Five Jr. Rotarians gave their speeches today. 
First up was Erin Generau who told us about her passion and hobby of photography. She got a nice digital camera and taught herself how to use it. She showed us slides of her photos, including snowflakes, raindrops, sunsets and her farm animals, showing attention to detail and importance of small things. She's learned patience, delayed gratification and how to look at things with a new perspective.
Next, Anja Maijala spoke about her trip to Peru in the summer of 2015. She joined 10 other students to earn college credit by studying Spanish abroad. They also did service projects while immersed in Spanish, such as sanding doors at an orphanage and building a community bathroom for a small remote community, which led to helping women get started in business selling their weaving. She was so inspired by the service projects that when she returned home she got involved here with the Ordean Foundation, the Cloquet Education Foundation, and the Pine Journal as an intern. Non-profits really are important to a community.
Carter Vork told us about his transition from Montessori school to Esko High School between 6th and 7th grades. Of all the schools in the area, he chose Esko since he was already involved with the Esko hockey team. But life was different in public school. During his first year at Esko, he had to take his first test. Ever. Montessori doesn't have tests, so this was a shock. Esko also had so many students in one classroom, compared to the 3 students per class at Montessori. What a distraction. But this transition to his new school has made him a better person, now more prepared to transition from high school to college. He can now overcome challenges with a good environment and a positive state of mind.
Dylan Carlson spoke way over this writer's head telling us about his involvement in First Robotics, a team that annually builds a robot based upon that year's theme. His first team competition was at the DECC with 60 teams challenging 60 other teams. He started as a sophomore, not building robots, but as the media person. Last year he built a 10 x 10 x 10 pit in which to build a robot. His team's goal was to go to state, but they went beyond to St. Louis for international competition. Now he's into building a robot with his team this year, which involves staying after school, getting a good sleep schedule and learning how to handle stress.
Our last speaker, Paige Hill, chose the topic of divorce and her experiences with it. Her parents were divorced when she was 7 years old. Everything happened quickly as their house sold in 9 days. Setting up a visitation schedule meant lots of back and forth, packing and unpacking. Later, longer visits were scheduled which helped a lot. She learned the value of healthy relationships and developed a more complex relationship with her parents. She learned that they are people too. It expanded her definition of family, since both parents remarried and her family doubled in size. She had lots of support from family and friends and found that you can get through anything with support.