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Key to success: Vision Key to success: Passion Key to success: Perseverance Key to success: Preparation Key to success: Courage Key to success: Integrity Key to success: The American Dream Keys to success homepage More quotes on Passion More quotes on Vision More quotes on Courage More quotes on Integrity More quotes on Preparation More quotes on Perseverance More quotes on The American Dream


Neil Sheehan

Pulitzer Prize-Winning Journalist

The athletic program was wonderful, because I was a poor athlete, but they had the varsity, they had the junior varsity, and then they had something called the C Team for people who couldn't make either varsity or junior varsity. We got to compete, because when we competed against Andover or Exeter or Deerfield, they also had C Teams. The head of the athletic department was a wonderful man named Axel Forslund. The gym is named after him there now, and he paid just as much attention to you if you were on the C Team as he did if you were on the varsity. He believed in boys. If your boy was motivated to play, it got his attention. We had a great cross-country coach who was also the French teacher. I ran cross-country in the fall, and I played ice hockey -- which is a great, rough, tough, fast, hard sport -- in the winter. I really enjoyed it. So it was a great fullness of life to go to a good private school. You got up in the morning, you had a really good breakfast, and you ran all day long, and when the "lights out" came Bang! You were off to sleep for another day. I really enjoyed it, and the intellectual challenge was great.
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Neil Sheehan

Pulitzer Prize-Winning Journalist

They offered me a job to go over into Tokyo to put out a weekly. We put out a weekly newspaper for the division, and they offered me the job of going to Tokyo because the sergeant who was there was going home, and they offered me the job of going over there and taking it over, and I took it. I jumped at it. So here I was in Tokyo, working at Stars and Stripes, putting out a weekly newspaper. We worked in civilian clothes, except once a month we had to put a uniform on. We were living in officers quarters in what later became the Olympic Village. The Japanese had built it during the occupation. And I decided I really like this. I want to be a journalist. I want to be a reporter. This is what I want to do, and I hadn't known that when I joined the Army. I thought I'd go to work for the CIA and study Arabic or something, and go to work for the CIA or some oil company or something like that, but journalism is what really turned me on.
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Alan Shepard

First American in Space

Alan Shepard: The first plane ride was in a homemade glider my buddy and I built. Unfortunately we didn't get more than four feet off the ground, because it crashed. But the first legitimate airplane ride was when I was working at the local airport. And as a reward, partial reward for my activities, was given a ride as a passenger. And after two or three of those, the same pilot, he gave me a chance to play with the controls. And that's when it really all started.
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Alan Shepard

First American in Space

In the helicopter, flying back to the carrier, and seeing thousands of sailors on the deck of the carrier, being a Navy pilot, having made hundreds of carrier landings already, it was sort of like coming home. Except that there they were cheering for me. And that was probably the first moment of the flight when I felt the emotion of success -- perhaps pride -- in what I had done. And that was probably the first emotional moment in that whole flight.
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Carol Shields

Pulitzer Prize for Fiction

People in those days had -- in the '40s, '50s -- had two weeks vacation a year. That was it. And it seemed to me that work was something to dread. It was an oppressive obligation that weighted all of us when we got through the charmed childhood. People spoke about work as something that was a burden that they had to bear. But I had a teacher in Grade 4 -- and, by the way, all of the schools in my town were named after writers, so this was Ralph Waldo Emerson Public School -- I could tell she loved her job. She loved it. She got there early, started each day with sort of a joyous burst, was devoted to us. I could tell she loved her job, and that was a very important thing for me to understand and to understand it early, that work could be a good thing.
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Carol Shields

Pulitzer Prize for Fiction

I loved being a poet. It was a very happy writing time in my life, and I think partly because a poem is such a small thing. I always think of it as a kind of toy. You can get it almost right, and you can never get a novel almost right because a novel is just too big. There are just too many little parts to it, too many twigs and leaflets. But a poem you can get just about right. And it was a very happy writing time in my life, so that I never think of it now as apprenticeship for novel writing. It was a whole different way of wanting to express myself. I would like to think I could go back to it one day, but I seem to have forgotten my way into a poem. I can't do it any more.
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Carol Shields

Pulitzer Prize for Fiction

Carol Shields: I always have trouble with this because I always try to get students to rewrite their work, and they never want to. It's in the rewriting where I find the exhilarating part of the whole enterprise. The writing itself, the first draft, the sort of hacking at the stone wall, seems to me to be such a difficult piece of work that it's hard to see where pleasure comes into this process. But once something is on the page and you start moving it around, changing words, moving sentences -- I love sentences, by the way. This is why I'm a writer. I love to make sentences. I even love punctuation. I once sent a whole class to sleep by talking about the semicolon for three-quarters of an hour. I love all of this stuff that we are given, this little handful of equipment and raw materials. So it is a joyous expression when you see something come together at last, and then the next day you look at it and you realize you haven't done it at all, and then you do it again, and that's even better when you -- so you get closer and closer to what you really want to say, to what you really mean. You never get right at it, and I think you have to accept that as a writer, that, you know, what we call "the golden book in our head" is not going to make it to the page completely. But we can keep getting closer and closer, and I find this exhilarating. And I'm not a very patient person, but with this one aspect of my life, I have enormous patience.
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