My name is Sam Peaslee. You gave a talk in 2004 when I was a freshman entering Lake Oswego High School, and I met you in that gym once again after my senior year when you spoke to the incoming class in fall 2008. You spoke about “not waiting until you are walking across the gym at graduation until you decide to reach out to your peers and engage with them,” and I remembered that phrase throughout high school and I still do today.
You tore up a dollar bill, to the shock of the audience, and you gave me a corner of it. I still carry it in my wallet to remind myself to own my own time. I’m a junior now at Stanford studying Human Biology, I am a Peer Health Educator and Resident Assistant in one of the dorms, I sing in a cappella group and am writing an honors thesis on neurogenesis (growth of new neurons) in the human brain with a lab at the Stanford Medical School.
I hope to become a doctor after I leave Stanford. I still strive to own my time, and your message resonates with me every time I glance down at my wallet and see that piece of dollar bill sitting on top of my license. Keep up the brilliant work, and I hope you are able to communicate with as many youths as possible throughout your career!
Thank you very much,
Junior Student at Stanford University
I want to say THANK YOU for speaking to the student body at North Bend Middle School. You are the most dynamic and powerful speaker that our school has ever had and I’m convinced that our students will remember you for a very long time and possibly forever!!! Your message was exactly what we all desperately needed to hear in a world that is spiraling out of control. Thank you for your passion, your humor, and the ministry that you deliver. As the students walked back to class after the assembly I noticed they were much quieter, were not running and tagging each other, and were discussing what they had heard. Incredible!!
God Bless You and thanks again!
6th Grade Teacher (who failed miserably at Simon Says)
Hey there, this is Taylor Wallace, ASB president at Encina High School in Sacramento, you might remember me. Wow… I should have sent this letter a long time ago, but hear I am now. Keith, what you did at our school last year people still remember! It was phenomenal, your words of wisdom rocked the inside of that gym! I will never forget that Keith. I know what I’m going to say, you already know but I will say it anyhow. Your message is so perfect and on time, our nations youth is getting wrapped up in the mass media’s idea of the way to live life, and unfortunately most the of the time this leads to heartbreaks and bad decisions. Then Keith Hawkins walked into our school, they said you were a motivational speaker! (more like a life changing speaker) I was excited to see what you would speak about. As soon as I met you, I knew it would be awesome! All the energy, happiness, hilarious comments and positive message. Then you spoke at our assembly, and said everything that everyone of us needed to hear. This was more than just a get off the bench and get in the game thing, your message tore down the pessimism, negativity and most of all, the mind set that our teenage minds have been filled with. I just needed to say that because what you’re doing is right! It’s amazing, and I aspire to someday be as influential as you Keith. Thank you.
Thanks for the inspiration,
Taylor J. Wallace
My name is Cesely and I am 17 yrs old. I live with my mom and little brother that has austisum. My dad has been on drugs since I was 5 and my mom has raised my brother and I (alone) since then. Our journey in life has been hard but we have made it this far and are still going strong. : ] My dad has never really been in our lives and when he does its scary (he has ran us off the rode, called me names, etc.) and I have been so mad at him for so long.
You came to Ceres High on April-30-09 and changed my life.
You spoke about how people won’t always remember what you say but they will remember how it made them feel. You also talked about how you gave forgiveness to the one man that would never give his life for you. And to hear someone say that it hit me hard and after that night I forgave my dad. I was the girl that walked up to you and said your wife and kids are soo blessed.
There is so much I want to tell you… so many kids would love, LOVE, loovvee to have a dad that loves them like you loves yours, your such a awesome guy and I know when you get to a school and get ready to give a speech it’s your job but when you give a speech you touch lives if you know it or not. ( I looked around after freshman fun night was done and I think everyone in the gym was crying.) You have talked to Ceres leadership before and have made an impact on me then to but this time it was BIG! Thank you for sharing your story! You’re such an amazing person and thank your wife for me for sharing you with the America’s youth : ]
Leadership Student Ceres High School
My name is Michelle Boccia and I was one of the facilitators at Unity Day this week at Westview High School. I wanted to thank you so much for making a great change around school and my life possible. Before Unity Day I viewed life and people differently even though I attended Unity Day as a sophmore last year. As a facilitator this year it allowed me to feel as if I made a difference in some of the sophmore’s lives. In a matter of a couple of hours I met some amazing people and got the opportunity to hear their stories.
At first many sophmore’s were hesitant to open up during the paper tear activity, but I got to see them apply what they learned from your speech and were able to choose courage over doubt. This was a great feeling to be able to see this immediate change in their way of thinking about themselves. And I would like to thank you so much for that because you gave me that opportunity to do something I wouldn’t have been able to do without Unity Day. You have also made me realize the important need to help others.
I have heard countless people tell me this before and I have listened but have not seen them act on it which is what I needed to see. You are such an inspiration to me because you act, not only say. This made me realize something is missing in my life…helping people in need. I am going to do everything I can to make a difference. Today as I walked around school I spoke and heard countless students talking about how powerful Unity Day was and you can even feel a different vibe around school. I have hope and trust that this will never change. Thank you again for letting me have the opportunity to be part of a life changing experience. I am looking forward to being part of it again next year.
Unity Day Facilitator
I just had the opportunity to come see you speak at MASC. and all I have to say is thank you. As of right now, I am a senior and over the course of my high school career I have seen a lot of people speak at conferences and summer camp and at pep rallies and such, but you are the first person to actually leave an impact on my life.
You actually made me realize things that I haven’t before. I know that last sentence is very vague but you interacted with us in such a way that it impacted me. My father recently died back in 2016, actually coming up on 2 year on April 28. You made me actually feel that it was okay to be different.
I’m usually not a crier because I am one of those people that “don’t want to bother people with my problems” and I am also one of those people that think “nobody understand and nobody needs to know my life.”
You showed me that everyone goes through the exact same things and the way you SHOWED us impacted me so much differently than someone SAYING it. You 100% made me feel WANTED. Well, I have lots of friends and a lot of people know who I am but nobody really knows what I feel on the inside. Your performance made me realize that there actually are people like me.
I have never been so inspired by a speaker, and I have seen a lot of them. I will never forget the way you made me feel. You connected US to the stories you tell and you gave us the opportunity to tell others how we feel in front of everyone. Basically I wanted a chance to shake your hand at the end of your speech but I never got the chance. So I basically wanted to virtually shake your hand.
You changed my life. And for that.. I thank you. So much.
WOW! You have changed my life and the life of so many others attending Pine Creek High School in Colorado Springs. Your enthusiasm perfectly captured the attention of my fellow students which is quite an accomplishment. They knew you cared and for that single reason they remained rapt throughout your entire presentation.
Before the assembly, I attended your workshop. When I was “taken out of my comfort zone” I sat next to a young man whose name and life I did not know. His story was one I never expected to hear and one I would never have heard without your prompting. Since then, we have become good friends and our lives will forever be changed because of that day, when we were forced to meet. From that moment on I have taken it upon myself to never again be forced to meet someone in order to learn about them. I will approach, I will listen, I will share, and I will learn about people just because I will do whatever it takes to show people i care about each and every one of them. I will do more than just tell them, I will show them. THANK YOU so much for your educational and real message. It truly has change my life!
You will never be forgotten. You are a great man and your love for the people of this earth is clear and genuine. Thank you.
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