(The next in our student blog series comes from Madison in 12th Grade.)
Earlier this semester, our Providence Engineering Academy had the honor of hearing from Michele Weslander-Quaid. She shared a brief description of her life growing up with many challenges and gave us the charge that we are never too young to lead or change the world. 
Despite some disadvantages in her background, Michele was able to accomplish incredible things, which she attributes largely to her mother’s sacrificial parenting sending her to a Santa Barbara Christian School. She went on to be the youngest Chief Engineer and the second female Chief Engineer in the history of her company, one of the youngest Senior Executives in U.S. Government history, and Google CTO for Public Sector and Innovation Evangelist.
Michele shares the wisdom she has learned over the years
Michele went on to tell us that too often people are judged by the circumstances into which they were born. She encouraged us that even if we have rough backgrounds, we should not let our disadvantages hold us back from our dreams for the future or let past experiences decide our fate. 
One of the powerful quotes she mentioned was by Charles R. Swindoll saying: “Life is 10% what happens to you and 90% how you react to it.” Life is all about the decisions we make based on events that have happened to us, not the events themselves. We can choose to let our past experiences or upbringing lead us to a never-ending cycle for generations to come, or we can stand up against those tendencies and do great things. We are in control of our own destiny.
The entire Academy poses with our guest!
A couple of years ago Michele spoke to us and gave a similar charge that we are never too young to change the world. It was that presentation that encouraged me to pursue a particular future for myself: to enter into one of the military academies as an engineer. 
I am still actively working today to reach that goal because of her. Michele is such an inspirational speaker and I hope that other students—or even adults—will realize that the difficulties of their past need not define their future.
Thank you again, Michele, for inspiring us with your life story.