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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


Sally Ride

First American Woman in Space

I was a physics major actually from almost the first day that I walked in the door at Swarthmore, and I was certainly a physics major -- declared a physics major -- when I first got to Stanford. But about midway through my junior year at Stanford, I had been taking so many physics and chemistry and math courses, which were all required for a physics major, that I just needed some courses, almost to regain my sanity, get a little more balance into my life, and I started taking English courses pretty much on a whim. I had a friend who was an English major and so I decided to go ahead and try a couple of English classes, and I really enjoyed them. It turned out that I kept taking the English classes, had a focus on Shakespearean literature, and ended up with enough units to also have a major in English.
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Sally Ride

First American Woman in Space

Sally Ride: I had never flown anything, not a thing. I had flown in very large airplanes, but I had never flown anything. But NASA was looking for -- you know, the astronaut corps at that time was still primarily test pilots, but they had some scientists in the corps, and they had made it clear that with the Space Shuttle program, they actually needed an astronaut corps that was more than 50 percent scientists and engineers, less than 50 percent test pilots, so they made it very, very clear that they wanted people with science and engineering backgrounds, and that the test pilot or even a pilot background was not required, they'd teach us everything we needed to know about that.
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Sally Ride

First American Woman in Space

Sally Ride: I was surprised to be chosen. I was fairly certain that I would make it a reasonably long way in the selection process, because I was pretty well qualified to apply. I was going to have a Ph.D. by the time the selection process was over, and I had a good athletic background, which NASA -- they don't necessarily look for an athletic background, but they look for a variety of different backgrounds that show that you have got a variety of interests and particularly showed that you can collaborate well with people, work as part of a team, communicate with people. So I knew that I had a reasonable chance to go a reasonable distance in the selection process, but I didn't think for a minute that I was going to be selected.
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Sonny Rollins

Greatest Living Jazz Soloist

I listened to my brother playing the violin, études, practicing. I listened to a lot of music around. Fats Waller and all of these James P. Johnson piano rolls. We had a piano roll of his. I just heard a lot of music. Louis Jordan. I used to hear the Amateur Night in Harlem from the Apollo Theater. All the bands would come through for one week. So I just heard a lot of music, you know. I went to a lot of movies, because in the days when I was growing up, that was the television of the day, movies. So I went to a lot of movies, I heard a lot of movie music, and liked a lot of the music, Jerome Kern and all of these people. Jerome Kern is one of my favorites, but I have others, too. So that's where I guess I get my inspiration from. I just have a lot of music in my mind that I heard as a child, and I guess it comes out when I am playing. I know a lot of songs, words of some of them, but I mean I know a lot of melodies. My head is just filled with music, and when I'm improvising, they come out at different times. It surprises me. Gee, I played something that I didn't know was in my mind, the recesses of my mind.
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Anthony Romero

Executive Director, ACLU

Anthony Romero: I've been lucky that I've been trained at some of the best schools in America. I've gone to Princeton, I've gone to Stanford, I had some great teachers in high school. So I love our educational system, and I think that teachers in public schools taught me enormous amounts, and teachers in private universities and private schools taught me enormous amounts. But I have learned in life. I've learned on the street, I've learned talking to people. It's the conversations you remember, it's the people who make you stop and think differently about something. It's less the classes I took in college and more about the late night conversations or debates about the world that I remember. It's the conversations you have with people who are struggling in their lives. That one thought from a taxicab driver that just kind of sticks with you and makes you think differently. Or talking to someone who's about to lose their home and finds themselves in eviction proceedings. Or talking to someone on death row, and understanding how they still find meaning in their life, and why it is important to safeguard the sanctity of life, that life is precious. That there's even a sense of the human spirit even for people on death row. It's not the same thing to be on death row as to be executed -- there is life, there's thought. So I've learned most from my interactions with the people, conversations with people, traveling overseas, little interactions. Arguments are sometimes places you can learn. You can learn how to be wrong, you can learn how to apologize. So I think life is an education. I think the schools of higher learning and the public schools and the private schools are great, but they're only training ground for the real education, which is living, which is life, which is the beauty of walking outside a door and confronting something new and unexpected and learning how to adapt to it.
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