In 1993 when I was a senior in college, I was one of five students hired to run the summer orientation program, a series of three overnight stay programs for incoming students and their parents hosted by 100 volunteer student staffers that we’d hired and trained. I’d just finished reading Principle Centered Leadership where I’d learned about mission statements, and I had proposed that we make one for summer orientation. My four 21-year-old colleagues and I spent weeks hammering something out, finalized one we liked, and preached it all summer long as the mission of summer orientation.
Today, I visited the program’s website. Right there on the homepage—over 20 years later—is our mission statement.
My mission statement proposal was just one contribution—and far from the most important one—made by student leaders in that program’s long history. But the mission statement idea was mine. It’s my tiny legacy even if I’m the only one who remembers when and how it started.
As you participate in activities, do more than just show up to the meetings, practices or rehearsals. High school life is too short to spend it going through the motions just to put something on your college application. Instead, find activities you’re excited about, then work to make an impact. Contribute ideas, time and energy. Don’t settle for “That’s how we’ve always done it.”
Leave a legacy that will stick around long after you’ve moved on.