organizations is derived from my involvement in the Future Business Leaders of America. For over 70 years FBLA has been committed to the same idea that my 5th grade teacher lectured about—“The future is dependent on you.” In FBLA we have been committed to providing our over 250,000 members with the skills they need to have successful occupations and impact the world through our over 60 competitive events. 13,000 communities across the United States have Local FBLA Chapters—that’s 13,000 communities that are being positively impacted by community service, youth leadership, and career-driven students. The only thing greater than these breath-taking statistics are the countless personal stories I have heard as the National President of FBLA. It the story of the students from all across this nation who’s lives have been impacted that truly make being National President so rewarding.
As I leave you, I want to thank you for your continual commitment to your classrooms, students, and career and technical education. Thank you for taking the spark of student organizations and lighting up your curriculum and providing your students with invaluable tools that will ensure their preparation for the future. Thank you for always reminding your students that the future is dependent on them and always giving insight to a brighter future.