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      High school dropout is keynote speaker at Talent Summit

      Business, education, and workforce leaders met on Friday at the Upper Great Lakes Talent Summit that was designed to encourage the collaboration of ideas as a way to improve economic growth.

      Author, minister, and motivational speaker Eric Thomas was one of the keynotes who encouraged attendees, which included area students, to strive for success. â??Go from average to good, good to great, and from great to phenomenal,â?? said Thomas. â??Itâ??s just the message of more effort; put more effort forward. Why? Because what they do matters, and it changes lives.â??

      Eric was raised in Detroit and dropped out of high school, but through mentors in his life, he eventually continued his education, all the way to a PhD level. His success story was compelling and inspired even the younger attendees. â??I didn't know what to expect,â?? said junior, Jorden Sodergren. â?? I walked in here, had a completely different image of the guy. I never thought ever he'd be a high school dropout and then get his PhD. I mean, that's a big thing.â??

      The summit also included strategy and legislative sessions to help create action ideas. Legislative representatives were in attendance, giving attendees valuable and helpful information. The event proved to be successful, and those who attended said they appreciated the motivational message by Eric Thomas. Eric encouraged the people to examine where they were at now and where they would like to be.

      â??You get to work, you get to get a paycheck, you get to earn a paycheck, and you get to have a certain lifestyle,â?? said Thomas. â??You get privileges being an American. So for me, you have to take advantage of this opportunity, and being in this county is a great opportunity.â?? Even the students in the room realized that in order to make change, it starts with self. â??I want to be the best I can be, but I havenâ??t really done anything about it,â?? Sodergren said. â??But now I feel like I should do anything about it. Iâ??m an avid sports player, so I figure that a good place to start; try to step up, be more of a team leader.â??