Finding inspiration at LHS

Finding inspiration at LHS
Posted on 10/06/2016
Olivia Antonio was in a state of shock. Lynden High School assemblies don’t often enlist shock on any student, much less the kind of shock that results in riveted attention on the speaker, in this case Kevin Laue.

“It was really cool,” the junior says of his visit. “For him to come and talk to us, because there are many people like me born like him, now I am not scared that I was born like that and I know I can make something of myself like him.”

Laue wowed more than just Antonio, telling his story of playing NCAA basketball despite having just one fully formed arm, the same way Antonio was born. “Many people didn’t know (about me) and they got surprised,” she says. Of course, Laue putting a picture of Antonio and classmates with him on his Instagram account helped let people in. “I was pretty shocked when I saw that,” she says. “I was happy.”

Not only did Laue speak to the entire student body during an assembly, but he spent from 7 a.m. to after 5 p.m. with specific groups in the school, something principal Ian Freeman says he has never seen before from a speaker.

When Laue visited Antonio’s ELL Access class for a question-and-answer time it left her speechless. “I was pretty much shocked at the moment and I forgot many things about myself,” she says with a laugh. “I was just there smiling most of the time.”

Classmate Juan Jose says Laue was incredibly inspiring. “He talked a lot about because he is like that it doesn’t mean he can’t do anything,” Jose says. “It got to me. It is just something nice to hear that you don’t hear everyday.”

Laue also met with the LHS ASB team. “I had seen him at a leadership conference and thought he was awesome and wanted him to come for everybody,” says Hailey Washkow, senior class president. “He constantly had roadblocks in his way and still achieved his dream of playing basketball and doing amazing things. He had perseverance.”

His time with the ASB team was spent encouraging the students to be leaders for the school all year, showering others with kindness.

Faith Pratt, senior class secretary, says the assembly was super inspirational and relatable. “It helps show people there is hope that nothing is too big to overcome,” she says. “It was more of a talk than a lecture.” Having a younger individual with a story to tell also resonated with the students better than in recent years, she says.

Kristen Hewson, the ASB president was one of those behind bringing Laue to campus, coinciding his visit with a Kindness Week event and had it all pair nicely with her schoolwide slogan of “We Are Here.”

“Our slogan is basically to be present and take the opportunities that high school has and not just slough it off,” she says. “We want students to think high school is important and work together to make it the best, that is why it is ‘we’ and not ‘I.’”

The Kindness Week included events such as handing out random acts of kindness ideas to students and another day included students receiving cards to hand to other students with encouraging phrases.

“We are tying Kindness Week into We Are Here by being kind in the moment and not just thinking about yourself,” Hewson says. “You are choosing to be nice in the moment to make it nice for everyone and not just yourself.”

Pratt says Laue really helped push that idea of kindness. “Even just a smile down the hall can make someone’s day so much better,” she says. “You never think the tiniest thing can make things better.”

The smile hasn’t faded from Antonio’s face when she talks about Laue, but now it remains up to the entire student body at LHS to keep his message—and the school’s mantra—alive and in action all year.