Former Denver Bronco’s linebacker Karl Mecklenburg will always be remembered for his success on the football field, but it turns out he also does pretty well as a speaker.
Mecklenburg delivered the keynote speech at the Westminster Public Schools Foundation breakfast last month where he told the audience of about 180 guests that the combination of individual perseverance and teamwork leads to success. That approach, he said, is as true for a community as it is for a pro football team with its eye on the Superbowl.
In his remarks, Mecklenburg shared his unlikely story of success and how an unwavering belief in himself made all the difference.
“As a junior in high school I played JV, didn’t even make varsity,“ he said.
Given a partial scholarship to a small college program in South Dakota, he continued to push himself to improve and eventually became a college walk on at the University of Minnesota. Not long after getting the scholarship, he was injured in a scrimmage and lost what he had worked so hard to achieve.
He learned a lesson.
“Don’t give up. Don’t quit. That’s the difference between successful people and those who aren’t.”
Mecklenburg’s message spoke directly to the importance of the Foundation which supports students and teachers in the community with generous scholarships, teacher creativity grants and its benevolent fund. “This group gives them hope,” he added. “This is their lifeline to a better life.”
Mecklenburg wasn’t the only one to deliver an inspiring message.
Seniors Tommy Phung and Marianne Pettis shared their stories of personal and educational growth while at Westminster High School and what a difference a supportive environment made in their lives.
Pettis gave an emotional account of growing up in a foster home before being adopted into a loving home. “I was so scared, you would look at me and see pain,” she recalled. “Being adopted changed by life because I started to know what hope was.”
The breakfast was hosted by Fox 31 reporter Tammy Vigil, a Westminster High School graduate. “I’m honored to be back here for this event,” she said. “I owe so much to my education in Westminster Public Schools.”
It’s not too late for you to join the cause. The Annual Golf Tournament at the Greg Mastriona Golf Course at Hyland Hills is Wednesday, June 1st. You can register here.
Highlights of the breakfast are below.