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  • Forbes Champions Free Enterprise at High School Assembly

    5/27/2014 4:15:44 PM Posted by Patrick Coyle

    Forbes Grosse Pointe North YAFSteve Forbes spoke to more than 1,300 students and staff in the Grosse Pointe North High School gym late last week, receiving a standing ovation following his presentation. His speech was thought provoking, inspiring students on the qualities of leaders, and the burdens of big government. 

    During the speech Mr. Forbes reminded students that, "The ultimate source of wealth is the human mind." He went on to discuss free enterprise explaining that "Free markets are not perfect because people are not perfect, but there's no better system to make people, as Lincoln put it, improve their lot in life." He gave a variety of examples of prominent entrepreneurs who overcame great challenges to meet success, and explained how our over complicated tax code has become a burden to the entrepreneurial spirit, saying that "everything you do now gets taxed." 

    The process of bringing Mr. Forbes to Grosse Pointe high school for a full school assembly was a unique challenge to overcome. For a year, I met with the administration countless times, even during the summer, to host a speaker. At the time, they cited district policy that prevented the school system from allowing events during the school day. So, our Young Americans for Freedom chapter advocated for a new policy allowing for assemblies during the school day throughout the district. We are happy the school board and district administration finally saw the value in bringing world-class speakers like Mr. Forbes and to allow a speaker during the school day in front of the entire student body.

    After the policy was approved, district and school administrators worked with our YAF chapter to make the event a success. The whole event was thought through down to the minute detail. Our student activities director worked tirelessly to make sure that the event ran smooth from start to finish, making sure our chairs were correct, signs were properly placed, the sound equipment worked, to name a few. We tried to get as many parts of the school involved with the speech: the cooking students catered our reception afterward which was held in the student-run school store, and we presented Mr. Forbes with a hat and jacket designed by marketing students. Because of this, the event became more than a speech, but a uniting force.

    Forbes' speech has made it even more evident that our YAF chapter has become the prominent student group on campus. Furthermore, his message strongly resonated with students. As an example of government overreach, Forbes mentioned that cookies that were once sold in our school are now banned due to new regulations. The morning after his speech, students created a twitter account called, 'bring our cookies back', which is an effort to protest the increasing government regulation on school lunch plans. This account went viral gaining hundreds of followers in hours.

    Since Mr. Forbes' speech, we have reached a pinnacle of discussion about the ideas of free enterprise and limited government, and the interest in YAF is greater than ever. Students are realizing that today's overreaching government is impacting their daily life, and they desire a change.

    Grant Strobl is the former chair of the Grosse Pointe North High School YAF chapter. 

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