CHICAGO – “Dare to be great.” That was the message the Army’s senior sustainer had for the juniors of North Lawndale College Prep High School, May 6, at the school’s Christiana campus in Chicago.
Army Materiel Command’s top leader Gen. Ed Daly was a keynote speaker at the school’s Young Scholars Professional Day, talking to the students about their plans for the future and the opportunities available to them.
“Each one of you has greatness in you,” he said. “You all are great at something, and you have the opportunity to succeed if you work hard.”
Located on the west side of Chicago, the school’s mission is to empower students from under-resourced communities with the tools to earn a college degree.
“Don’t let anyone tell you that you can’t do something,” he said. “If I had listened to everyone who told me I wouldn’t find success, I wouldn’t be here, and if you didn’t believe it, you wouldn’t be here.”
Daly spoke to the students about his own childhood growing up in Jersey City, New Jersey, where his father worked three jobs to put him through preparatory school. He said he was about the same age the students are now when he started thinking about his future.
“Now is the time to look at the opportunities you have and start the process of self-evaluation to figure out what you want to do,” Daly said.
Joining Daly was his aide-de-camp, Lt. Col Ernest Lane, who challenged each student to not only think about what they want to be when they grow up, but to do their research to know how to be successful at it.
“If you want to be a nurse, an entrepreneur, a rapper, anything, you need to find someone who inspires you and see what they did,” Lane said. “Get literature and start reading on how they got there, what sacrifices they made and the hours they put in, because the grind doesn’t stop. It gets tougher the older you get. So you’ve got to find something that you are passionate about, something that you are excited to get up at 3 a.m. to pursue.”
Talking to the students about their future and careers, Daly and Lane shared their own reasons for joining the Army and how the service could be beneficial to them: providing money for college, full benefits, and professional and leadership training.
“There are more than 150 different career paths in the Army,” said Daly. “You can be a doctor. You can be a lawyer. You can be a financial analyst; all of those opportunities are available to you.”