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Past Speakers

Peyton Manning
It's always exciting for me to be in the midst of people who think big. And the work you've all done is a true inspiration and is truly thinking big. You're admirable people who live your lives with profound generosity, and your communities and this world are better because of your efforts. Some people may view you as leaders in the making. Well not me, because you've already proven yourselves as leaders, and you never again have the luxury of letting someone else do the job. Anything less would be a waste of your talent. Your passion can ignite the fire within people. As individuals, we can make a difference. You've seen it with your own eyes, and so have I.
Scarlett Pomers
Actress and Singer
Not everyone is fortunate enough to have the kind of national attention a TV actor can get for the things they want to change, but everyone has the ability to make an impact of their own if they are truly passionate about helping others. As I was reading all of your 102 bios, it occurred to me that I can invite any one of you to stand before 102 of young Hollywood's 'brightest stars,' and we'd be hard put to match your accomplishments. My respect for your contributions and the example you set for others is tremendous. You are the true role models of our generation.
Ted Danson
Actor and Environmentalist
You're an extraordinary group of people. You're doing things in life that took me years to realize I was supposed to be doing, too. You're out there making a difference in the world. You guys have figured out the key to life. Maybe it is because some of you have already suffered in life, or maybe you had great parents, or maybe you just came into this world smart. But for whatever reason, you figured out that it is more blessed to give than it is to receive. It is more blessed and it is more fun, and it is definitely what the world needs right now.
General Colin L. Powell
Former U.S. Secretary of State
I want to say to the youngsters who are going to be recognized today and tomorrow: thank you for what you are doing for your communities; thank you for what you are doing for our nation. As you grow up strong and true and as you move out of the educational system and into the workforce, never forget to make service an integral part of your life. I can assure you that it will give you great satisfaction, as it has in your teenage years, and it will give you even greater satisfaction as adults.
Whoopi Goldberg
Actress and Comedienne
It's a great thing to care. It's a great thing to be thoughtful. It's so hard to get people to understand that it is the selfless things that make the nation great. What you've accomplished is mind-boggling. It's a shame to say that because this should be the norm. And maybe with your help you'll make it the norm. This will be what will re-energize young people again, make them believe that they have a place and have a way to make things happen. You all are like beacons of light. I can actually brag that I've been in your company.
Rudy Giuliani
Former New York City Mayor
I think it's necessary in the atmosphere in which we live to say to young people that politics is a very noble thing to do. It's one of the better things you can do with your life. Because you're going to get more of an opportunity to help people in a broad way than in many, many other things that you could do. As a young person, it's a very exciting thing to think about doing. And there are thousands of ways to train yourself to do it, but the best way is to get a good education. The broader your education and the deeper your knowledge, the more effective you're going to be ultimately-in politics or in anything else in life. And the happier you're going to be.
David Gallagher
"7th Heaven" TV Star
It makes me feel good to know that there are people in our world today like you who won't stand by and do nothing when help is needed. It is important to help others who cannot help themselves and to be able to see something that isn't right and be brave enough to do something about it. You guys are nothing less than heroes.
Martin Sheen
When I read the names, the ages and the nature of the projects for which you extraordinary young people are being celebrated today, I was heartened and deeply moved. For you have clearly heard the cry of a needy world, and you have responded. In a world made mad by its own self-righteous violence and paranoia, you have chosen to light the candle of non-violence and hope, and a weary world rejoices. It is a world where we are made to feel powerless, yet you have come to an early realization that we are made for a higher power. And that realization is your greatest strength.
Madeleine Albright
Former U.S. Secretary of State
America must lead. That was one of the great lessons of the 20th century, and it's certain to be an imperative throughout the 21st. And that is why the role of our young people here tonight is so very, very important. Because the decisions that democratic nations make reflect the character of the choices made by their citizens. As you proceed through life, I hope you will continue to devote as much time and energy as you can to the purposes that go beyond the borders of your own comfort, to teach and nurture, help and heal. I hope, and I believe, that each and every one of you will be defenders and enrichers of liberty, not just consumers of it, and that you will be strong and determined in charting your own course.
Angela Perez Baraquio
Former Miss America
All of you here today, I'm sure that you've had to deal with a lot of opposition from the skeptics who say 'You can't do this.' 'You can't do that.' 'Why do you want to have this idea?' 'It's not going to grow, you're not going to get support.' But when people tell you that you can't, you have to have that tenacity and courage to say 'Yes, I can,' and surround yourself with people who believe in you, sometimes more than you believe in yourself.
John Glenn
Astronaut and former Senator
I've been fortunate to be able to travel all over the world, and have met a lot of people. I think the people who are happiest are people who are interested in something bigger than themselves, and who are doing something for others. You get a lot of satisfaction out of that. That's what you've been involved with, and the reason I congratulate you most sincerely. So if I could wish you anything for the rest of your lives, it would be that you would keep up this curiosity about developing your own talents, about participating with a group that's devoted to something bigger than just your own self-interest, and continuing your service to others.
Magic Johnson
Former NBA Star
I am so happy to be here, because you inspire me, you inspire all of us. You're going to be sitting in Washington, D.C., one day, I know it, at least half of you are, because you're tomorrow's leaders, especially when you do the type of things that you've been doing in your communities, helping people. And that's a special, special spirit within you that only God has blessed you with.
Edward James Olmos
The thing that you guys have given us-by starting so young-is unprecedented. You are the exception. And it's sad, because we really need this to be the rule. We need every child in America to help us, because the adults are making a mess. You give us hope. Thank you so much for giving your lives in this way. I'm here to beg you to do but one thing: pace yourself. Pace yourself for the rest of your life. This is a lifelong commitment.
Barbara Bush
Former First Lady
We can accomplish so much if we all work in the same direction. You are the heavy hitters who are active in a meaningful way, but we need to make sure we try to include others in this fight for a better America. They need to know that they have something to offer, that nothing's too small or insignificant. So if you know how to read, find someone who can't. If you've got a hammer, find a nail. If you're not hungry, not lonely, not in trouble, seek out someone who is. In business and in family and in community, it is oftentimes the little acts you do every day that make the biggest difference in the long run.
Richard Dreyfuss
I have been a speaker of gloom and doom, I have been warning people about apathy and cynicism and disconnection for a long time, and those words simply have no meaning in any room where you are. You know a real secret that seems to have left many of us. You know that the server is given a gift along with the served, that there is a feeling, an emotional reaction of completeness, of dignity, of value that comes upon anyone who is of service to someone else.