By Grant Harrison
When you hear “guest speaker” you most likely think boring, annoying, or stupid. Instead Mike Fritz brought the audience to life by having them laughing and interacting.
“I thought he was funny and he really grabbed my attention, “ said Morgan McKee ‘16.
“He was hilarious. He made a really great effort in keeping our attention during the presentation,” said Kendalyn Vandenburg ‘16.
Mike is a 1999 Plainwell High School graduate. Fritz describes the kind of student he was as average; an average student, with average grades and an average GPA. Even saying his GPA was just over a 2.0.
After high school he started his own construction business at the age of 19 and sold it at the 24. At 25 years of age, he went to college and got his Bachelor’s and Master’s degrees in religious studies. He now speaks nationwide in high schools and churches, talking to young people and teens about leadership and telling them, “Students matter.”
During this assembly, Fritz spoke about the circumstances that led to his passion for motivating and encouraging young people. First was his dad, reminding him as he was admiring the sun on a ski slope that nature could never make a conscious choice to help another. Only people can do that.
Another person that influenced his life was a young person named Jared. After Fritz had spoken with Jared, the young man assessed his life incorrectly and chose to jump off a bridge. This left Jared paralyzed.
Afterward, Fritz felt it was his responsibility to make sure everyone he would come into contact with from then on would know they are important and that the world needs someone like them. There will never be another you.
The Plainwell High School staff also impacted Mike as well. Former basketball coach Larry Ash and former baseball and mens basketball coach Tim Reimen each played a role in shaping Fritz’s future with their profound statements and teachings.
Something Fritz shared is how we, as students, can impact the future in a positive way. According to Fritz putting someone else’s success before your own is the first step to being a leader. Another way to be a leader is by acting like a leader; display honesty, encourage others, and look for areas to improve.
“Leadership is not a title, it’s action. If you’re not acting like a leader, you’re not a leader,” Fritz told students. And they listened.
“He was energetic, and he made great points,” said Haven Born ‘17.
This year Fritz plans to speak to over 150,000 students and to get out the message that students matter. After this year he plans to focus more on helping other speakers to get their message out to the world. He has a vision for youth and their futures.
As Fritz said, ” You are an original. If you always follow in someone else’s footsteps you will never make your own.”