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Students Learn About "Making a Difference"

Porter Ridge students meet with Rye Barcott, author of It Happened on the Way to War.

“Making a difference…” These three words illustrate the ultimate goal of many Porter Ridge students. Helping people and changing the world is something that everyone wishes they could do, and many clubs and organizations at Porter Ridge are preparing students to do just that. When it comes to how, making an impact that truly matters can seem overwhelming, or downright confusing. Having a vision is easy; implementing it is anything but.

Luckily, on November 7th, forty Porter Ridge students had the privilege to listen to someone who was successful in his attempts to make a change. Rye Barcott, a veteran who hails from North Carolina, is the author of It Happened on the Way to War: A Marine’s Path to Peace. On Wednesday, he spoke at Central Academy of Technology and Arts to four hundred students from across Union County about his experiences founding the organization Carolina for Kibera. Started in 2001, CFK is based in the Kibera slum of Nairobi, Kenya, and focuses on helping people through establishing sports programs, girls’ centers, medical clinics, and waste management.

Barcott’s message was a simple one: talent is universal, opportunity is not. He stressed that everyone in the world, regardless of their socio-economic status, has something to contribute. The problem is that not everyone has the chance to apply their talents. Barcott advised students that, if they truly wanted to make a difference, their number one priority should be connecting talent to opportunity.

“It gave a great perspective on slums around the world and also what an average person can do to help,” said C.J. Farris, a junior at Porter Ridge who represented Interact when the students listened to Barcott.

The ex-marine only spoke for about forty minutes before answering questions from those who had come to listen to him speak. Though his speech was not a long one, students all left feeling the kind of encouragement that can be best summed up with one of the quotes a member of the Board of Education used when she introduced Barcott: “Never doubt the fact that a small group of thoughtful committed citizens can change the world; indeed, it’s the only thing that ever has.”

Written by: Rachel Carroll, PRHS junior
Posted: Dec 03, 2012 by April Dawkins

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