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Dr. Kenneth McFarland was the dean of American speakers. Here’s my favorite passage of all I have heard from him:


Folks sometimes ask me where I went to school. They think I will tell them about Stanford University or Columbia University. But I usually say, “I went to school to Miss Georgia Brown at Caney, Kansas.


I was blessed with a number of great teachers along the way, but none had such influence on me as this simple Kansas woman, born in Montgomery Country, Kansas, the same as I was. She taught us arithmetic and reading, and she made us learn them.


But she inspired us. She made us look beyond the narrow confines of our little town and up toward the stars. She said in later years she had never judged a student by the address on his enrollment card.


She used to say to me, “Kenneth, you’re growing tall, but are you thinking tall? As I think back over the wonderful things she did for me, I realize that her genius was in her boundless faith in the fundamental goodness of the human race.


Miss Brown used to say, “Kenneth, do you know there is a ladder that goes right up through the roof of this school house? And you can climb up on it just as high as you want to go. But the base of the ladder is in the school. This is where you get on it.


This school is your passport to anywhere you want to go. Don’t ever look at the school as something you like to get out of – get down on your knees every night in this world, boy, and thank God you have this school to get into!”

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