STOW: Life is made up of many peanut butter and jelly sandwiches.
This was part of the message that keynote speaker Mayor Sara Drew shared with Stow-Munroe Falls High School’s 2013 senior class.
More than 400 students gathered in the auditorium Wednesday morning for the second annual Make A Difference program. The program brings in guest speakers who inspire the students to make a difference while also recognizing them for the accomplishments they have achieved.
Drew shared stories about her life after high school and how she attempted to do “great things outside Medina, Ohio,” while using a peanut butter and jelly sandwich as a prop. Her achievements included a cross-country road trip, running for mayor and being a single parent.
“Along the way, I realized what was really important in my life and what was important in helping me achieve those great things were the more mundane and routine, boring aspects,” she said. “Making a peanut butter and jelly sandwich for my daughter or myself, doing the laundry, showing up at work, being a good citizen.”
She encouraged the seniors to think about those routine things they do in their lives and use them to achieve greatness.
“It’s really hard to achieve great things if you’re hungry and you don’t have a good foundation,” she said.
Adam Helbling, a former Stow resident, also spoke at the program. Helbling, a graduate of Ohio State University was extremely involved at OSU, including participating on the waterski team. Due to a manic episode caused by bipolar disorder, Helbling embarked on an excessive drug use that eventually led to a car accident.
The accident left him paralyzed from the chest down and he took time to share his story of how his life is different and even for the better.
Helbing graduated with a degree in civil engineering and said that before he had planned to tie his work to water skiing, now he plans to make the world a better place for people with disabilities.
“You can do much more with your mind, then your body,” he said. “Through this tragedy, I could transform my life into a new beginning.”
The end of the program culminated with iPad giveaways, gift cards giveways and most importantly a car giveaway from Ron Marhofer Auto Family who donated a 2014 Chevy Cruz.
After two names were called with no shows,principal Chris DiMauro called out senior Brett Bejcek’s name, who had also won an iPad earlier in the program.
Bejcek plans to attend Ohio State University and major in actuarial science. He didn’t own a car and plans to drive his friends around this summer.
“I’m so thankful that everyone came together to put this on,” Bejcek said. “The speakers were really motivational. I want to send a huge thank you to the Marhofer family and the staff who helped with the event. It means a lot to me.”