Kevin Laue shows Shelton student that real leaders get personal
Laue Continues Leaders for Life Program:
Step Up – Move From Adversity to Success
Noted motivator Kevin Laue visited Shelton in late March for fourth in Shelton’s 2016-17 series of Leaders for Life programs. Leaders for Life, launched in September 2016, is designed to equip and empower students with lifelong leadership skills. It also complements Shelton’s social skills program, high school ethics curriculum and annual ethics symposium.
Laue immediately engaged Shelton middle school and high school students in respective assemblies, first with his commanding physical presence at 6 feet, 11 inches and missing the lower half of his left arm. The engagement continued, as Laue captivated students, faculty and staff with his personal story of overcoming numerous obstacles, all to become the first NCAA basketball player missing a limb.
Laue’s hurdles were numerous: divorced parents at age four, the early death of his father, ADHD and mild dyslexia, plus a physical condition that many would deem a serious “handicap.” Yet Kevin says he was saved by sports and a coach and mentor who literally changed his perspectives on life, turning what was his greatest weakness into greatest strength. Basketball was where Kevin felt needed and normal. He learned to use his arm nub and pushed through physical barriers by doing push-ups, swimming and running. He transitioned through high school, a military academy, and on to Manhattan College, doing probably the most unlike thing ever: playing professional basketball.
Laue shared several of his personal mantras of survival, character, and leadership: “Step out of your routine,” “Learn what it is you stand for and where you stand,” “Happiness and success come from purpose,” and “Leaders don’t live for themselves.” Using these tools, and helping others who faced similar hardships, Laue learned that his greatest feat and joy has been helping others change their lives, just as his was changed. “This gives me more happiness than even basketball.”
Today Laue is a sought-after speaker and motivator – sometimes from a frantic mother trying to save her child, other times from high-profile organizations like Google. Even presidents call on Laue to share his story. Kevin’s story has been captured with the tv documentary, Long Shot: the Story of Kevin Laue.
Relating directly to Shelton’s student body with his great sense of humor, and discussing his dyslexia and ADHD, Laue shared how he even graduated from college in three years with honors. “Wherever the rock is thrown and lands, that’s where you’ll be. Excuses are the poison of life. Step up and help someone else.” Helping others move from adversity to success has become Laue’s mission.
Shelton’s Leaders for Life continues this spring with a return visit from Mary C. Kelly, Ph.D., CSP, Commander, US Navy (ret). Alliance Data is the corporate sponsor for the program.
Says Linda Kneese, Shelton’s Head of School, “Kevin spent the entire day surrounded by students in assemblies and in small groups. They were truly inspired by his story and saw him put into action his words regarding leadership. I think the students will remember his visit for a lifetime – no one could forget him.”