They study at the FWCS Career Academy at Anthis, Bishop Luers High School, Carroll High School or any high school in Allen County.
They want to be teachers, business managers, pharmacists and missionaries. They enjoy soccer, tennis, basketball, rugby, show choir and marching band. They volunteer with food banks, theater groups and as interpreters.
They hope to attend schools like IPFW, Indiana University, the University of Saint Francis, Anderson College or the University of Notre Dame.
Yet when they gathered April 19 as guests of the Anthony Wayne Rotary Club at Pine Valley Country Club and accepted congratulations and certificates, they represented a common potential that drew the praise of Fort Wayne Mayor Tom Henry.
“As I was sitting here looking at all of you, I tried to see as many of you as I possibly could, because it’s important to imprint your faces because for those of you that stay in Fort Wayne — and we certainly hope that you all do — one of you may very well be standing where I am in the future,” Henry said. “One of you could very well be the mayor of this city in the not-too-distant future. Some of you could be city council members, county council members, county commissioners, heads of businesses in our city, heads of not-for-profit organizations, and certainly future Rotarians.
“I say that to you because you are a select group of individuals. Obviously you were picked among your peers to be here.”
It was the appropriate time to discuss a trait that has become less present in society today, Henry said.
“Those of us who have been around for a while, we used to hear the term ‘servant leadership’ a lot, and unfortunately it’s kind of fallen on deaf hears,” he said.
“That means serving others first, before yourself. It’s not to say that you can’t be successful. It’s not to say that you can’t rise in the corporate world, or be a successful entrepreneur or make as much money as you can possibly make. It simply means serve others first.”
The principles are threefold, he said.
“One is to take care of others first, and the second is to protect whatever organization you’re affiliated with to make that organization just a little bit better because of your presence. And, finally, to work hard to make this just a little more just world in which we live.
“So that’s why I took a few minutes to look around this room earlier, because a lot of you are in a position to bring that term back, and Lord knows we need it. Our world has changed significantly over the last several decades and certainly over the last six months. Too many people have forgotten why we’re here. Too many people have forgotten what our true responsibility is, and it’s not just to ourselves. It’s to those we exist in this world with.”
The mayor said those are the principles of Rotary, too.
“If you study the mission of Rotary, that’s what it’s all about, is leadership,” he said. “… what you’ve already accomplished at your young age tells me that the future is going to be OK. We’re going to be alright, because you’ve already chosen to be servant leaders in your own way.”
Students were honored because of their service as class presidents and student council presidents.
The Rotary Club also will honor its Interact Clubs, at Carroll and Northrop high schools.
Also, student from several area high schools serve as Rotarians for one month each.
Anthony Wayne Rotary Club also sponsors an Early Act Club at Holland Elementary School.