MARYSVILLE — It was by no means the first Rotary Business Week at Marysville-Pilchuck High School, but School for the Entrepreneur Principal Dave Rose noted that this year’s event, which took place Feb. 1-3, had a bit of a different setup.
“In years past, we’ve held it for a day in the library, as a very low-key affair,” Rose said Feb. 1, before half a dozen members of the Marysville Rotary took to the stage of the M-PHS auditorium to share their stories with the 135 students who signed into the after-school event. “This year, we’ve really increased the partnership between our school and Rotary, inviting business people in to get a flavor for who they are, with the hopes that they’ll be able to open their doors to our kids for on-site partnerships.”
School for the Entrepreneur and Future Business Leaders of America student Meghan O’Brien spent two months helping to organize the event with a couple of classmates and FBLA Advisor Kris Mikesell, and she expressed a personal stake in its impact on her fellow students.
“I’ve enjoyed getting to know Rotary members, since they’re a really important part of the community,” O’Brien said. “I want to help other students prepare for their futures because I don’t want this community to fail. I want Marysville to succeed. I’ve learned so much about stepping up, time management and getting things done. I hope this gets students involved and engaged so that they can get ready for their lives to begin.”
The program for Feb. 2 was devoted to how to present oneself at interviews and how to write one’s essay, as well as how to accumulate experiences that will add up to an appealing resume to employers, while the program for Feb. 3 featured public speaker Dermany Jones. The program for Feb. 1 boasted a panel of Rotarians taking questions from students, including Steve Fulton of State Farm Insurance, Washington State Patrol Trooper Keith Leary, Marysville Globe Publisher DeAnna Emborski, Lori Butner of Van Dam Flooring, Loren Van Loo of Edward Jones and Pastor Daryl Taylor.
“We want to motivate these kids and show them that adversity comes in all shapes and sizes,” said Fulton, who turned his grades around in high school after being told that, unless his grades improved, his only career option would be to become a farmer like his father.
On the theme of overcoming adversity, Van Loo recalled his parents’ divorce during his childhood, as well as a drunken-driving incident in college that served as a wake-up call to make him realize that his life was on the wrong path. Similarly, Butner shared how she’d managed to return to high school and graduate with honors after getting pregnant during her junior year, which she cited as an example of how difficulties can be overcome with hard work. As for Taylor, he identified self-knowledge as a key to setting one’s own course.
“The friends you choose to associate with can affect the direction of your life,” said Leary, who once found a friend’s pistol spilling out of his own car’s glove compartment, after he was pulled over for a traffic stop. “I could have very easily gone down the wrong path.”
Mikesell was pleased by the event’s attendance, which exceeded her expectations, as well as by the enthusiastic participation of the students who connected with speakers such as Emborski when she explained that she was able to escape from a relationship of domestic abuse and become an advocate for other survivors of violence.
“The students’ questions were very pointed and personal,” Mikesell said. “Our guests treated the kids like they were the VIPs. I look forward to seeing our businesses’ involvement in our classes grow from here.”