Glenville High School's Adrien Grant Wins First Place in Public Speaking

Every year, Youth Career Olympics concludes with the first place winner of the Public Speaking event presenting their speech to an auditorium full of students, sponsors, volunteers, and community members. Adrien Grant, a Glenville High School senior, took top honors in Public Speaking and wowed the audience with his powerful message of getting ahead by getting started. Click on the video to watch his incredible speech.

Adrien Grant addresses the audience after winning first place in the Public Speaking event at the annual Youth Career Olympics

Adrien Grant addresses the audience after winning first place in the Public Speaking event at the annual Youth Career Olympics

"Good afternoon. I’m Adrien Grant, I’m a senior at Glenville High School.

I came to talk to you about the theme of Y.C.O. which is ‘Getting Ahead by Getting Started.’ When I first think about that theme, I think about life.  If you look at it, life is turned into a competition.  When you’re in a competition, you want to get ahead of your competitors so you don’t lose, right? So you have to get ahead of the competition.

You may be asking yourself how exactly do you get ahead.  Well, you just have to start.  There’s a quote by Mark Twain that says “the secret of getting ahead is getting started. And the secret of getting started is breaking those complex, overwhelming tasks into smaller, manageable tasks and starting on the first one.”

It makes perfect sense.  If you have a research project, you’re going to break down that complex research project into smaller, manageable tasks and start on the first one.  Then, you’ll most likely get a good grade right?

It’s the same thing with life.  To get ahead in life, you have to start. You have to start on yourself first.  That means when everybody else is out partying and having fun, you have to be working on yourself.  You have to work on your school work, your sport, your singing, dancing, cheering, whatever it is, work on it. Perfect it.  That way, when you’re 50 (or 40, however old), you can sit back in your house and just relax.

Those people who get to that point in their life, they are ahead of their classmates at this time in life. At the high school and going into college part.  It’s kind of difficult because of the various mental, physical, and emotional changes going in inside of you.  But, if you can just start, you’ll be ahead of most people.

An example would be one of my old classmates, her name is Chabethany Sawyer.  In the 8th grade, she transferred into the school, I didn’t know her, she got straight A’s, 3.9 GPA, only thing she didn’t pass was gym.  Everyone looked at her like ‘why can’t we be like her,’ ‘what are we doing wrong?’

As we got older, we realized she wasn’t any different than any of us. The only difference between any of us was that she started early. While we were out playing, she was prioritizing, she had herself organized, she was reading ahead to get ahead of us.  That put her in the position she was in; that was the reason that she got straight A’s.  It made me think, if I’d listened to my parents, or my older sister, maybe I could be in that position, or even a better position than her.

Is anybody in here an athlete? You all know how hard it is to get ahead.  You have to work, day and night, so that you can be the best that you can be, right? An example would be Markell Johnson, he went to East Tech. He worked so hard. While everyone was out having fun, he was in the gym. He was practicing his jump shots, his layups, he was working on his strength so he could be the best basketball player.  And look at him now.  He’s at North Carolina State, playing basketball for free. He’s getting a free education just because he got started and now he’s ahead of all of us.

Some of you may be looking at me like ‘what does this have to do with me,’ ‘why are you telling me this?’ Well, I want all of you in here to be ahead of your competition, to be ahead of your peers.  Maybe in the audience we have the next Dana Harris, the girl that was accepted to Princeton from John Hay (High School). We could have the next Coby Bryant, who is going to Cincinnati to play football for free.  All you have to do is start.

To end, I’ll leave you with this quote by Jerry Rice “Today, I will do what others won’t, so tomorrow I can do what others can’t.”