Steamboat Springs Two-time Olympian and The Lowell Whiteman School alumnus Ryan Heckman shared his advice for being successful with the school’s 14 graduates Saturday.
“I’ve had a front-row seat to a lot of successful people,” said Heckman, who went on to graduate from the University of Colorado and start his own private equity investment firm. “There are a lot of competent people who are not successful. A lot of successful people who are not happy.”
As the graduates move on to college, he told them to remember a basic principle in a world where 90 percent of people are takers and 10 percent are givers.
“You’re successful if you give other people what they need, and you’re unsuccessful if you have nothing to give. That’s the deal.”
Simply put, you have to give to get, he said.
Receiving a medical degree does not make a doctor successful, Heckman said. They are only successful when they heal someone.
“Athletes don’t get paid to score goals,” he said. “They get paid to make us feel like we scored a touchdown.”
Heckman said that the graduates should give themselves to their future spouses because then they will never be alone and that they should give themselves to their children so they will never be forgotten. This is the way the world works, he said.
“By deciding to give instead of to take, you will be a very successful person in this world,” Heckman said.
Before accepting their diplomas, Lowell Whiteman Head of School Chris Taylor thanked the class for bringing care-free, quirky, cohesive and tolerant attitudes. He said the graduates had been accepted to 23 universities and received $450,000 in financial aid and scholarships.
Graduate Errik Hill spoke on behalf his classmates and thanked them.
“You guys have been rad dudes,” Hill said.
He also thanked the parents, faculty members and everyone else who allowed the graduates to thrive at the school.
“Thank you for all the lessons, laughs and adventures and memories we will have,” Hill said.
To reach Matt Stensland, call 970-871-4247 or email mstensland@SteamboatToday.com